Some months ago, I wrote about the interesting subject: Are we born smart, or do we learn to be smart? The answer: People aren’t born smart. People learn how to work with what they’ve got and become smart as a result.
Today, I am attracted by the fact that everyone is born with dignity. It is our inherent value. Dignity is an inextricable part of what it means to be a human being. There is so much that divides us: ethnicities, religions, skin color, gender, politics, borders, and status. But dignity is the great equalizer. It cuts through all divisions and unites us around our shared humanity.
Dignity starts with recognizing our own inherent worth and the fundamental value of others. Recognizing everyone’s dignity impacts the way we treat ourselves and others and motivates us to build cultures of dignity in our organizations, workplaces, and communities. At the highest level, the principles of dignity would create new politics and economic systems and, ultimately, societies and nations that are more just, open, and peaceful. Hopefully Putin will read this.
To truly transform ourselves and our communities, it’s important that the principles of dignity be manifested in some areas. It starts with recognizing our own inherent dignity. Then, it’s critical that we also acknowledge the fundamental value of others—and that our individual humanity is bound up in the humanity of all people.
Let’s have a look at the 10 essential elements of dignity
When we honor someone’s dignity, WE:
1. Accept their identity and give them the freedom to express their authentic selves without fear of being negatively judged.
2. Recognize their unique qualities, talents and ways of life, and give them credit for their contributions, ideas and experience.
3. Acknowledge them and make them feel seen and heard. We validate and respond to their concerns and what they have been through.
4. Include them and make them feel that they belong and are part of a community.
5. Make them feel safe—both physically and from fear of being shamed or humiliated.
6. Treat them fairly and with equality.
7. Give them a sense of freedom and independence and empower them to experience a sense of hope and possibility.
8. Seek understanding and give them the chance to explain their experiences and perspectives.
9. Give them the benefit of the doubt by starting with the premise that they have good motives and are acting with integrity.
10. Apologize and take responsibility when we have violated their dignity. We make a commitment to change hurtful behaviors.
In conclusion, let’s accept that:
Dignity is inherent. We are all born with dignity, and it cannot be taken away. It is the core of our identity and self-worth. Respect is earned. It is given to you by others based on your actions, abilities, or achievements. You don’t need to respect someone’s behavior, but you should always remember their inherent dignity. This helps you break free from cycles of revenge, hatred, and resentment that lay at the heart of so many conflicts within families, communities organizations, and society.
Please remember that dignity is an inextricable part of what it means to be a human being. It’s the core of our identity and self-worth. And please, it should also drive our integrity! I look forward to your feedback; contact me at [email protected]