The decline of dignity — but who’s the judge?

October 22, 2022
Self-respect and dignity – are they fleeting in our society these days, is society less Puritanical or is technology just a newer way of expression? And besides, what person is the judge of self-respect and dignity anyway?

To take on the first point, why are so many people okay with objectifying their bodies or behaving in a way they wouldn’t want their grandmother to know? What’s been uploaded is terribly hard to get taken down, so future employment, long-term relationships, and more can be jeopardized. Are we becoming more and more deprived of respect and dignity? Are society and morals dying, pushing the boundaries of what’s taboo or not, to the point that we are resorting to this?

Or, is society simply less Puritanical? Speaking of society as a whole, are humans realizing that our bodies are meant to be enjoyed, that intimate aspects of our lives be shared, and that nothing is off limits to be shared, even with perfect strangers? Anything goes in today’s world – we say, behave, and react as if there are no filters or boundaries.  Is it for the shock value, the attention, or have we just gotten desensitized to the level that dignity has eroded?

Or, is technology just a newer way of expression – that respect and dignity are the same as they’ve always been in society, are we just seeing things differently? Showing your sh!t  isn’t a new thing; it’s just easier to show your sh!t online. Think phone sex that has been around since the 70s, magazines like Playboy, and nude dancing. Today, we have ease of access. However, back then, we didn’t have the ability to log into any social media site and immediately see bullying and spewing of disrespectful rhetoric about race, politics, religion, and everything in between. This transformation seems to be directly correlated to social media.

So, what’s your take on respect and dignity in this current world? Are they fleeting, or are they just the same, but people express themselves through different mediums?

This brings up another point: who is the judge of self-respect and dignity in society? I would say that only the individual can decide if they are lacking. Those on content-sharing platforms can be trying to make a living (to survive), for extra money, or because they simply enjoy it. Sure, we are allowed not to like it if we don’t want to see it. But should we attack others for doing it? Just because we don’t like something doesn’t mean it’s immoral, wrong, or shouldn’t be shared. It’s not necessarily about dignity but rather what works for them. Issues come into play with consent, sexualization of the underage, and objectification, however.

Speaking of objectification, I don’t necessarily blame the people who do it as much as the ones who pay for it. Money is money, and those who take the opportunity to be rich will potentially get rich. It’s capitalism. But those that pay for it are doing the objectifying. While it’s absurd that people will pay such insane amounts of money for this stuff, it’s not ridiculous that people are willing to capitalize on the fact that there’s a market for it.

I now want to circle back around to the concept of dignity and how it relates specifically to you. I speak a lot about character and confidence, but dignity is a crucial part of the equation. Dignity is essentially having enough self-respect to conduct yourself with diplomacy and discipline in unfavorable situations. And that self-respect is enormously valuable because nothing else matters if you don’t respect yourself.

Without self-respect, being your best is impossible because it determines how you handle yourself in every situation– not to mention how you handle the other people that interact with you. Now, to truly have dignity and self-respect, you also need to have healthy self-esteem. Self-esteem is different than self-respect because it speaks of how you feel emotionally about yourself.

Developing self-respect is crucial. You should never lose sight of the fact that you need to feel like you are somebody because you are a man of principle and not because others tell you that you’re somebody. You are somebody because you are a man of your word and responsibility! And from that, you love yourself, believe in yourself, and know that you bring value, which is the cornerstone of self-esteem.

What matters, and don’t lose sight of this, is being a good person with good character and DIGNITY. I know that the concept of dignity is a little bit abstract, but hopefully, you get the point of this message. All I’m saying is that you need to feel fulfilled because of the person you are, not because of the reinforcement you’re getting from other people. Forming your sense of self around how other people define you is not healthy, and this is a danger that we as a society face.

The online world is not going to get any better, so we need to take the situation upon ourselves and make sure NOT to rely on others to make ourselves feel whole. Instead, we should build our own self-esteem (emotions) and know we’re respectable (actions) people. These are not built on what others say but from belief in yourself and love of yourself, which will translate into your daily actions, aka your dignity (self-control). This dignity translates into being a gentleman.

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