My Dignity, Our Dignity!

Chinwe Nlemoha Written by Chinwe Nlemoha · 2 min read >

“Every life deserves a certain amount of dignity, no matter how poor or damaged the shell that carries it”  

Rick Bragg

Before 1948, dignity was used to describe one’s merit. If you have done a noble thing, then you are a person of dignity. You attain a certain level and everyone gropes around you like you are a mini god. It had nothing to do with inherent and intrinsic values. 

How Dignity Of Humans Became A Thing

One day in 1948, United Nations ratified the universal declaration of human rights.

The concept then became as stated in Article 1: “all human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.”

This new definition acknowledges the fact that, every man is worthy of respect and honor and because, he is worthy of resect, he becomes a special person in the universe. 

Say with me, “I am a person of respect, I am special, I am unique and I treat others with respect.”

Regardless of my status, race, tribe, achievements, I am a person of dignity and expect to be treated as such.

The Purity of Dignity

Dignity is no longer what people earn, but something that they are born with. This is what makes man unique and different from other animals or inanimate things. 

This also means that God created every human being, every person, in the image and likeness, with unique abilities and capabilities and has an eternal destiny. 

When we choose to treat others well, it preserves our purity and we give others a chance to believe in a better future.

I agree with the thought that says- “the way people treat you is a statement about who they are as human beings. It is not a statement about you.”

This implies that, the man who treats others without dignity, shows that he sees himself as a man without dignity because, you do not give what you do not have. 

“While the explosion of an entire lifeless galaxy is just a firework, the corruption of a single human being is a tragedy.”  


Ways We Abuse Human Dignity

The Human Dignity can be abused when we: 

  1. Use people as a means to an end. It means using people to achieve your personal goals as against allowing them express their rights. 
  2. Humiliate people. A wise saying goes thus- people may forget what you say or what you did, but they will forget how you made them feel. Humiliating people is when you diminish the self-worth of a person by injuring their esteem with words or actions. 
  3. Dehumanize people. Writing about this, I am forced to remember how people treat humans like animals. For instance, if you have a domestic staff with you and you make him/her eat leftovers of your children, or you flog them mercilessly, you have abused his/her dignity. Dehumanization occurs when we don’t recognize people like human beings. Other examples are people that murder others, suicide bombers, the Holocaust of 1941-1945 etc. 

Some other practices are rape and torture; social exclusions like the OSU caste system in the eastern part of Nigeria, one day, I will talk about this; slavery, deliberately making people depend on you for survival etc. 

Implications Of Dignity When Dealing With People 

  1. We should be treat everyone with respect irrespective of status. 
  2. We should learn not use people as a means to an end, rather we should see them as people worthy of respect that can render help to us.
  3. One should make appeals to the intellect of men, rather than force or manipulate them to do things for us. 
  4. We should do everything to man in ways that shows you identify his dignity and respect him for that. In the way we communicate, dress, think, give instructions, play, request for help, etc. 

The difference you are looking for in the world starts with you. Choose to make that difference and treat that neighbor well today. 

Kindly send your comments or questions to

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