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Book Discussions: Not Just a #Hashtag: January 2022: Peacebuilding through Dialogue, Pt.3

Peacebuilding through Dialogue, Pt.3: Conflict Resolution (p.155-p.236)

Essential Elements of Dignity by Donna Hicks

The essential elements of dignity are as follows.

  • 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, ethnicity, gender, class, sexual orientation, age, disability, etc., are at the core of their identities. Assume they have integrity.
  • Inclusion - Make others feel that they belong at all levels of relationship (family, community, organization, nation).
  • Safety - Put people at ease at two levels: physically, where they feel free from bodily harm, and psychologically, where they feel free from concern about being shamed or humiliated, that they feel free to speak without fear of retribution.
  • Acknowledgment - Give people your full attention by listening, hearing, validating, and responding to their concerns and what they have been through.
  • Recognition - Validate others for their talents, hard work, thoughtfulness, and help; be generous with praise; show thanks and gratitude toward others for their contributions, ideas, and experience.
  • Fairness - Treat people justly, with equality, and in an even-handed way, according to agreed upon laws and rules.
  • Benefit of the Doubt - Treat people as trustworthy; start with the premise that others have good motives and are acting with integrity.
  • Understanding - 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.
  • Independence - Encourage people to act on their own behalf so that they feel in control of their lives and experience a sense of hope and possibility. Use your power to empower rather than to disempower others.
  • Accountability - Take responsibility for your actions; if you have violated the dignity of another, apologize; make a commitment to change hurtful behaviors. (p.161)

Ten Temptations to Violate Dignity by Donna Hicks

1. Don’t Take the Bait: Don’t let the bad behavior of others determine your own.

2. Don’t get caught in the temptation to save face.

3. Don’t shirk responsibility when you have violated the dignity of others.

4. Don’t be lured by false dignity: Beware of the desire for external recognition of your dignity in the form of approval and praise.

5. Don’t be lured by false security. Don’t let your need for connection compromise your dignity.

6. Don’t just sit there and take it! Don’t allow someone to violate your dignity without saying something.

7. Don’t assume you are the innocent victim in a troubled relationship: Open yourself to the idea that you might be contributing to the problem.

8. Don’t resist feedback from others. We often don’t know what we don’t know.

9. Don’t blame and shame others to deflect your guilt.

10. Don’t be lured by false intimacy. Beware of the tendency to connect with others by gossiping about someone else. (p.162)