The Ten Essential Elements of Dignity

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.

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

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

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 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.

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

Independence
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.

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.

Benefit of the Doubt
Treat people as trustworthy; start with the premise that others have good motives and are acting with integrity.

Accountability
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

 

 

 

Print Friendly and PDF