The World Around Us

His Dignity and My Humbleness

Country: Mozambique by Lisette


The other day I was sitting at a local pastry shop enjoying a delicious moist cake when I got a lesson in dignity and self-respect. When I looked up at one point, I saw a man who was perhaps in his forties enter the same pastry shop.

The first thing I noticed about him was that he looked significantly poorer than the rest of us having a drink or a snack. He was unshaven, wore shabby clothes and his shoes had more holes than leather. The second thing I noticed was his steady, sure walk and straight back.

His poise caught my eye. This man walked to his table on the patio as if he was dressed like everyone else. He ordered a meal and ate it calmly, enjoying every bite of it. He chose to ignore stares from other patrons of this pastry shop. The self-respect he showed was as if he was a giant.

I suddenly realized I was wondering what his job was. How he survived and whether he was able to support his family. Was his family alive and healthy, did he have friends? I knew nothing about him, but I felt he was showing me inner strength. He was proud to be at that table and order a meal, like any other person that sat there.

His inner strength and self-respect kept me thinking. We people are versatile in finding ways to put each other down. Because we see something different about someone we don’t necessarily recognize or because we are afraid we might become that person. The dignity this man was wearing like it was his jacket showed me compassion and how we should embrace emotions and attitudes as we walk through life.

You think it is easy to show compassion. I find it difficult at times. Is that because I am a tough person or am I hardening myself to life’s realities? I suspect I am a little stuck and too comfortable in my own shoes. Forgetting people have a reason why they do and act the way they do. It’s time to take a hard look at myself and find my inner strength by embracing compassion.

I was and am humbled by this wonderful man who showed me a new world.