A water carrier in a desert land who is always pleasant and never brash; a working mother who never complains. What is it in our makeup that drives us to persevere in virtually any circumstance? What makes us get up, dust ourselves off and move forward regardless of failure, disappointment and a host of other emotions that might seem to otherwise drag us down? It’s our inner dignity that is the primary motivator for these self-empowered actions.
The strength of our dignity is determined by the fluctuations of our energies such as resilience, determination, courage and care. Some people seem to have a knack for maintaining an even temperament. Their dignity and composure never seem to waver. For the majority of people, the state of their inner dignity is one of ebb and flow. It changes daily for some, seasonally for others. Somewhere in between is where most of us fit.
For example, we all know those situations such as disappointment, illness or general challenges will occur in our lives from time to time. When our challenges manifest, it is rarely the best time for dealing with them.
For instance, the unexpected is liable to occur in our constantly changing and competitive global economy. When it does, it can leave us out of sorts, depressed, and if we’re not careful, our inner dignity and esteem can plummet as well.
Our inner dignity also has great capacity for reaching an optimal level. This is especially true, of course, during those periods in which things are going our way and all the pieces seem to be falling into place. Provided, of course, there are no major bumps along the way. Yet we all have our bumps and challenges.
There is another more reliable path to an optimal state of inner dignity:
When you are sincere in all things and strive to become your true self by listening to your deeper heart, you nurture and increase the power and available strength of your inner dignity.
Dignity lifts us to realms of new possibilities where things begin to transform, creating more stability in our lives. Undesirable patterns begin to disappear and new patterns emerge as a new way of life.
The Stress of 'Losing Your Dignity'
Although all of us "have" our dignity. We must exercise it or its strength is diminished. No doubt you’ve heard it said of someone who laments a personal failure or disappointment at every turn, "He lost his dignity." When this happens, it is no small matter, and often the cost goes beyond not achieving a desired goal.
Studies show the stress experienced by those who hold onto anger, disappointment and other negative emotions for long periods can be very harmful. The longer the stress hormone, cortisol, remains in our system the more toxic and harmful it can be.
Those who are unable to move beyond feelings of disappointment, embarrassment or bitterness are at much greater risk of experiencing fatigue or hormonal imbalance, according to the research.
A Tool for Nurturing and Increasing Dignity
Heart Focus: Focus your attention on your heart. Breathe a little deeper than normal, in for 5 or 6 seconds and out 5 or 6 seconds. You can place your hand over your heart to help maintain your focus there.
Heart Breathing: Now imagine while breathing that you’re doing it through your heart. Picture yourself slowly inhaling and exhaling through your heart.
Once you are comfortable in your breathing, breathe in the feeling of inner dignity. Breathe in a sense of inner-strength and inner poise. This increases your dignity and power to maintain your higher principles.
When you practice Heart-Focused Breathing, do so for at least a couple of minutes. It is especially beneficial when practised several times each day until it becomes a natural habit.
Our dignity is the foundational baseline of good character. Explore how increasing your inner dignity could help you navigate your day-to-day discernment and choices.