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Tuesday, January 31, 2012

 

Dignity: The Essential Role It Plays in Resolving Conflict by Donna Hicks - Book review




Dignity

The Essential Role It Plays in Resolving Conflict


By: Donna Hicks, Ph.D.

Published: September 6, 2011
Format:Hardcover, 240 pages
ISBN-10: 0300163924
ISBN-13: 978-0300163926
Publisher: Yale University Press















"We share a longing for dignity - the feeling of inherent value and worth. When we feel worthy, when our value is recognized, and honored in our relationships, we are connected", writes acclaimed international conflict resolution facilitator and Associate at the Weatherhead Center for International Affairs at Harvard University, Donna Hicks, Ph.D., in her life affirming and honorable resolution based book Dignity: The Essential Role It Plays in Resolving Conflict. The author describes the important role that dignity plays in all human interaction, its universal desire in all people, and how to practice dignity in all personal, business, community, and international interactions.

Donna Hicks recognizes the importance of respect, but considers dignity to be a human desire of a different form. While respect implies an earned value, dignity should be accorded to everyone regardless of circumstance, based on their humanity alone. The author shares how vital a sense of dignity is to a sense of self worth, and how all conflict resolution must place a priority on the dignity of everyone involved in the process and outcome. Donna Hicks provides what she calls her Dignity Model, for understanding the role of dignity, whether in daily interactions or in international relations. The author places the desire for dignity at the heart of all human relationships.



Donna Hicks, Ph.D. (photo left) demonstrates that people become vulnerable if they are treated as if they have no value. At the same time, if others are treated with dignity, we enhance and reaffirm our own sense of dignity. The empowering aspect of this concept is that by maintaining the dignity of others, increases our own level of dignity. In other words, it is self defeating to attempt to undermine the dignity of others during all personal interactions. When we diminish the dignity or others, we lower our own dignity and self worth as well. The very positive approach to conflict resolution of all types, where dignity is upheld and enriched, promotes reconciliation and a renewal of relationships.

The Dignity model, as offered by Donna Hicks includes three essential parts. The three parts are as follows:

* Ten essential elements of dignity and how to honor dignity in everyone
* Ten temptations to violate dignity and how to avoid these traps
* Healing relationships with dignity through rebuilding and reconciliation

For me, the power of the book is how Donna Hicks combines a powerful theoretical framework of the importance of dignity to all people, with a practical guide to honoring dignity in every form of personal interaction. Donna Hicks shares her Dignity Model which transforms conflict resolution from one of confrontation and the diminishing of others, to one where dignity becomes a prime guiding force in the reconciliation process. Through acceptance of identity, inclusion, fairness, and other positive values, Donna Hicks offers an often overlooked connection for understanding the real underlying causes of conflict.

Donna Hicks understands that temptation to diminish the dignity of others has often caused many resolution efforts to break down without success. The author addresses each of these problematic temptations head on, with the warning signs that they are appearing, and the steps necessary to remove them. Donna Hicks also provides a process for utilizing the power of dignity to rebuild relationships, that goes beyond forgiveness, and renews relationships through a shared honoring of dignity.

I highly recommend the landmark and definitive book Dignity: The Essential Role It Plays in Resolving Conflict by Donna Hicks, Ph.D., to anyone seeking an alternative and fresh approach to rebuilding relationships through the mutual honoring of human dignity. This book will change forever your views of how people respond to others, and how that response will enhance and improve all conflict resolution situations.

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