The TEDxToronto event was almost 2 weeks ago and there’s a concept that was shared that just won’t leave my mind. In J Paul Nadeau’s talk, he shared how treating everyone he encounters with dignity and respect saved his life while he was training police officers in the Middle East. I can’t help but wonder what our lives would be like if we all treated each other with dignity and respect regardless of our differences.
The reality is that we are never going to see eye-to-eye on everything. We come from different beliefs, experiences, knowledge and wisdom that shape our opinions and how we view the world. We don’t have to agree with each other on everything or even like everyone we meet. If we agree that our collective viewpoints are going to differ, how do we peacefully coexist in spite of our differences?
I believe that J Paul Nadeau is on to something. I think that if we can find a way to treat each other with dignity and respect regardless of the past, any wrong doing or difference of opinion we create an environment of mutual understanding that neutralizes the potential for conflict. Acknowledging and identifying with our humanity and seeing it in others allows us to release judgement and focus on resolving whatever issues exist.
Think about the last dispute you had with someone. How might things have been different if both of you had treated each other with dignity and respect rather than pointing fingers and placing blame? Instead of judging behaviour as wrong or right, what if we accept that we all make mistakes and we’re all doing the best we can based on our current level of understanding?
Like most things, if we want others to treat us with dignity and respect and in order to treat others the same way, we have to start with ourselves! If we don’t know how to treat ourselves with dignity and respect, how will we know how to do it for others? Whether it’s eating food that will nourish you, staying in shape or establishing personal boundaries, once we embody the qualities in ourselves, it will be easier to make it our default position when dealing with others.
I’d like to start a movement. Call it a social experiment if you’d like. Let’s see what can happen when we treat ourselves and everyone we encounter with dignity and respect. Regardless of what’s been done or not done, said or not said, what would our lives look like if we focused on acknowledging each other’s basic humanity instead of judging one another? If you’re as curious as I am, I invite you to join me in the #dignityrespectmovement! Who’s in? ♥
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