If something positive happened to me, an achievement of any sort, my father would often sarcastically say, “Well, pin a rose on you.”
I never considered, until now, how degrading, harsh, and undermining that six-word sentence could be to a person, and especially to a sense of worth and dignity.
Often seemingly simple statements can be the most harmful. When we are clueless of the effect, these darts lodge themselves deep inside our hearts and can take years (and even decades) to reveal themselves and allow healing to begin.
Today, I am doing a throat cold, accompanied by a nagging headache. Earlier, more friendly signals suggested I slow down to a healthy pace, but since I did not slow down, my body helped me with an unfriendly cold and feeling lousy. Thank you, body, for being my champion and ally… to slow down.
In bed, feeling cranky, making snarky comments to my beloved, I paused. With kind attention to what is, that I’m okay, and what “needs to be done” will be done, I reflected on all my achievements in the past year.
I paused and reflected on the tasks and goals and milestones I complete daily. I’m a rockstar ten times over. No, I have not cured cancer or generated world peace. But I am confident that my actions are generative energy creating good.
Then what prevents me from feeling joy and satisfaction innate in creating good?
How am I seeing, going, and checking my work and actions in the world?
What am I adding to the story and what am I missing from the story?
The clues and breadcrumbs reveal dignity.
Dignity is one of the three essential nutrients all humans require to survive and thrive. I write about these nutrients in my new book, The Body of Money. Dignity sits beside safety and connection.
The importance of safety and connection have made their mark publicly. Little can flow, grow, and evolve if we don’t feel safe. Safety is the bedrock of our individual feeling of being okay. Feeling okay, we naturally open to connect. Connection is essential as social beings, our heart sources love and joy in relationship with others and the world.
But dignity? Where do we see evidence of dignity?
Dignity has yet to pierce our full hearts and weave its magic through our culture.
Dignity is our future and promise for the better world we all want, need, and envision.
Dignity is our healthy embodied sense of worth and the recognition of the same worth for all beings.
Embodied dignity develops from pride, feeling satisfaction from our personal achievements.
The definition of pride from Oxford Languages is “a feeling of deep pleasure or satisfaction derived from one’s own achievements, the achievements of those with whom one is closely associated, or from qualities or possessions that are widely admired.”
When we don’t experience this satisfaction, we might suffer from the pride of lowliness, a phrase my late teacher Dan Brown named for those filled with self-doubt, and the inability to own their worthiness.
Another “dark” side of pride is when it slips into arrogance and constricted beliefs of self-importance.
Long ago I discovered my confusing relationship with pride, arrogance, and humility. This ice cream swirl is always asking for balance, unique to each situation.
Something shifts in me as I write today, for you.
My pride of lowliness sheds false humility.
My fear of arrogance releases healthy anger to cleanly move through me.
My dignity claims my worth, feeling deep satisfaction in me, just as I am, who I am, without accomplishing anything – which is everything.
I’m pinning a rose on me.
Here’s a rose 🌹to pin on you.
P.S. In my late thirties, visiting my parents with my own young children, my father and I sat in his car having just returned from an errand. My father turned to me with melancholy eyes. “Honey,” he said, “if I could give you one piece of advice for parenting, that I wish I had done more of, is to brag on your kids.” Receiving his kind words, smiling, and without missing a beat, I replied, “Daddy, there’s no time like the present.”
My friends, cue up your dignity muscles and braggaluscious until you feel your spine quiver with delight!