Dignity: How Do You Roar?

recovery Sep 20, 2018

I gave a keynote titled Dignity: How Do You Roar? at the 36th Annual NYAPRS Conference in September of 2018. In my talk I discussed three dimensions of dignity:

  1. Cultural dimensions of dignity and its ties to the land
  2. Embodied dignity
  3. Dignity of self and identity

In the talk I proposed that we know dignity when it has been violated. Our dignity announces itself in the universal language of the scream pressed into a pillow; the roar of angry indignation; the protest of NO, NO, NO.

Dignity is the protest of the GAZE that objectifies, dehumanizes, belittles and thing-a-fies us. Dignity is the protest against the silencing of our voice. Dignity expresses itself as a ROAR and that roar is a kind of rocket fuel that, when ignited, launches us into action. Our wounded dignity opens before us a gap between what is and what should be. And the reason we can stay and keep working in public sector mental health, is that we have made our work our roar. It's our commitment to provide help that doesn't hurt. Dignity is that juncture where our being and becoming meet. Dignity is that confluence where our value and our vulnerability meet.

This is the common ground of our shared humanity. Systems of care is an oxymoron. Systems can't care. People care. The starting point for all person centered, recovery oriented, healing care, is the common ground of our shared humanity which is our dignity or that place where our mutual value as human beings meets our vulnerability.

How do you roar? I'd love to hear from you.