Reflections From My True Self

Remembering Who I Really Am

Dignity

6 Comments

I recently heard a fascinating podcast interview of John Lewis by Krista Tippett, where he mentions how showing feelings and true emotions can be perceived as weakness in this culture, and how saying “I love you” can sometimes feel so difficult. As a fan of  Bené Brown and her work on shame, I would say that touching into true emotions makes us feel vulnerable.

In the dunes by Lake Michigan, two children, young, unguarded, allow themselves unmeasured pleasure, dragging their feet in the sand and crowing at the trail they make. Now they thread, at top speed, through the still-bare shrubs at the edge of the sand hills, whipping branches behind them. I catch myself thinking I want to play that way, too, but such full-hearted enjoyment would be unseemly in an adult, if anyone were watching.

A person I care deeply for shared a confidence with me, because she felt safe doing so. She is smart, educated, worldly, and her dignity in the eyes of her peers is a matter of great importance to her. She confided that she trusted the wrong people and wound up losing considerable sums of money. The weight of this loss, for her, is doubled by the fear she carries of anyone knowing, of being judged foolish, unworthy of respect.

When I think of her, even in spite of what occurred, I do not find her unworthy. Dignity is not about appropriate behavior, about not taking risks or making mistakes. Right now, I feel it is about soul, about recognizing humanity (my own, as well as hers). I think of dignity as the ability to look up, around, even when fear would hide my eyes. It is standing with clarity and courage, after tripping along the path, or watching another falter alongside me.

There is a photograph my talented great-aunt, Hermi Friedmann, took some 60 or so years ago, of a Colombian peasant woman, perhaps of African ancestry, sitting in front of a large pile of pineapples. Her head  is wrapped in a scarf, her fingers work-worn, holding a cigarette to her aged face. She looks weary, and strong. She is the picture of dignity and beauty. (A copy of this photograph can be found here.)

It is in the recognition of our humanity, our timeless strengths as well as our wrenching weaknesses, in allowing ourselves vulnerability and self-acceptance, that old, wounding patterns can come loose and be released, and new, heartening opportunities opened.

Today, I will run in the sand.

I don’t have a copy of the photograph she took, so here is picture of Hermi Friedmann, in her own, full dignity.

I don’t have a copy of the photograph she took, to share with you, so here is a picture of Hermi Friedmann, in her own, full dignity.

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Author: Andrea Friedmann

I am an intuitive Life Coach at VibrationsCoaching.com, helping women who feel stuck, lost, and stressed, in their business or their personal life, to reconnect to who they really are, so they can build a life they thrive in. My clients want to feel confident, energized, and excited by their life again! What makes me different is that I developed a process that combines coaching, spirituality, and energy work and, with it, my clients quickly get rid of anxiety, change the underlying, limiting beliefs that keep them stuck and stressed, and discover they have what they need to thrive!

6 thoughts on “Dignity

  1. Thank you for sharing this beauty and wisdom. The time is, of course, incredible. And this occurs because you allow yourself to put this out in the world, to be known. Such a lesson in that too for me.

    Amazing.

    -Amy

  2. Thank you, Amy, for sharing your thoughts with me here. And for the reminder, for me as much as for yourself, that it is by putting ourselves “out there” that we allow beauty and mystery to unfold. I can always use that reminder! And, even though I’ve been thinking about that very important point only a couple of days ago, by this morning I had forgotten again. And so, with this, you are gifting me. Thank you.

  3. In past relationships, I’ve learned the importance of sharing positive feelings such as love, etc 🙂

    • I wonder if it ever felt difficult to you. It’s odd to me that expressing a deep caring could sometimes feel so difficult when I am speaking to a friend or a close relative. I notice there’s a way of throwing out “luv ya” that seems lackadaisical, superficial, that could be used with just about anyone… it’s when the feelings underneath feel raw and powerful that it has felt hardest for me to say “I love you”!

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