Dignity is the right of an individual to be treated fairly and respectfully. It derives from the Latin word ‘dignitas’, meaning worthiness. Dignity is used often to represent the worthiness and deserving of all humans to expect correct treatment. It is enshrined in the understanding of modern human rights and the expectations of justice.

How is Dignity Violated

There are many ways in which others choose to violate dignity. Sometimes, we can act in these ways without thinking; other times, people do bad intentions. While this is negative, all we can hope to do is re-educate those who cause such substantial damage to individuals and inevitably wider society.

Humiliation is a common way in which somebody’s dignity is violated. Humiliation or embarrassment can seem harmless or straightforward on the surface, but it has the power to ruin confidence and self-worth within an individual.

Degradation is harmful in that it destroys an individual’s ability to believe in themselves. Often degradation lasts or develops over a long course of time. The repeated experience of degradation alienates and isolates individuals who suffer from it.

Objectification means treating or discussing somebody in a way that suggests they are not human. Comparing somebody to inhuman things decimates self-worth. This can occur more often than you might assume, but it comes down to the idea of believing in the worth of the other person.

Dehumanisation, much like objectification, works to damage self-image and weaken the character of the individual. Dehumanisation is significantly damaging to dignity as it refutes the concept that the person in question is human and henceforth calls into question whether they deserve humane treatment.

Why we Must Treat Others with Dignity

It is imperative that in our day-to-day actions and through the ethos we carry through life, we maintain a sense of mutual respect and dignity for everyone we encounter. The essential need for dignity means we can create a community that relies upon equality and benefit for everyone. Therefore the concept of dignity is enshrined in both law and the declaration of human rights.

If we fail to treat others with dignity, we set an example that suggests we support inequality and unfairness. While it can be easy to feel that doing that will not cause any harm, it is essential to consider what the world would be like if nobody treated anybody else with dignity. We must act with grace for others, for it is the ground block of all good treatment and respect. We all want it, and all deserve it, so treating others with dignity should be a given.

Guided Meditation

Guided meditation is a practical method of gaining a sense of dignity, both for ourselves and others. It allows us to deepen self-knowledge while also expanding our empathetic skills through a far broadened perspective. Guided meditation may let us see the concept of providing others with dignity if previously we found the idea difficult or were damaged by a lack of dignified treatment.

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