A yearning for dignity lies at the core of our desires and aspirations. This is the single strongest force that shapes all relationships and interactions ————— personal, social or professional. Each o us want to be treated well and with dignity.
Indeed, the amount of indignity you give in to is a measure of your lack of self-worth, while what you can give up to maintain your dignity is an indication of maturity and self-confidence. How many times have you given in to demands that go against your grain just to “maintain the peace” or keep a relationship going ? How many times have you set aside dignity and chased after someone who refuses to receive your calls, answer texts or meet you ? Have you made choices you don’t believe in just to please others ? Or, submitted to unfairness at office because you need the job ?
In all these choices, you gave short shrift to your own sense of self-esteem. Whatever the consequences, giving up your dignity can never bring you happiness or satisfaction. What’s worse, when you set aside your self-esteem to give in to someone, you are helping set a pattern you will be expected to repeat. And this will slowly erode your sense of self-respect and pride completely, leaving you bitter and dissatisfied.
To maintain mutual respect in a relationship, it is important to draw your boundaries, particularly in intimate relationships, where you are most vulnerable. Dignity and a little distance in the closest of relationships never harmed anyone, we all need our spaces to withdraw to.
Very often we compromise our dignity without realising we are doing so. Certain practices are “unacceptable”. There can be no excuse for abuse, for instance. When you start planning your day around the activities of another person, trying to accommodate his/her schedule and idiosyncrasies, you are losing dignity. When you start telling a loved one what he/she wishes to hear rather than what you really wish to say, when you start changing your behaviour to suit another —— you are harming not just your own dignity, but also his/hers. In allowing another to evaluate you, you are undervaluing your own self.
How can you ensure your “dignity remains intact” and your relationship healthy ? “Communication is critical”. You have to draw the lines right from the beginning, “politely and firmly” taking stands on issues, which, however small, have the potential of blowing up later. It is, after all, “minor irritants” that ultimately bring down the best of relationships.
Dignity is the absolute last sacrifice anyone should ever be asked to make, because it ” erodes one’s very core, wiping out one’s dignity.” Do not exchange dignity for anything else you may think you may need badly, “it will boomerang in the long-term.” Whenever called upon to take a tough decision —- personal or professional —- if you keep your dignity sacrosanct, you will never regret the choices you made because you will have been true to yourself. Always make your decisions that doesn’t require you to break a chip of your core.