The dictionary defines it as:
Fairness (noun): impartial and just treatment or behaviour without favouritism or discrimination.
To me, fairness — to be fair — means equality.
It means me allowing the other person to exist as I exist — my views and thoughts are as valid as theirs.
It means that I’m treated the same as them, as they wish to be treated, with curtesy etc., and vice versa — there’s no difference between us.
If things can’t be made physically equal, then fairness means that both sides are seen and heard and considered with the same importance — everyone deserves to be satisfied (even with their list of compromises).
Fairness can be tough to bear — sometimes, fairness hasn’t been done right if it feels as easy as taking a breathe.
At all times, I need to see the other view as clearly as my own, or as near as I can achieve.
I need to appreciate my own impact and understand that I am fallible — I am not perfect.
I need to be willing to compromise, to listen and negotiate — my own demands and views need to be reasonable because as much as I take, I need to give.
And the same is true for them.
When I think of fairness, I think:
‘I want the best for both you and me.’
But unfortunately, in this day and age, for some, it seems, ‘to be fair’ is a very self-seated endeavour.
It’s as if fairness for these people is the confusion of:
“I’m being fair to myself, so I’m being fair to you — it’s unfair of you to suggest otherwise.”
If you were to ask these people to describe how they’re being fair, they tend to struggle with good answers because they haven’t put in the work.
It’s a well known fact that if you’re being fair to yourself and others then you can explain how and why you are being fair.
You can say something like, “Oh, I’m being fair because you enjoy Forged in Fire, so you get the sofa for an hour on Wednesdays, and I like Bake Off, so I get the sofa for 90 minutes on Tuesdays — you get an extra 30 minutes of sofa time to use every week because Bake Off is 30 minutes longer.”
If you’re only being fair to yourself then you can’t explain how you’re being fair because there’s nothing to explain — you say something like, “I’m being fair because I say I’m being fair, alright?”
(It’s these selfish-fair people who like to harp on about how fair they are — so amazingly fair to others! — while finding inequality without really trying.)
Fairness is all about the trying.
If you are being fair, you can explain yourself because you’ve put in the effort.