8-15-20 Dignity


The most common conception people have, is that dignity is about respect. To the contrary, dignity is our inherent value and worth as human beings; everyone is born with it. It is within all life. Respect on the other hand, is an attribute we choose to endow something with. We may respect someone who is very kind and spiritual, or we may respect someone who has a lot of money. Respect is an action we choose to take, depending on our values. Everyone recognizes the deep human desire to be treated as something of value. The dignity we all possess and can recognize in others, is spiritual in nature and transcends all of our differences.

Any addiction strips a person of their feeling of dignity. We cannot connect with our innate sense of worth, and that shared sense of connection with others. When using, we are focused solely on what we want and how to use others to get it. We manipulate and demean ourselves and others for superficial ends, and to hide. This, as we now know, only brings misery. We’re missing a vital part that we need in order to be happy, a sense of dignity within ourselves, and knowing the importance of treating others with dignity.

The glue that holds all of our relationships together is the mutual recognition of the desire to be seen, heard, listened to, and treated fairly; to be recognized, understood, and to feel safe in the world. When we accept ourselves, just as we are, we feel included in the sense of not battling ourselves anymore. We are then able to accept others and help them, which is living with dignity, for ourselves and extending that to others. We are granted a sense of freedom and independence and a life filled with hope and possibility. Even when we fall short of being our best selves, which we will, there is always a sense of respect and dignity for ourselves as we grow and learn. There is always a way to reconnect.

In relationships, I learn to express myself gently and honestly and to not be afraid to be a little playful and have a sense of humor. I begin to value how the other person is feeling and respect that. I begin to relax and feel the flow of the music of life. I no longer build walls to keep it out.

Meditation will help. As we sit with our heads swirling around, we have the patience and courage to simply accept our thoughts and continually let go of them. To just be with whatever is occurring. We also mindfully, gently yet firmly, bring our awareness back to our breath. We are practicing choosing, where we are placing our minds. As we are able perhaps momentarily, to settle our minds, we may feel the stability, strength and clarity that is naturally there. We have been covering up our dignity, gentleness and happiness, with our fears and our story lines.

When we enter the present moment with curiosity, openness and acceptance, we feel life and what we are capable of. There is the sense of everything opening outward instead of everything being poisoned inward. We let go of our judgments and become enchanted and delighted, surprised and vibrantly alive.                                                                                                                     

As I heal, I realize that I have to be able to trust myself or I will always be looking to someone else for guidance. At first, I needed a lot of guidance and acceptance because I could not trust my selfish, fearful, confused mentality. I had much to learn and I needed to accept guidance. 

Slowly I begin to stand on my own two feet, while recognizing the vital importance of engaging with my community of friends as the way learning, fully entering into life, and opening up more. 

I still study and engage in my spiritual practices, and I am open to the wisdom of others. I continue to learn and grow, but I need to make my own mistakes and accept the imperfection of being human. I know I’m moving in the right direction, and I begin to trust myself. As I slowly quit battling with myself I am able to have more respect for myself and know I am a worthy  and valuable part of this world and can have a positive influence on the world. When I switch my mentality from what can I get or avoid, to – what do I have of worth that I can contribute, I find a new world worth being involved in.

I will not demean others, especially in an offhand, “acceptable” way of being funny.

I will not demean myself by acting petty or mean towards others or myself.

I will not accept someone demeaning me.

I will not expect myself or others to be perfect. 

I will have patience, courage and engagement, knowing they are the vital ingredients to growth.

“Even if you’re on the right track, you’ll get run over if you just sit there.” Will Rogers

The worst day—and the best day—was when I had to stand up in rehab and say “Hi,” my name, and “I am an addict.” It hurt to be honest and to begin trying to live by respecting myself, and others, but it was essential to do. Soon a sense of living with dignity and in an honorable way became more important than hiding and living selfishly. I learned it was better to be honest, with kindness, to be vulnerable instead of always manipulating and not even knowing what I really wanted or felt because I was hiding so much of myself. When I do live with dignity, I am constantly asking a little more of myself. I want to grow, be happier, help others, and take the best action I can. I find I’m losing the need to engage in or to begin all the petty dramas that seemed to comprise so much of my past life. I enjoy a fuller, richer life experience. AA Big Book story.

Society tries to dictate how we should look and act, what we should drive and eat and wear so we are more sexy and appealing to others. I don’t want to be appealing to those who find such things appealing. I wish to come from a deeper place within myself to decide how I should address all those things. I know there are superficial aspects of myself that need my general proper attention (clothing, grooming, etc), but no more than that. Otherwise, I get caught up in thinking these superficial things are really important and I leave no room for what’s truly important. 

When I do care for the small things — cleaning the house, doing the laundry, returning a call, being on time, picking up my clothes, being patient with someone else instead of judgmental — I’m able to leave a lot of room to let what is happening RIGHT NOW in. What a wonderful feeling to walk around not being afraid or angry, not looking for clues from others as to how I should act! Not being sensitive and reactionary, but walking upright and trusting myself. There is always a kindness and a directness in my thoughts and actions. I don’t manipulate, nor do I permit myself to be manipulated. I do consider and gauge what is healthy and unhealthy, and I’m not afraid to be the best I can be, as a fallible yet worthy person. Just like everyone else.

I am finding a sense of happiness and contentment from deeper within myself. As I permit life to unfold and myself to open up, I am amazed at how much magic and wonder there is in life.

How do you fill your bucket? One drop at a time
The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step
The great arises out of small things that are honored and cared for
May you be well. May you be happy. May you find peace.

Heart Of Recovery web site  — fcheartofrecovery.com