Importance of Dignity

Dignity is simply the way we feel, think and behave in regard to how we values ourselves and others. In order to treat others with dignity, it is equally important to take into consideration who we are and what we ourselves believe in, which in turn helps shape our behaviour and attitude towards others. If we take a minute to think of the possible consequences or reactions to the instances when our own or another person’s dignity is compromised, we would realize the extent of its adverse influence on our physical, social, behavioural, as well as psychological well-being.

As an individual unit of the society, it is more important for all of us as individuals to build dignified habits across all levels of the society. Such dignified habits can be acquired from the school, peers, community, and family, which is the first source through which beliefs about our self, others and the environment are formed. In addition, it is important to recognize the influence of the media, through the use of their language, the lyrics of songs, portrayal of human interaction, advertising etc., which go a long way in influencing the values and messages imbibed in us.

Celebrating Dignity Stories

The Global Dignity Day has been earmarked as the third Wednesday of October each year in various continents across the globe, with the rationale of celebrating and imbibing the concept of dignity in our lives. On the occasion of Global Dignity Day, it becomes important to reiterate the importance of imbibing the value of dignity in all our lives. Therefore, the rationale of such an initiative is to lead the young minds of various nations in a conversation about dignity, in order to help them understand the true essence of the word, and feel empowered with their ownership of the concept. Most importantly, their understanding of dignity can equip them with the power to be able to identify common instances when dignity gets compromised, including bullying, unhealthy comparisons, stereotyping, and bystander apathy, etc.

As a part of this initiative to celebrate dignity, we at the Department of Mental Health and Behavioural Sciences at Fortis Healthcare have passed on the message about Global Dignity to 31,489 students over the past year. Such an out-reach is an essential step towards bringing a change as the young minds are able to acknowledge their own values, define and respect boundaries, and learn to be assertive while also practicing self-compassion. The dignity stories presented by the students from their daily lives, their creations of their own dignity symbols, writing letters to themselves, and their own definitions of what dignity means to them serves as a reflection of the far-reaching impact of this initiative.

Spreading the Message

We all need to join hands towards such an initiative, and recognizing the necessity of imbibing dignity does not suffice, it is our responsibility to bring in a change at least at our individual levels, in order to bring forth a change in the society at large. Therefore, we need to acknowledge our own set of values, be more receptive to alternative points of view, be aware of one’s own and others boundaries and rights.

As a society, we need to develop an empathetic attitude, identifying with others’ experiences, and being able to gain a personal perspective while withholding our own judgements. It is our own responsibility to bring in dignity not just towards others but within our own selves. On an ending note, let us pledge to celebrate who we are, appreciate ourselves and feel liberated, because unless we practice self-compassion, we would not be able to earn others’ respect and would not be able to be compassionate and respectful towards others in turn. Remember to celebrate your own individuality and recognize your own potential!