Tenet 6. We are each unique and innately worthy of respect.
From every human being that has ever lived and ever will ever live, there is only one you! As your body formed in the womb, your design—your physical, material identity—was mapped out in each new cell that emerged as part of your tiny body. It has only been in the last 100 years that we have understood what it is that holds the blueprints to our material essence—DNA. Curled up in the nucleus of each of our cells, is a double-helix strand made of three billion base pairs that form 23 pairs of chromosomes. That strand holds within it all the details that make each of us look like ourselves. Passed on through our genome are whispers of those who came before us—the forbears whose stories set the stage for our own entrance at a particular time and place into this world. And newly generated in that genome are features that are distinct and unique to each person now living.
As the modern dancer and choreographer Martha Graham once said, “There is a vitality, a life force, an energy, a quickening that is translated through you into action, and because there is only one of you in all of time, this expression is unique. And if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium and it will be lost. The world will not have it.”
Truly, each of one of us has worth and value, irrespective of our ethnicity, nationality, language, race, sex, size, health, age and so forth. We are each important irrespective of our pains, heartaches, failures or mistakes. Our individual worth is not contingent on external factors, rather, we are inherently and naturally worthy of safety, goodness, and respect.
This understanding, however, is being greatly challenged throughout a society that has become increasingly abusive and commodifying. Commodification is the idea that people are worthwhile so long as they serve an instrumental purpose deemed worthy by some arbitrary external source. For example, a woman is only beautiful if she meets certain arbitrary societal expectations related to beauty. Not only is this untrue, this is a dangerous and dark place to be as a society because it posits people as only having worth insofar as it benefits someone or something. This often leads to the idea that people are like things that can be bought, sold, traded, or enslaved for financial gain or power. This directly works against what it means to be human and humane.
As this commodifying culture becomes more pervasive, our cottages will have the opportunity to be a light, and shine against the contrasting darkness. This is perhaps one of the greatest messages we will share with others, that they are special and deserving of love, safety, and community. As we share this message, we will attract those who wish to join with us who likewise seek to acknowledge the infinite worth of souls, and the irreplaceability of individuals.
Women and men who understand their internal worth will build relationships with one another highlighting this truth. Inequalities and personal differences can then be addressed in harmonious and positive ways. As we seek to internalize and then share this tenet with the world, we will heal much suffering.
Look at each woman in your group and allow someone or several people to say something about this woman that discloses her unique and personal gifts. Take turns. If possible, write down the messages shared. Share them with us! We want to get to know the special women in your group! You are each valuable beyond measure!
- What is something that she is good at?
- How is she making her community a better place?
- Why is she one of a kind?
- What is something that you admire about her?
- What difficulty has she had to overcome in her life that makes her a hero?
- If you could wish one good thing for her, what would it be?
- In what ways can you support and encourage her everyday?
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