What is dignity?

This morning I had a meeting with people in a different time zone so we had to start at 9 am. My team lead and I were going to join this meeting. I again couldn’t get to bed until 1 am yesterday. I tried to wake up early and got out of bed early enough but felt really unwell. I struggled to let myself look after my health. I’ve realised I put a lot of pressure on myself regarding what I should be able to do to be “good enough”. Notice how doing relates to being good enough, although there’s no “doing” in “being” good enough.

My achievement-driven upbringing and the society we live in has left my inner self confused in that it mistakes value for dignity.

From Choose Life: A Dialogue By Arnold Toynbee, Daisaku Ikeda, Pg 340-42:

Ikeda: The dignity of life has no equivalent; nothing can be substituted for it.

Toynbee: Value is relative, and anything that has value can be exchanged for something of equal value (this is the function of money). By contrast dignity (alias honour) is absolute, not relative; and there is nothing, however valuable, that can be exchanged for dignity or for honour.

Ikeda: … to make that life dignified in the truest and most actual sense requires ceaseless effort. Each human being must bear the responsibility of his (or her) own dignity. The only way for people to give dignity to all aspects of their lives on a practical plane is to abandon hate and injury and strive to act with beauty and love.

Clearly, I hold the responsibility to respect and uphold my dignity. This is inherent and is not driven by where or how I can add value. All of my life, I have been trying to be useful and add value, neglecting my own self. Perhaps this explains some of my burn out and “Chronic Fatigue” literally. Apparently I gave so much, I had nothing left for myself.

This morning, I kept reiterating to myself that I deserve to look after myself. It doesn’t reduce my worth as a team member and an employee. I can still join the call and contribute – maybe it won’t be picture perfect but I will be able to look after myself.

I ended up dialing in from home and in the next meeting right after I was logged in from the train working remotely. It turned out to be a super productive day.

The cherry on the cake – when I logged in from home, turned out I had a consistently good connection on the videoconferencing. My team lead who had signed in from work kept dropping in and out due to a poor connection. However, I could be there to continue to talk to stakeholders while he dropped off and on 4-5 times in an hour.

As this was happening, I was reminded of this gosho I read a while ago and also heard in someone’s experience at the ACC in a Commemorative meeting.

Buddhism teaches that, when the Buddha nature manifests itself from within, it will receive protection from without.

The Three Kinds of Treasure (WND1pp.848 – 853)

If I reflect on it, my complaints go away.

All is well in my world. How about yours? <3

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