Dignity Begins with Respect

"It becomes very difficult to treat someone with respect if you don't see a reason to, especially if you don't respect yourself. For that reason alone, it is important to respect yourself, so that you can respect others."

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The dignity that human life deserves is something few people would argue about. And yet, all around us, we find minimal respect for human life.

Dignity begins with respect. Respect for others begins with respect for ourselves. If we respect ourselves, we act in a dignified manner. If we respect others, we treat them with dignity too. It goes far beyond opening a door for someone or giving a compliment. Those things are the result of respect. Having respect is different.

It starts with yourself. How do you feel about yourself? Do you respect your mind and your body? Do you show that to others?

How we act and show ourselves to the world begins with how we think of ourselves and want others to perceive us. Acting like a lady or a gentleman is a simple example.

If a man believes he is a gentleman, and wants others to see him as a gentleman, then he acts like one. If a woman wants others to believe she is a lady, then she behaves like a lady. Out of respect for herself, she acts as though she deserves respect. The gentleman is no different.

If she walks into a store dressed in dignified clothing and presents herself that way, others will see and think she is a lady and treat her that way. On the other hand, if she walks in wearing clothes designed to only to titillate, it is not very likely others will think she is a lady, or treat her like one.

The same is true for men. If a man wears baggy pants he has to hold up with one hand and the entire back of his boxers are showing, most people won't think that man is a gentleman. If he lets a door slam in the face of a pregnant woman who is also carrying a baby in her arms, he certainly does not act like a gentleman and anyone who sees him won't think he is a gentleman.

It becomes very difficult to treat someone with respect if you don't see a reason to, especially if you don't respect yourself. For that reason alone, it is important to respect yourself, so that you can respect others.

The gentleman holds a door for the pregnant lady with the child in her arms. She passes through and thanks him. He was a gentleman, she was a lady. He showed her respect by helping with a door, she did the same by thanking him for the help.

It is a simple example, but the principle holds true in every aspect of everyday life.

If we respect ourselves and each other, then we teach that to our children. They grow up, have children and teach them the same thing. The respect and dignity spreads. When we have respect for ourselves and want others to respect us, we act that way. It is our nature to act as we want others to know us.

Everyday in this country, unwanted children are conceived out of lack of respect. Two people share in an act they don't take responsibility for because they don't have enough respect for themselves to stop what they are doing. They lack the dignity required to act with dignity. Since they do not respect themselves, they don't have the respect for that new life and 1.37 million times a year in the U.S. alone, 3700 times a day, a new life is ended because those charged with caring for it didn't respect that new life enough to preserve it and nurture it.

Ninety-three percent of all abortions in the United States occur because the child is unwanted or inconvenient. Why do so many have so little respect for themselves that this continues?

Unfortunately, abortion is a symptom of a much bigger problem and that is quite simply, a lack of respect. If we can't respect ourselves enough to act with dignity, how can we expect the same others, including our leaders?

And now, the lack of respect and the lack of dignity assigned to human life comes in the form of assisted suicide and euthanasia. Lives are ended because someone decided they are useless or beyond hope or too expensive or...

It goes on and where will it stop? Will we reach a point where the government decides when and if to allow medical care? We're moving in that direction. We're already putting the government in charge of our health care. Will they decide the 67 year old grandmother doesn't get an expensive medical procedure because it is too expensive and she is past her productive years? It's easy to say no, that won't happen. Certainly those engineering government health care will say it won't.                            

We've already been there and done that, albeit on issues of lesser importance. When Illinois passed its compulsory seatbelt law, the head of the Illinois state patrol and the governor assured citizens they would not stop people who were not wearing a seatbelt. Well guess what? Illinois and many other states will certainly pull you over and issue you a citation for not wearing a seatbelt. It took less than two years for that to start after passage of the law.

How many years before our lack of respect for ourselves and for each other will result in that 67 year old grandmother being denied the life-saving operation?

Will that person be your mother or sister or daughter? Or you? Will you think about respect then?