The Ten Essentials Elements of dignity



There are two lists I found recently that hit home with me in a big way.  I will soon be putting up the other list as well, which is: Ten Temptations To Violate Our Own Dignity.

Applying this discord to people in my own life; they know who they are, they perhaps might benefit from reading these lists, as no one is perfect, and hopefully do some self-reflecting about these points and understand how it might apply to them. I know I have. It never hurts to look inside our own hearts and see if we have misjudged others. It is a shame I would even have to mention this here except there is complete refusal to hear me.  One person, I know who, because it was predictable, tried to trash talk me on this blog, which of course I put into a spam file. That wasn’t a smart move.  I have total control of comments, as do all bloggers.

Sometimes people in many different situations would rather keep their misconceptions because it allows them to carry the negativity and they don’t want to take the chance of having it changed because they might then have to admit culpability. 

There is a reason for the phrase, “Do unto others as you would want them to do unto you.” Everyone knows this phrase, but doesn’t think of it until it is they who are “done unto.” I am sure I will hear or read severe repercussions for writing this; but the teacher in me never gives up, but searches for the words or the way to change negativity, whether it is to me, me to others, or on a larger scale with the work I have devoted quite a few years to changing.

There is so much anger in our world today. We can’t expect others to change without changing ourselves. When something crucial changes within us, it is reflected in our own personal environment, positive or negative. If we point the finger and say it is someone else who is wrong, be it personal, religious, race or perceived class standing, nothing changes, and if the person involved fails to take any responsibility for the part they played in causing the problem, it continues to grow. The longer time passes, the worse it gets.  It doesn’t go away until communication is established and we apply the points below to our own life.

The hate and disrespect we see around us begins with the individual.  One person can begin to change the world – unless he thinks and behaves as though he carries no blame or responsibility for the outcome.

Actually, I believe it applies to all of us, because no one is so perfect in their actions and thoughts about the people around them. They shouldn’t think they wouldn’t benefit from thinking about the way they treat people they perceive as going against what they “believe” to be true.  That belief may not be the actual truth if they insist it doesn’t apply to them, and those who think that the truth I write about my life is “bullshit”, it is because they never took the time to acknowledge any one of these ideas; therefore not important enough to apply to my life. It takes away any value in my life they didn’t feel important enough to learn.


What we extend to others and would like for ourselves

Donna Hicks – Weatherhead Center For International Affairs – Harvard University


Acceptance of Identity

Approach people as neither inferior nor superior to you; give others the freedom to express their authentic selves without fear of being negatively judged; interact without prejudice or bias, accepting how race, religion, gender, class, sexual orientation, age, disability, etc. are at the core of their identities. Assume they have integrity.


Validate others for their talents, hard work, thoughtfulness, and help; be generous with praise; give credit to others for their contributions, ideas and experience.


Give people their full attention by listening, hearing,validating and responding to their concerns and what they have been through.


make others feel that they belong at all levels of relationship (family, community, organization, nation)


Put people at ease at two levels: physically, where they feel free of bodily harm; and psychologically, where they feel free of concern about being shamed or humiliated, that they feel free so speak without retribution.


Treat people justly, with equality, and in an evenhanded way, according to agreed upon laws and rules


Empower people to act on their own behalf so they feel in control of their lives and experience a sense of hope and possibility.


Believe that what others think is important; give them the chance to explain their perspectives, express their points of view; actively listen in order to understand them.

Benefit of the doubt

Treat people as trustworthy; start with the premise that others have good motives and are acting with indignity.


Take responsibility for your actions; if you have violated the dignity of another, apologize; make a commitment to change hurtful behaviors.

copyright 2011 Donna Hicks


I have only become aware of this center recently and haven’t had a chance to follow all of their links to see exactly what they do, but what I have read recently leaves me very impressed.  I wish I were able to get involved, but I think I would need another lifetime to do that!  I’d like to encourage you to take the time to follow the link at the top of the page.


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