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36. Fairness and Justice

The concept of fairness, at its heart, is one of the pillars of societal and moral reasoning. We are often taught from a young age to share, to wait our turn, and to treat others as we’d like to be treated. For some, the notion of fairness goes beyond this basic understanding, leading to profound emotional reactions when confronted with perceived injustices.

Why It’s Challenging

Feeling deeply about fairness can be mentally and emotionally taxing. When one perceives the world or specific situations as unjust, it can lead to feelings of anger, frustration, or sadness. This heightened sensitivity can sometimes create conflict with others who might not see or feel the same way about a situation.

Supporting Ourselves and Others

Respecting and valuing an individual’s perspective on fairness is critical. By understanding and validating their feelings, we can offer emotional support. Engaging in open dialogues about what fairness means can lead to a deeper mutual understanding and respect.

Practical Steps to Navigate Strong Feelings About Fairness

  • Self-reflection: Understand your triggers. Knowing what situations or issues particularly stir your emotions can help you prepare or avoid unnecessary distress.
  • Open Conversations: Sharing feelings with trusted friends or family can provide an outlet. It’s also beneficial to hear different viewpoints, as mentioned in predicting feelings.
  • Constructive Actions: Channel the strong feelings into positive actions. Whether it’s volunteering, joining community groups, or advocating for change, these acts can provide a sense of purpose.
  • Seek Balance: While it’s essential to stand up for fairness, also recognise the importance of picking battles. Not every situation requires a full emotional investment. Consider the guidance in managing background noise for honing focus.
  • Counselling: Therapists or counsellors can offer coping strategies and provide a safe space to discuss feelings and experiences.

Examples

  • Workplace Scenario: Sarah felt that her contributions were undervalued compared to her male colleagues. Instead of stewing in her feelings, she organised a group discussion about gender biases, leading to constructive conversations and policy reviews.
  • School Setting: Tom noticed his classmate being bullied because of his accent. Filled with a sense of injustice, Tom approached the school counsellor and set up an awareness programme about cultural diversity and acceptance.
  • Public Space: After witnessing an unfair allocation of public funds in her community, Priya rallied her neighbours and started a petition. They approached their local representative, leading to a more equitable distribution of resources.

Daily Change Summary

Deep feelings about fairness are more than just a moral compass; they’re a call to action. By understanding these feelings, reflecting on triggers, and channeling emotions constructively, individuals can make a meaningful difference in their communities and personal lives. Knowing when to challenge something and when it will not be productive are also important skills to learn and share.

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