Mexican-American labor leader César Chávez once said, "The first principal of nonviolent action is that of noncooperation with everything humiliating." Dr. Robin says these words had powerful implications for the mistreated migrant workers whom Chávez worked so tirelessly to assist, but they also ring true for all of us today. The underlying message, according to Dr. Robin, is that in order to have dignity, you must give dignity to others. "To take away the dignity of another person actually takes away your own," she says.
Humiliating another person, no matter what they've done, only serves to take away that person's dignity as well as your own dignity, Dr. Robin says. When you have a problem and think humiliation is the answer, consider finding some other way to get your point across in a manner that will bring out the best in that other person—and in you. "What you want to do is coach them—you want to model for them what it looks like to live with honor and dignity and respect," Dr. Robin says. "Humiliation is simply never in the equation."
Published on January 01, 2008