This bit of wisdom caught my attention when it came across my Facebook news feed:
"Often people are better at standing up for others than for themselves. Fight for your own dignity like you fight for others because tolerating disrespect eats the soul. Advice almost every senior woman would give you." - Mary Scully
Good advice that goes hard against ingrained training for some of us!
Fight for it? For ourselves? But...
First, what does it mean, anyway, to treat someone with "dignity"?
It does not mean exactly the same thing as politeness or respect. It is an attitude in how you view and interact with someone ~ an inherent value and recognition you accord them.
Five things about dignity:
1. Everyone wants to be treated with dignity - recognized, valued and safe in who they are. It's one thing we all have in common! We all know how diminishing it feels to be treated without dignity. Treated as less-than or unwelcome. Nobody likes feeling second-rate, dishonored, trespassed, ignored, or unworthy!
2. Dignity is an expansive energy, inclusive and powerful! It is not the same as pride, which (without real love) is small and rigid, exclusive and forceful.
3. Dignity is, at once, an uncomplicated and evolved aspect of love. You don't have to like or agree with someone to treat them with dignity.
4. Only when you extend dignity to others can you stand in real dignity. You have no right to tread on the dignity of another.
5. The energy of dignity is a magical ingredient. True dignity approaches grace and is a powerful catalyst! When dignity is added to the mix, positive synergy begins creating miracles. When it is absent, mixes fail, creations suffer and people hurt.
So why might it be a challenge to fight for your own dignity in personal relationships?
Simple, really. It feels like you are having to fight to be loved. To be LOVEABLE! Where is the dignity in that?
Your sense of personal dignity suffers when you have been unheard and unseen, made to feel inconsequential or unwelcomed.
Maybe you feel like you are an inconvenience and required to beg scraps from someone who claims they DO love you?
*He says, of course, he loves her! He married her, didn't he? He works all day to pay the bills. Gives her everything he has. He doesn't even hit her or call her disrespectful names.
*She doesn't feel the love because he doesn't look at her and notice her. He trivialized her feelings and opinions and performance. He doesn't make her feel relevant and valuable. He leaves her feeling unacceptable - always too much or too little. It's hard for her to FEEL the love when she feels he sees and treats her as a burden of responsibility and maybe even disappointing.
Claiming your own dignity and honoring the dignity of others is a simple magical ingredient that creates a profound and positive difference. Don't be stingy or grudging about it! Honor the dignity in others and magic will happen. Focus on where you have the most impact and responsibility - in your personal relationships. Have a little dignity! Don't leave them feeling unimportant, neglected, abandoned and dismissed. Love them in dignity!
And don't neglect yourself! They can fail to see and appreciate your value and inherent dignity, but don't let them take it away and erase your identity. Honor human dignity with the magic of fully claiming your own!
May you recognize and enjoy your blessings today,