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Dignity: Self-worth and Respecting Others

Up until putting together this piece, I never really thought of dignity being related to wellness. I have always thought of dignity more in terms of how one treats others and especially how I would strive to treat patients.

Treating someone with dignity means treating them kindly and respecting their wishes and rights. But dignity also refers to one’s sense of self-respect and worth. It turns out, both of these definitions have everything to do with wellness.

Choosing to live our healthiest lives is not always easy. Being committed to healthy nutrition, exercising our brains and bodies and nurturing our relationships take work. We would not make these choices if we did not respect and value ourselves, our bodies and our lives. Most of us also strive to serve and care for others in our work and daily lives. Maybe we also practice loving-kindness meditation. These acts of kindness reflect our respect for others and the value we associate with their rights.

My suspicion is that most of us do not necessarily think about the concept of dignity because we simply live it when making choices for ourselves and others. Taking the time to consciously care for our minds, hearts and bodies is just part of who we are. Caring for others is something we enjoy and just natural for us.

This time of year is the perfect time to think more about dignity and its relationship to wellness. Likely you are being pulled in many directions as the holidays approach and trying to fit too much in. To accomplish all the things, you are considering missing a workout, going to bed late or skipping meditation. Getting out of our normal routine also loosens our resolve to avoid sweets and alcohol. Pretty soon you are stressed and upset that you are not caring for yourself.

I am going to attempt to avoid this spiral by spending a moment each day thinking of the concept of dignity to solidify my commitment to myself and my health. I will also use this time to focus on what the holidays mean to me, the importance of putting good out into the world and how I can continue to serve others with dignity.

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