Each and every precious soul has equal value and great worth in the eyes of God. If you prefer a more secular example, the United Nations has a Universal Declaration of Human Rights that states in Article 1, “All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.” This is a concept we may all understand, but the world is filled with noise and distractions that make this easy to forget. When we can look in the mirror and see every flaw, or even close our eyes and still remember so many past mistakes, it can be difficult to remember what is great about us and how much value we really have.

In many ways life is a game of chance. Poker seems to especially reflect the relationship between control and chaos we face throughout our lives. We have absolutely no control over the hand we’re dealt, as much as we would love to have a royal flush going into every game, it seldom works this way for anyone. Sometimes we get lucky but often we’re trying to do our best with very little to work with. One exciting aspect of poker is how someone with nothing but trash cards can bluff their way to victory over someone that is holding a full house. This is because players can’t see each other’s cards and so they must respect each other as if they are holding something dangerous. If your opponent doesn’t know the value of your cards then it makes them hesitant to raise their bet, and when the moment of truth arrives without any clear way to discern what you’re holding they will ultimately be forced to fold.

Just as one poker player can’t tell what tactics are being considered by another, no one else can tell you what your value is. You are not the cards in this example, you are the player holding them. The cards are your circumstance in life, be it great or unfortunate, and some of us will often have to bluff our way to victory but that reflects on the talent of the player or the value of the individual person. As you read the words that I’ve written here I have absolutely no idea what cards you’re holding. I don’t know what your voice sounds like, how tall you are, or even if you are an incel. Maybe you don’t know how to define yourself, perhaps you are a concerned relative trying to understand this topic, or possibly even someone from the future that wasn’t born when these words were written. I don’t know anything about you, and I must speak to you with a generalized respect and dignity that I would apply to anyone.

It is important that we don’t let the opinions of others define who we are. That endowed worth comes from within and should never be diminished by the critical views and harsh judgements of others. The irony is that when someone insults you and tries to claim that you hold little value, they are applying a subjective viewpoint to themselves and implying that if the cards were dealt differently then they might not have any respect for themselves either. The value of human life and dignity does not change, a newborn baby has a precious quality that can’t be chipped away by finding his or her own way in the world. As we all grow older our experience helps to guide us and it becomes easier to see that what felt like personal battles end up being common struggles that we share with so many others like us.

In the end our bodies all return to dust and it seems ridiculous to have anyone make the claim that their dust will end up being better than your dust. While we’re living, we can make sure we always know how to play the game so that we’re able to handle our situation each time the cards are dealt. If we’re wise, we’ll know that our fellow players might always be holding something serious and we should be given that same respect. Hold yourself in great esteem and know that it would be foolish for your opponents to see you any other way. If you have an appreciation for my initial religious perspective at the start, my personal viewpoint is that God will always judge us all by the same standard in the end.

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