August 9     

Today's quotation:

One's dignity may be assaulted, vandalized and cruelly mocked, but it cannot be taken away unless it is surrendered.

Michael J. Fox

Today's Meditation:

You can say what you want about me, but the only way that you're truly going to affect me is if I allow your words or deeds to affect me.  I can keep my dignity only on my terms, and no one can take it away on theirs.

That is, as long as I make sure that's so.

There truly is nothing that anyone can take from us if we don't let them.  When they threw Thoreau in jail for not paying poll taxes, he was amazed that they thought they had taken away his freedom.  "I did not for a moment feel confined, and the walls seemed a great waste of stone and mortar," he wrote.  If he had allowed himself to feel as if they had taken his freedom, then guess what?  He would have felt that he had lost it.  But that wasn't the case at all-- since he refused to surrender his freedom, he still held on to it even while locked away in a jail.

Some people are so insecure that they try to hurt others, to take away their dignity or self-respect.  But if we let a cruel, insecure person take away our dignity, what does that say about us?  People have held on to their dignity in war, in prison, in concentration camps, in difficult social situations, in politics-- why shouldn't we hold on to ours where we are, right here and right now?  It's never worth giving it up, and that's the only way we can lose it-- by giving it up.

Questions to consider:

How would you define or describe your sense of dignity?

How have you seen people "lose" their dignity?  What happened to make them lose it?

What might cause you to surrender your own dignity?

For further thought:

True dignity is never gained by place, and never lost when honors are withdrawn.

Philip Massinger



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