Dignity is more than just a word—it is a fundamental human need, intricately connected to our mental, emotional, and social well-being. When people are treated with dignity, they flourish; they feel seen, heard, and respected.
However, the concept of dignity is often glossed over or compromised, even though honoring someone’s inherent value should be at the heart of every interaction.
The Importance of Dignity
Dignity is so essential because it satisfies the universal human longing to be valued and recognized as an individual. Being acknowledged makes us feel like we belong, which in turn, creates space for more harmony and collaboration.
When people feel seen, they are more open, trusting, and willing to engage in constructive conversation. The opposite, not surprisingly, generates conflict, resentment, and division.
I’ve also found that when our dignity is violated, it can easily lead to the blocks and barriers we unconsciously create to “Stay Safe,” especially if these violations happen to us as children.
These ways of being then become the road map for how we move through life far into adulthood. Blocking us from allowing our authentic gifts and talents from shining fully, as we unknowingly cloak ourselves, hide out, or play small based on an old, outdated set of operating instructions, oftentimes from decades ago.
Based on the work of Donna Hicks, Ph.D. in her book “Dignity: Its Essential Role in Resolving Conflict,” I’ll be sharing with you why dignity is crucial and how we sometimes unwittingly violate the dignity of others.
In her work as an international expert in conflict resolution, she has identified ’10 Temptations to Violate Dignity.’ As you continue to read, I would invite you notice which ones resonate with you and how you might unconsciously be dinging the dignity of others or yourself.
The 10 Temptations to Violate Dignity
Understanding the value of dignity is one thing, but maintaining it is another challenge altogether. Donna Hicks identifies ten common temptations that lead us to compromise another’s dignity.
Being aware of these temptations is the first step towards cultivating more dignified communications, team collaboration, and ultimately a more peaceful world.
1. Taking the Bait
Reacting impulsively to someone’s negative behavior undermines our own dignity and perpetuates a cycle of disrespect. Exercise restraint instead.
2. Saving Face
Honesty is the cornerstone of dignity. Deception may save face temporarily, but it corrodes trust in the long run.
3. Shirking Responsibility
Admitting mistakes is a mark of true dignity. Refusing to acknowledge wrongdoings can perpetuate harm and destroy relationships.
4. Seeking False Dignity
Relying on external validation is shaky ground. Real dignity comes from within and not contingent on public opinion.
5. Seeking False Security
Staying in relationships where your dignity is consistently violated, simply for the sake of connection, is harmful to your sense of self-worth.
6. Avoiding Conflict
Ignoring violations against your dignity doesn’t solve anything. Address issues head-on, and use them as an opportunity to grow.
7. Being the Victim
Taking a one-sided view where you are the innocent victim in all situations is myopic and prevents you from seeing how you might also be compromising someone else’s dignity.
8. Resisting Feedback
Feedback provides the mirror we often need to see ourselves clearly. Defensiveness blocks growth and the chance to enhance our dignified interactions.
9. Blaming and Shaming Others
Projecting guilt onto others does not absolve us. It’s an undignified way of avoiding accountability for our actions.
10. Engaging in False Intimacy and Demeaning Gossip
Gossiping undermines dignity by reducing people to mere subjects of idle talk. True intimacy comes from sharing one’s own vulnerabilities and encouraging others to do the same.
In a world that often seems at odds with itself, adhering to the principle of dignity offers a path towards mutual respect, collaboration, and resolution. Honoring the dignity of another is not just an act of compassion but a reflection of our own humanity.
Being aware of the 10 Temptations that could lead us awry is crucial for maintaining a dignified life and treating others with the respect they deserve.
If we want to live and work in a society that is not just civil but truly humane, it starts with recognizing and celebrating the dignity inherent in each one of us.
Dignify is a tool that helps create a space of psychological safety where individuals and teams can communicate more effectively with greater dignity. A space where they can connect in a professional way that encourages listening, fosters understanding, and enhances collaboration. Empowering each person to feel seen, heard, and respected for who they are, not just what they do.
Let’s bring the power of dignity into the workplace!
Contact me to receive your free code to take the Dignify Snapshot and discover how to Dignify your team for greater collaboration, cooperation, and productivity.
Here’s what a recent client had to say about their experience of Dignifying their team:
Michele Molitor, CPCC, CHt – is an executive coach, hypnotherapist, and trainer. With over two decades of experience, Michele specializes in elevating workplace environments by fostering a culture of acceptance, belonging, and connection, anchored in the principles of dignity.
Michele’s transformative approach helps teams cultivate mutual respect and understanding, enhancing organizational health, harmony, and individual fulfillment. Reach out directly to unlock the power of your team.
This article originally appeared on my Linked In Newsletter, Rewire for Success.