The strongest force that lies at the core of all human interactions and relationships is dignity. Humans yearn for it at personal, social and professional levels. Everyone wants to be treated well and with dignity. Yet not everyone gets their fair share of it – thanks to their lack of self-worth. I have seen so many people going against their very grain just to maintain peace – in relationships or otherwise. There is no dearth of people who set their dignity aside just to follow someone who refuses to take their phone calls or stops responding to their text messages. Many people continue to live in abusive relationships justifying the abuse under some pretext or the other. People’s tendency of pleasing others comes at the cost of threatening their own dignity. Submitting to unfairness at work out of a dire need to preserve a job is understandable but being exploited beyond the realms of mental wellness and acceptance is a mark of indignity. One can be the most vulnerable in intimate relationships. It is extremely important in such relationships to maintain mutual respect and equally important to draw some boundaries. Dignity and distance go hand in hand even in the closest of relationships. Everyone needs their space to withdraw – hence the need for some distance.
Bargaining with dignity is akin to bargaining with one’s sense of self-esteem. It can never lead to happiness or contentment. Human mind is conditioned to tolerate an excess of unwanted baggage. Barring dignity, everything else is given primacy. The fault lies in our system. Right from childhood, children have to let go of their dignity when insulted or admonished by their parents – out of no choice since dependent on them. When in school, teachers don’t always preserve their dignity either. Its never kept intact by siblings, friends and relatives too. It slowly gets woven as a pattern and gets ingrained into the persona of adults – waiting to erode the self-respect and esteem completely, leaving one feel worthless, bitter and futile.
Dignity and respect should be the core of every human being. There should be no excuses, no second chances and no concessions whatsoever when it comes to your dignity. Never exchange your dignity for anything else you may think you can’t do without for it will rebound in the long-term, harming you and your relationship. Your ability lies in preserving your dignity.