Are you a fair-minded person? Or do you want to become a more fair-minded person?
It’s certainly not impossible. However, fairness is a quality that is grown through active effort and intention.
In fact, it’s easier to think of fairness as an intentional act rather than an accidental one. After all, many people respond to the world and treat others from an emotional place.
But emotions aren’t often fair. They are typically an immediate reaction that may not accurately reflect reality or provide a positive response.
Someone might do something to make you angry, but is it wise to respond to their actions with anger? Yelling? Or worse? Of course not! That will usually escalate the conflict.
Instead, you can feel how you feel but choose a different course of action that isn’t destructive.
Fairness is similar. There will be times when you aren’t treated fairly or are tempted not to treat others with fairness. Those are the times that you need to choose fairness over emotional reaction, which helps train your brain to think in a fair, just way.
To do that, we’re going to look at some common qualities of a fair person so you can make better choices yourself.
10 Traits Of A Fair-Minded Person
1. They are responsible for their actions.
A fair-minded person takes responsibility for their actions. They know they are human and will make mistakes. Everyone does. It’s not something you can avoid. What matters is how you handle the mistakes that you make.
A fair person will take responsibility for their actions and work to fix the problem. They won’t try to pass the buck or shirk their responsibility.
2. They strive to be objective and rational.
A fair-minded person needs to be objective and rational. They try to come at problems from a point of neutrality so they can see what the truth is. It’s difficult to be in touch with the truth when you have strong emotions influencing how you interpret the world.
That doesn’t mean that you need to be a cold, emotionless robot. Instead, it may be more beneficial to sleep on an issue and come back to it later when you aren’t feeling so emotional about it.
3. They practice honesty.
A fair-minded person needs to be honest and trustworthy. They avoid lying and don’t twist the truth to fit their agenda.
They do the right thing when no one is looking, and they don’t take advantage of others. Honesty is an important quality of fairness because it levels the playing field for all of the players.
4. They strive to be impartial.
To be impartial is to not play favorites. The fair-minded person understands that they need to treat everyone equally. Therefore, they will try to see a problem from different angles before making a judgment call.
An impartial person needs to understand themselves well, so they can identify and unwind their own biases. Once you understand your own biases, you can make an active effort to not fall into those predictable patterns of thinking.
5. They follow the spirit and letter of the rules.
The fair-minded person follows the spirit and letter of the rules that are just. The letter of the rules is how they are written down. The spirit of the rules is where unfair people try to give themselves the edge. They may twist the intention of the rules to gain an unfair advantage.
Fair people don’t do that. A fair person will also call out rules they believe to be unfair or not participate rather than twist the rules.
6. They are selfless.
Cynical people have a difficult time with the concept of selflessness. Many people think of selflessness as martyrdom, where a selfless person should constantly think of other people before themselves in all ways.
That’s not what selflessness is. To be selfless is to act in a way without regard for oneself or your own benefit. For example, a person who gives to charity to benefit other people is acting selflessly. They don’t need to donate everything they own to make the act any less selfless. A fair-minded person will work to benefit others while ensuring their own needs are still met.
7. They work hard and contribute.
A fair-minded person will work hard and contribute. They understand that by not doing their work, they effectively push that work off onto someone else. It’s unfair to push that work off to someone else that might have their own workload to take care of.
And we’re not just talking about paid work here, either. This also includes things like housework and emotional labor.
8. They do not accept what they have not earned.
Fairness implies that people will get what they have earned or are honestly rewarded. A fair-minded person will not accept credit they did not earn or rewards that are not honestly given.
There is nothing wrong with accepting credit or a reward for a job well done. There’s nothing wrong with accepting help or an award that is honestly given. But the fair-minded person will not be interested in accepting credit they do not deserve.
9. They strive to be tolerant and empathetic.
To be tolerant is to accept other people even when you disagree with them. To be empathetic is to try to put yourself in the other person’s shoes so you can better understand how they feel and where they are coming from.
These aren’t always easy things to do, but they are qualities that a fair-minded person will strive for. Sometimes tolerance isn’t the right answer, though. Tolerating and enabling harmful behavior is unjust and unfair.
10. They do what they say they are going to do.
A fair-minded person knows that other people rely on them to do what they say they are going to do. Other people might make their own decisions and plans based on what you say you will do, and it is unfair to disrupt their plans and expectations on a whim.
Sure, things come up. Plans can change. Stuff happens. That’s life. The point is to not just change directions on a whim for no reason. A fair person will not want to disrupt others for arbitrary reasons.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
But what if a person is treating me unfairly?
You can’t control the actions of other people. All you can control is yourself. You will be treated unfairly from time to time. Other people will try to take advantage of you, push your boundaries, and mistake your fairness and kindness for weakness.
Boundaries are the solution to this problem. Never let other people treat you unfairly if you can help it. Stand up for yourself, assert why you are being treated unfairly, and ask for fairer treatment.
You can still be fair with unfair people. It will often have a much greater effect than trying to punish them. After all, your primary concern is the way you carry yourself in the world, not how everyone else acts.
In what circumstances can I not be fair?
The short answer is none. Ideally, we should strive for fairness in everything we do. What you do behind closed doors and when no one is looking is what really defines your character. Choosing to act fairly in situations where you can gain the upper hand is a sign of equitable thinking and empathy.
That is the kind of behavior and thinking you want to nurture as a fair-minded person. The more you act fairly and look for ways to treat other people fairly, the easier it will be to grow that habit. You don’t want to be spending your time looking for loopholes or ways for you to get one up on everyone else. It’s an exhausting, anxiety-inducing way to live.
It’s far more peaceful and quiet to always strive to act fair. It’s much easier to be happy when you aren’t dealing with the repercussions of acting unfairly.
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