They were talking about the United States. I was struck by the words “dignity of the individual”.
The word dignity is defined as: the state or quality of being worthy of honor or respect.
Does that mean each person should be worthy of honor or respect?
Doesn’t respect start with the self?
I’m not certain I have always been respectful of myself. I smoked for years, and only quit on April 1, 1993. If I had truly respected myself and my body, I doubt if I would’ve smoked. Only one example in my life.
To me, self-respect means demanding the highest from yourself. Valuing your life, treating yourself well. It’s how you take yourself and portray YOU to the rest of the world. One honors oneself.
Here’s some homework: go to this site, then tell me if you would do that to yourself and post the picture for the world to see. Isn’t that an example of not having self-respect? Or am I wrong and it’s just funny?
There’s one in every generation
In every generation there is something or someone who acts as the poster boy/girl for bad behavior, who dumps dignity on it’s ear. Think Miley Cyrus – ’nuff said. Madonna shocked people with her sexuality. People thought Elvis was bringing down the culture and was a horrible example for young people. Prior to that, people were shocked by the cheesecake posters of World War II. Before that, flappers, young women who acted too free and easy.
People or a group of people have always existed to challenge the status quo.
But something about popular culture lately disturbs me. It’s as if people are demanding NOT to be respected, to be unworthy of honor or respect.
Maybe dignity is an old fashioned word
Think of the people you know who epitomize dignity. Mine are: a former boss who was always courtly, a woman I worked with who had a queenly bearing, a minister, a doctor, and an elderly attorney. I could not imagine any of these people twerking. I couldn’t see them doing anything that would diminish the aura of propriety about them. They are all older, so maybe dignity comes with age. Maybe restraint is an age thing, too, but I counter that idea with the thought that I’ve known teenagers who had a dignified demeanor. They were respectful of others and themselves.
Another thought: maybe these dignified people merely portray the image. Maybe they aren’t respectful of themselves or others. Maybe the doctor goes home and beats his wife. Maybe the attorney takes drugs.
A deeper dive into dignity
Maybe dignity is just the outer layer and self-respect is the inner core. People who are and feel respectful of themselves and others portray dignity easily.
What do you think “dignity” means? Is it an antiquated term and an even more outdated concept?