What Is Dignity

What is the definition of dignity?


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"Dignity" to me reflects the self-respect you have for yourself. In this case, then, dignity comes from the choices you make for yourself, in terms of how you choose to handle yourself on a daily basis.

We try not to embarrass ourselves, but dignity is more than that. For me it means avoiding gossip: sharing it or listening to it. It means not listening to prejudicial jokes or comments—I will simply walk away. I cannot abide listening to people criticize or make fun of people who are less fortunate, whether it refers to living in poverty, being homeless, being on drugs, having abortions, being overweight, etc. I can only imagine how difficult the lives of others are. In this case, it's in allowing others to have a sense of dignity as well.

And, as Atticus Finch says, until I can spend some time in someone else's skin, how can I judge them? There are exceptions: murderers and pedophiles. I just can't wrap my brain around those kinds of people: I sense the tragedy involved but cannot put myself in those shoes.

For me, this all comes back to dignity...putting my "best foot forward." It means setting examples for youngsters, and letting other adults know what is important to me. I am also religious, so I feel that setting a good example is especially important for that reason.

Finally, dignity means you don't always have to have the last word. Sticks and stones...Honestly, if I feel I am right, I have a hard time just walking away. But dignity includes having enough self-respect and belief in being on the right path, that it shouldn't matter if I have the last word. (Working on that...)

Dignity should not mean being a snob. To me, it's more about the choices I make, and those choices don't have to be the choices of others. I can only be responsible for me.

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Dignity also means that you make the right choices regardless of the difficulty, and your actions then reflect a positive attitude with regard to whatever outcome to which those choices bring you. Dignity means one rises above the flotsam and jetsam of life's turmoils and turn these circumstances into something positive.

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Dignity is a concept that focuses on the worth, nobility, and importance of the individual. You show your understanding of other people's dignity by honoring them (e.g., paying attention to what they like and ask) and by respecting them (e.g., treating them with fairness, justice, compassion). You show your understanding of your own dignity by acting according to your sense of importance, worth, value, and of having a noble nature (e.g., having high aspirations, having admirable conduct, valuing your abilities and ideas, acting so as to further good end results).

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For me, dignity is something that a person has within him or herself.  People cannot give you dignity (though they can treat you as if you have it).  Instead, dignity can only, ultimately, come from within.

Dignity is when you act as if you matter.  It is when you act as if you respect yourself.  It does not mean that you do whatever you want or that you act in selfish ways.  It means that you act as if you care about yourself and about your character.

So, to me, you have dignity when you act in these ways -- when you try to act in ways that show that you are a person of character.

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Dignity is a person's right to be treated like a human being.  When we talk about human dignity, we mean human rights.  If people are treated with dignity, they usually have the right to make choices for themselves.  Dignity also means people are treated with respect.  When we talk about dignity of the elderly, for example, we mean treating them like adults and not like children.  Dignity involves privacy as well.  People often feel that their dignity is compromised when their privacy is taken away.  Ultimately, dignity is the idea that human beings are different from animals.

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