Heather Hansen

Trial Day 25 – Honor Dignity

Every time I get up to cross examine an adverse witness, I remind myself of his dignity. Every human being has it, simply by virtue of being alive. As I approach this witness, I can attack his evidence, her story, his credibility, or her bias, but I cannot take her dignity. I will not try.  In trying to take another’s dignity, you also risk your own. 

In times of conflict, it is tempting to go for the jugular. While the courtroom feels like the gladiators arena, we aren’t allowed to take lives. And in your life’s conflicts, you aren’t either. Instead, though, you may be tempted to make the adversary less human. Don’t give in to that temptation. When you work to make someone less human, the loss is yours. 

I promise, you don’t need to go low to win. I’ve had many adverse witnesses thank me for being nice. I still won those cases.

TODAY’S CHALLENGE–TRY TO HONOR DIGNITY. Be aware of your own and don’t let your anger steal it. Be aware of others, and don’t try to take it. You end up empty handed, and a little less for the effort.

Heather Hansen

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