The Threat of Dignity

Gosh, it is amazing what you discover on the web when you’re not even looking! Somehow, I landed on a particular Facebook page that led me to a recent video that Jada Pinkett Smith posted about the Oscars.  Although the awards are over and the hype is dying down, I decided to listen to her video anyway.  Five minutes later, I found myself rewinding a particular portion of her two-minute video clip over and over.

Begging for acknowledgment, or even asking, diminishes dignity.  It diminishes power. And we are a dignified people.

Suddenly, I was less concerned about the overall message and more focused on how those words related to my world.

I’ve shared before that I consider myself a recovering approval addict.  I spent my entire life, little by little, developing the need for approval from others through my achievements and possessions.  It is still a daily fight to not relapse.

Currently, there is a situation occurring at my job where some people are feeling as if they are not receiving the accolades they deserve in their work and performance.  (Hmm, this sounds a lot like the Academy Awards of 2016.) Now, this is a prime opportunity for me to either jump on the bandwagon and demand  recognition or I could take the message that Mrs. Smith is saying here and apply it.  I’m slightly embarrassed to say that I’ve jumped on the bandwagon for the past few weeks, but it’s never too late to get jump back off and reroute.

When we are faced with the crossroads of wanting acknowledgement and being at peace with what we do have, there is a clear choice to make.  This quote pushes me to engage in an internal dialogue with myself:

  • “Why do I really need that acknowledgement?”
  • “Why do I need acknowledgement from that person/those people?”
  • “Will this acknowledgement make me do what I am doing any differently or better?”

Once I  answer these questions, I am able to target the root cause of my emotions.

More than that, it is so important for us to remember where our approval actually comes from: God has already approved of us, and He has made us a dignified people.  Is there any greater acknowledgement than that?


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Have you recently overcome needs for acknowledgement or approval? Share your story in the comments!



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Elana Cole is an author, educator, and coach who is passionate about helping others in their personal journeys towards a more beautiful life. She is the author of "The Midnight Experience" and creator of Empowered Narrative, a blog about transforming the way you live and love.

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