No relationship is perfect. And after reading the headline you're probably wondering, "How the hell can I possibly harm my dignity? Every relationship has its ups and downs. I might be going through a rough phase. But, why should it be hurting my self-respect? And wouldn't I know if it were?" Well, chances are, you won't know.
Everyone wants to be treated well. A yearning for honour and respect is the reason why all social interactions, be it professional or personal, work. So naturally, it affects our relationship all the more critically. We cannot be in one if the one we desire doesn't respect us enough. Neither can we make it work if we too forget to respect ourselves, blinded by the need and severe want of love and approval.
We've been fed with way too many lies on relationships and love. And not just the idea of it but even with ways to go about one.
The romantics have truly spoiled the 'game' for us. From movies, songs and books to almost everything people have to say about love, it's almost always about "how my love changed my life and me!" Sacrifice, compromise, acceptance, and commitment have formed the very base and soul of a 'good' relationship.
Here's where all the problem lies. When we are unable to live up to an 'ideal' relationship, something that we've always imagined, heard from the lovers or love, we try extremely hard to get things 'right'.
Think about it for a second, how many times have you set aside your dignity to chase someone who wouldn't return your phone calls, reply to your texts or meet you? How many times have you gone against the grain just to keep your relationship going 'peacefully', to avoid fighting? How many times have you felt suffocated because your mind is asking you to give up but you simply can't? I'm sure I'm not the only one who's felt this way.
The fact remains, a complicated relationship is a troubled one, and it only leads to one thing: Misery!
To make things worse, instead of finding a recourse, we tend to start disrespecting our relationship, sometimes, ourselves. We try to take the disappointment, the pain away by drowning ourselves in alcohol for momentary high or rather escape, let the cigarette smoke blur the reality that's in front of us , try to find happiness and love everywhere but do not once look within, for an effective solution.
Our relationship is, as it is complicated, and we mess it up further. To what end? We hurt the person we are with and ourselves. And it's only us who'll end up losing a lot and gaining a little. What we gain is fleeting, what we lose is forever.
And this is where we most often unknowingly compromise our dignity.
First we expect things from our partner, disappointed, we start looking for validation outside. We start to plan our activities around them, either to make them notice us or to hurt them in some way or another. We start to accommodate their idiosyncrasies, often say things we regret and become a person we wouldn't want to hang out with, be with. We not only cheat ourselves and hurt our dignities, but also our partner's dignity. We add more wrong to an already wronged situation. There's nothing right about that.
Practices that make us subservient of our partner are unacceptable.
But where there's trouble, there is always a fix; which lies not in compromising with ourselves and what we truly stand for, but by communicating.
Effective communication is critical. But it shouldn't surface only during times of turmoil. We have to draw a line from the very beginning. A line between "this is who I am and will always be" and "I listen to and share my life with you because I love you and want to, not because I have to and need to."
With that said, dignity should be the last thing to sacrifice for love.
It not only leaves us in distress. We must decide for ourselves, keeping in mind our views on life and us. At no cost should we erode our inner selves, our true identities for the one we love.
If we keep our dignities intact, at no point are we going to regret the choices we make.
Because we would have been true to ourselves. We mustn't run away from the world that defines us for the one we love. They're only a small yet siginficant part of us, they're not us. If this feels difficult to deal with, we can always find inspiration in the people around us. The ones who we see never compromising on themselves. It always helps!