Thursday, October 22, 2009

What ever happened to Dignity?

To me, dignity seems a noble goal. If you carry yourself with dignity, you present yourself with self-assurance and self-respect; you take your cues from within. You move with a sureness and calmness that suggests you are at peace with yourself and your choices (this is starting to sound like a facebook fortune). At least, this is how I see it.

I got to thinking about dignity when I was listening to an interview with economist Charles Kinney on NPR yesterday. He was talking about how access to television has moved women's rights forward in many third-world countries because of empowering stories on soap operas, etc. That may be the case in Brazil and Saudi Arabia, but TV in this country seems to have turned everyone into external validation junkies.

What is it with the "look at me, look at me! I'll do anything if you pay me/if you record me" all the time?!?! Remember when humiliating reality TV was eating a sheep's eyeball on Fear Factor? Now people expose
their bodies, their habits, their families, their addictions, their souls in a constant, desperate attempt to get any producer's attention. I'm thinking, of course, of those pitiful parents in Colorado, who hid their six-year-old and told him to lie when they launched their balloon in order to get themselves another reality series (as if Wife Swap wasn't enough fame and adulation).

You would think yoga would be the perfect antidote for this insecurity. And yet even the yoga community seems full of practitioners keen on branding themselves and selling yoga shoes to "help spread the word"--as if the word wasn't spreading just fine on its own without a lot of pictures of hot, young bodies doing arm balances.

Didn't anyone's parents pay enough attention to them when they were kids?

So here's my idea: let's bring dignity back! Let's celebrate quiet satisfaction and inner peace. Let's value thinking and contemplation and shed the childish demands for attention. Cool it with the material desires...get internal!

How's that sound...anyone with me?


18 comments:

Jenn said...

Me, me, I am with you!

Linda-Sama said...

great post! I'm with ya!

Rachel said...

Oh for the return of dignity. Where did it go?

Christina said...

You should have your own yoga reality show. Great post BKP!

Emma said...

Hi Brenda, I discovered your blog yesterday (who said "better late than never"?) and I love it!
I'm with you all the way from Europe!

Kristin said...

Raising both hands here!

I compare most TV/media these days to having ones brains sucked out through their eyeballs.

We'd be a lot better of if we'd just turn of the constant bombardment of "reality" and tuned into those around us.

Great post!

Connie said...

"Let's bring Dignity back!"

Can't help but turn that into a song.....I like it!!

This was a great post Brenda, I'm in.

Peace & Love.

Linda-Sama said...

one can also ask, "whatever happened to shame?"

I know "shame" is a bad word now, we are not supposed to feel "shame", i.e., shame for being abused, etc. and I agree with that part of it.

however, when I was a kid back in the olden days ;), I have to say that we thought twice about doing certain things for fear (another bad word now) of what our parents would do AND our neighbors. because when I was kid you knew that if you did something that your parents wouldn't like, you knew someone's mother would go tell your mother and you'd be in for it! you couldn't get away with anything back in the day.

I can imagine how the people in my old neighborhood is Chicago would treat balloon boy's parents if that happened back in the olden days!

Jen said...

Amen!

MS said...

I so am with you! Really, for most of your posts I am with you! I am just sad for those people who are so desperate for external validation. That's after I'm initially creeped out and horrified.

Kitty said...

what a great post!

PetalsYoga said...

Count me in! Great post!

nadinefawell said...

amen from me, too!

Donna said...

Totally agree. Quiet confidence and contentment while striving to be our best selves. That doesn't mean manipulating everything and everyone around you to get external pats on the back. Truly I don't understand the mentality of letting it all out for everyone to watch - do we have nothing better to do with our time?

TINA VAUGHN said...

Quiet dignity...I read this in "Wherever You Go, There You Are" and it was how he would situate his practitioners for meditation. Sitting in a place of quiet dignity...something about that statement embodied all I ever wanted to communicate about preparing self for this practice...

I just thought to check in with my blogs before bed and I'm glad I did, especially yours with such a timely message.

I am preparing to teach in a pretty popular, happening hub for yoga (as if, right?) here in my city and I signed on to do it as a way to (shameful admission) reach out and (augh) promote myself. I also did it because I wanted to overcome a fear of mine...teaching to a large, rather mainstream crowd.

Anyway...this has been a reminder that I am who I am, the practice will resonate with them or it will not--it's not about me...

Brenda P. said...

Yes, M'am(s)! Glad to see I struck a note...maybe a Dignity Manifesto is in order. Hmmm.

LS-I thought about shame, too. "Shameless" is definitely an adjective to describe a lot of that the activity under discussion. But it seems like that, too, depends on external factors (other peoples' disapproval) and I was hoping to encourage internal motivation.

But, yeah, not wanting to let the neighborhood down is good incentive...

TV-I don't think offering a class to a large group of the uninitiated is selling-out at all. There's getting out the word and there's getting out the word, and if you aren't compromising your principles, I say go for it. If you're telling the group they need special yoga shoes to enjoy the class, then I'm a little leery.

I hope it goes well! Maybe a reflection on the change in venue would be a good blog post (hint, hint). I've never taught a class over 25, so I'd be interested to hear how your teaching changes!

Yoga Spy said...

Fame has always been a dubious "goal." In the old days, it was attainable only by a few (eg, movie stars, political leaders, the super rich, and occasionally some truly deserving folks).

Now fame is open to the masses. Just put yourself OUT THERE. The related question is why an avid audience (for undignified self-promotion) exists! Takes both sides.

I wrote a related post on the underrated value of privacy: http://yogaspy.wordpress.com/2009/08/20/get-a-private-life/.

Good post,
Yoga Spy
www.yogaspy.wordpress.com

Everyday Yogini said...

A-freakin'-men! I am with you, Brenda... LOL to the Yoga reality TV show. ;)