When I think of dignity, I think of Jesus Christ, Maya Angelo, President Kennedy, Desmond Tutu, or the Dalai Lama. Who do you think of?
So what is dignity?
I certainly know what it is not.
Dignity is NOT feeling superior because you have more money, charmed circumstances, higher education, or a better social standing. It is NOT mocking someone because they are different in age, gender, religion, race, or culture. It is also NOT scouring through social media and comparing yourself to the “perfection” portrayed online.
Respect vs Dignity (Please click on link)
Dignity is the inherent worth and value of every human being. We all have a deep, human desire to be treated as someone of value. Mother Teresa is an inspiration to many for devoting her life to caring for the poor, disenfranchised, and destitute.
I have been inspired by my grandmother Schatt. She had neither riches or education, status or a “charmed life”, and yet she has been a role model for me. She immigrated from Hungary to America in the early 1900’s when she was in her 20’s with, according to my mother, a gold piece in her pocket. She was jammed into the hull of the ship like sardines and was given little to eat on her travels across the Atlantic. Her sister sponsored her. She met a handsome young man who she eventually married and settled down in Baltimore. He was a tailor by trade and established his own shop on North Ave in the city. Then the stock market crashed, the depression ensued, and my grandmother was suddenly widowed with six children to care for. The family rallied together and were able to keep the house. She had a sweet and confident demeanor. She never whined or played the victim role and was quite feisty when her independence was waning. She taught her children manners, the love of God, and the importance of self-worth and respect.
So what do we do in our world of polarization, accusation, and misunderstanding. We must keep the definition of dignity ingrained in our brains. Everyone has inherent worth, even if you find them despicable. That does not mean that you usurp your power or your opinions to another. But it does mean that you try to understand the other and respect your differences. Think about a person that you find totally incomprehensible and abrasive. Ask God to remove any filters from your eyes that block your view of their inherent worth as a human being. This is a very difficult task but with much practice and prayer it’s possible. Remember, we are human beings, not machines. We are all made in God’s image. Positive human interactions are essential in creating a better world.
The Internet is not the real world. Cyberspace is not reality.(Sorry Jesse) The earth could be bombarded by an intense solar flare and all telecommunications could be destroyed. What would be left? Each other – face to face.