Journey to Justice

Hi!!! And Welcome Back to Motivated Mondays! 

We’re talking about strengths. 

A quick recap of last week before we continue.

Last week, we examined the heart of Humanity. Humanity is the core virtue category of the VIA Character Strengths that represents the strengths of caring, which tend to manifest in our personal relationships. Humanity includes the character strengths of Love, Kindness, and Social Intelligence. These strengths represent our pathways to ‘tend and befriend’ and are typically utilized in one-on-one relationships (1). I hope you found the description of each strength, along with its motto, and action opportunity helpful. 

Did you take my invitation last week to develop a strength of Humanity that is authentic to you by deliberately using your strength in action? If so, how did it feel to engage your pathway to Humanity? Did you notice any changes in your body? Or within your relationships?

This week, I want to explore the core virtue of Justice.

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The VIA identifies three potential pathways to Justice: Teamwork, Fairness, and Leadership. These character strengths help make life fair and function interpersonally. They describe the best possible interactions between an individual and a group/community (1).

So, let’s journey to Justice together! 

First up is Teamwork. If Teamwork is one of your signature strengths, then you work well with others and excel as a member of a group. It means that you are a loyal and dedicated team-mate who does their share and works hard to ensure your group’s success (1). It doesn’t mean you are blindly obedient, but it can mean prioritizing the good of a group over personal gain in moments. Teamwork places “We before Me” (2) and is closely related to citizenship, social responsibility, and loyalty (1). If this sounds like you, I invite you to act as an accountability partner for someone close to you who is trying to reach a new goal, commit to volunteering for a local organization on a regular basis or perhaps start a book club or community garden (3). If you are already a member of a team and want to dig in there, think of a way you can actively use your Teamwork to benefit your group?

Teamwork’s Motto: Work side-by-side with others.

Does it upset you when you or others are treated unfairly? The character strength of Fairness is another personal pathway to Justice. It means that you value giving everyone a chance and do not let personal feelings bias your decisions about others (1). You are concerned that everyone get their fair share and are careful not to use others. When Fairness is at its best, it is a product of both sound moral judgment and care for others. Fairness tends to be high in folks who are committed to social justice, kindness, and moral action (1). If this sounds like you, perhaps your would like to write a letter to the editor to speak up about a social injustice you have witnessed, volunteer for an organization that gives underprivileged folks access to a level playing field, or self monitor and see if the next time you make a mistake whether or not you admit to it?

Fairness’ Motto: Treat other people the way you want to be treated. 

Do you see yourself as a natural leader? The character strength of Leadership involves directing a group’s activities to ensure the success of a common goal. This involves motivating and coordinating the efforts of others. While it is a dominate role in groups, at its best, Leadership also involves actively listening to the stakeholders of a particular group in order to balance opinions and feelings while accomplishing the task at hand. There are different types of leaders. Some leaders clarify tasks, expectations, and responsibilities, while others aim to build trust and motivate performance or bring out the best in the individuals who are working together. If Leadership is a personal strength, perhaps you would like to consider and write about your personal leadership style and ask yourself - 'What is most effective for me?' and 'What could I improve upon?'. Alternatively, you could organize an event like a block party or neighborhood yard sale, mentor someone, or read about a leader that you admire?

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Leadership’s Motto: Organize activities for others.

Which of these pathways to Justice resonates with you? This week, I invited you to journey towards Justice and actively engage your Teamwork, Fairness, or Leadership in a meaningful way to develop the core virtue of Justice. Remember, benefits come actively using our strengths, not merely from the identification of our personal strengths. So, I encourage you to take action!

I hope you enjoy engaging your personal pathway to Justice, and I look forward to seeing you next week as we engage and discover our personal pathways to Temperance. 

As always, gratitude for the expertise of the following resources.

References

1. Peterson C, Seligman M. Character strengths and virtues: A handbook and classification (Vol 1). Oxford University Press; 2004.

2. Polly S, Britton K, Maymin S. (Eds.). Character Strengths Matter: How to Live a Full Life. Positive Psychology News, LLC; 2015.

3. Rashid T, Anjum A. 340 ways to use VIA character strengths. Unpublished manuscript; 2005.

4. Wedding D, Niemiec R. Positive psychology at the movies: Using films to build virtues and character strengths. Cambridge, MA: Hogrefe; 2008.

* Special thanks to viacharacter.org for the Character Strength Mottos