1 November, 2022
Fairness as a character strength includes accepting that all people have equal rights, respecting the principles of justice and not letting our feelings determine our decisions. Fairness is a very important quality because it is the key ingredient we need to add to the character traits most common among all people, namely kindness, love and honesty, to make life much better for everyone. When we "garnish" our kindness with fairness - it will make us approach everyone with an open heart and willingness to help, not just those we like.
Everyone has encountered situations that have caused them to discover for themselves that what is right or fair for one person may not be right or fair for another. Unfortunately, it is not always easy to judge what is fair for everyone, so fairness as a personal character strength requires the ability to think clearly about what is morally right or wrong. Fairness involves the moral principles one uses to judge whether something is correct, and also whether one's decisions are made from a position of equality for all people.
Mahatma Gandhi said that the principle "an eye for an eye will make everyone in the world blind".
It is good to learn to distinguish between reciprocity and fairness. Fairness usually involves two kinds of reasoning. One is "justice reasoning," which emphasizes logical reasons about what is objectively right and wrong. The other starting point is "care reasoning." These are more emotional - where the decision of what is fair is based, at least in part, on compassion and on understanding of the viewpoint of others.
Fairness also includes the belief that everyone's opinion matters, regardless of whether everyone shares the same standpoint. It is very important in our social life because it is quite difficult to imagine a good quality of life without justice and rules. Where they are lacking, there is inequality, mistreatment of certain groups of people and opposition rather than interaction.
There are many examples of injustice in our history, but there have always been fair-minded and courageous people who have fought for change for the better. There are examples both in the past and in the present from people like: Abraham Lincoln, Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Frida Kahlo, Malala Yousafzai and Greta Tunberg. People like them help communities and the world become a better place by standing up for the principles of fairness. They "infect others with their ideas" and lead courageously helping to create an environment where all people’s equal rights are respected.
If we follow the example of these heroes and behave fairly like them, people will respect us and trust us more. We will have more opportunities to create a better life, both for ourselves and for others.
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The team of Happiness Academy