You may abandon your own body, but you must preserve your honour. – Miyamoto Musashi

You may abandon your own body, but you must preserve your honour.

Miyamoto Musashi

The biggest favor a human being can do to themselves is to stand up for themselves, even when no one else does. It might sound easy, but it is one of the hardest arts to master.

In a time and age when our actions are motivated by our interests and not our dignity, self-respect doesn’t stand very high in our priority list. However, as hard as it might sound to some people, people who respect themselves are more likely to command respect from others than someone with a propensity to bow down to everything that is asked of them. The more we love ourselves, the more love we can expect out of others. This isn’t the same as being narcissistic or too vain. One must be aware of their shortcomings, and yet be able to love themselves while working on those drawbacks. Remember, no one is perfect. If we put off our dignity until we attain that elusive perfection, then we probably never will get the acceptance or respect we are worthy of.

And it isn’t like the concept of self-respect is a new one. Ancient warriors referred to this as honor. We have all heard the tales and legends of brave men choosing to embrace death instead of giving in to the demands of their adversaries. Even defeat couldn’t shake their iron will, and they would often commit harakiri than lose face. They weren’t conceited warriors, for they constantly sought to work on their deficiencies. However, they certainly valued pride above everything else.

Miyamoto Musashi, also known by his Buddhist name, Niten Doraku, was a Japanese swordsman, philosopher, writer and strategist. A staunch proponent of upholding one’s dignity at all costs, Musashi once wrote: “You may abandon your own body, but you must preserve your honour.”