People talk about dignity as though we are born with it.
The only value we come with when we enter the world is the one God places on our heads by virtue of Him being God and Creator. Nothing to do with us. This is our human value.
But a simple glance around is all it takes to show just how little respect we have even for that basic value. We don’t acknowledge…let alone recognise it in each other. So we treat each other like dirt most of the time; hurting each other and breaking each other till kingdom come. Our excuse? Well, some of us are better than others, right? Of this we are sure & convinced. We couldn’t be further from the truth.
Dignity has been on my mind lately.
I have this image of the kind of woman I’ve always wanted to morph into and dignity is one of those rich aspects of character that comes close to capturing that image.
The more I’ve thought about this woman, the more refined dignity becomes. I could trace my hand around its contours and marvel at its beauty. At this woman’s beauty.
Dignity is more than self-respect. Nor is it a feel-good-about-yourself emotion.
I was drawn into its depth when I looked up some of its synonyms; excellence, nobility, grace, honour, sublimity, virtue, worth, composure, presence of mind, quiet, self-possession, serenity and tranquillity.
I fell in love with the exquisiteness of this trait but it also became clear to me that we are not born with this kind of beauty.
Dignity is something we grow into. It is something we become. And not without hard work. Not without coming into our own and understanding where our worth comes from.
It is the one trait that cannot be faked because it is the one trait that is developed in isolation – it is sewn and woven together apart from other human beings. No other human can make you dignified.
Dignity is made in the place where you, yourself and you meet your God and what you do in that place.
It is steeped heavy and thick in morality. It is the person you become who does the right and beautiful thing even when no one is looking; even when no one cares. It is the presence of mind that lets you possess your soul, drawing it close to you in ways that are not dependent on what or how others think or feel about you. It is treating others with the awareness that just like you, they come with a basic, unquestionable value that only their Maker has the right to doubt & weave.
I’ve long struggled with finding serenity in my own worth. I had been waiting for other people to lay hands on me and proclaim my goodness & worthiness. I fell into a heap when the day finally arrived that made me realise it doesn’t actually work like that.
So, I set off on a journey to find the price tag on my soul and grow me some dignity in thick layers that will keep me warm when the world is cold. & safe when the brokenness comes knocking on my door.
I have so many favourites from that list of synonyms but the one that keeps coming back to mind is composure. Maybe it’s because I have this vision in my mind of being held in the strong and steady arms of the man I love & feeling safe, warm, secure & whole. Dignity does the exact same thing to me but completely internal. It holds me together from the inside – out in comfortable equilibrium.
This state of dignity is a state of beauty that lets you exist with humility, knowing fully that you have nothing to prove to any man & that your value is not tied to others’ opinions of you. This is what makes dignity freedom & priceless. & I hope that is a freedom you will raise & find in your life.