I recently came across the works of Donna HicksOrganzing EngagementIkeda Centre. She’s taught at most of the Ivy League Universities in the US. Her specialism is conflict resolution. I love the the straightforwardness of the 10 essential elements and 10 ways to avoid violating dignity. I got in touch to say how much I was in awe of how she’s put something that could be complex into pain and powerful language (and to say they were up on my wall above my computer). She replied to say “it too me a long time to get those right!”
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
Give people your 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 to speak without fear of 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 that they feel in control of their lives and experience a sense of hope and possibility.
Believe that what others think matters; 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 integrity.
Take responsibility for your actions; if you have violated the dignity of another, apologize; make a commitment to change hurtful behaviors.
Taking the Bait
Don’t take the bait. Don’t let the bad behaviour of others determine your own. Restraint is the better part of dignity. Don’t justify getting even. Do not do unto others as they do unto you if it will cause harm.
Don’t succumb to the temptation to save face. Don’t lie, cover-up, or deceive yourself. Tell the truth about what you have done.
Don’t shirk responsibility when you have violated the dignity of others. Admit it when you make a mistake, and apologize if you hurt someone.
Seeking False Dignity
Beware of the desire for external recognition in the form of approval and praise. If we depend on others alone for the validation of our worth, we are seeking false dignity. Authentic dignity resides within us. Don’t be lured by false dignity.
Seeking False Security
Don’t let your need for connection and relationship compromise your own dignity. If we remain in a relationship in which our dignity is routinely violated, our desire for connection has outweighed our need to maintain our own dignity. Resist the temptation to settle for false security.
Stand up for yourself. Don’t avoid confrontation when your dignity is violated. Take action. A violation is a signal that something in a relationship needs to change.
Being the Victim
Don’t assume that you are the innocent victim in a troubled relationship. Open yourself to the idea that you might be contributing to the problem. We need to look at ourselves as others see us.
Don’t resist feedback from others. We often don’t know what we don’t know. We all have blind spots; we all unconsciously behave in undignified ways. We need to overcome our protective instincts and accept constructive criticism. Feedback gives us an opportunity to grow.
Blaming and Shaming Others to Deflect Your Own Guilt
Don’t blame and shame others to deflect your own guilt. Control the urge to defend yourself by making others look bad.
Engaging in False Intimacy and Demeaning Gossip
Beware of the tendency to connect by gossiping about others in a demeaning way. Being critical and judgmental of others when they are not present is harmful and undignified. If you want to create intimacy with another, speak the truth about yourself, about what is happening in your inner
world, and invite the person to do the same.