It’s not easy being told that you’re privileged, especially when you don’t feel like you are. You might struggle mentally, financially, or somebody else is and you have to take care of them. Whatever it might be, life is tough more often than not. The term ‘privilege’ is becoming a derogatory term more and more, but it’s not a term that is there to scold people. Let’s talk about how your privilege can help you take better care of yourself and others.
Realizing you do have privileges is the first step to be happier
Especially at Uni and on Twitter, I’m hearing a lot about ‚white privilege‘, ‚male privilege‘ etc. But what does that even mean? And how can that help anybody with anything except feeling guilty for supposed privilege you don’t feel you have?
Here’s the thing: in our this modern context, privilege is about things you don’t have to worry about.
If you’re part of a certain ethnic group, you might have to worry about what kind of car you buy, so you won’t get pulled over all the time. If you’re male, you might not feel the stigma of wanting a career instead of children. If you’re gender is binary, you might not feel the same anxiety as a non-binary person or a woman might feel when leaving the house alone at night. Those are all parts of the privileges many of us enjoy int the sense that we don’T have to think about these things. You might agree or disagree about what such privileges look like in different contexts (and I’d be happy to read your comments).
What we can’t deny however, is that most of us enjoy a very different kind of privilege we can be thankful for every day.
We have so many freedoms we take for granted. I’m very fortunate to have a family in which almost all members are healthy, able-bodied and working. I’ve never had to fear for or think much about money (until I moved out of my parents‘ house) and I was able to choose to go to uni and learn more about one of my greatest passions: literature. I will have no student loan debts because in Germany, university and college is basically for free. I didn’t have to choose between college and helping my family, either. But the relatively easy access to information (via internet or books) and opportunity is only part of the privilege we enjoy on a daily basis without thinking much about it.
Many of the people (and animals!) around the world have nowhere to live or sleep. They have to face questions most of us will never have to find an answer for: how am I going to feed my children? Will my house be there tomorrow morning? Who else will take care of my loved ones if something happens to me? Am I going to get my medication or are my family members going to eat?
On so many places on Earth, wars are waged as you read his. There is hunger and droughts and suffering. I know that all us struggle sometimes. But throughout most of our lives, we’re relatively safe, and don’t have to worry about the bare necessities.
That is not to say that you problems and struggles aren’t as valid.
It just means that we do have some privileges, or things we never have to worry about. More often than not, we’re forgetting about those small sweet spots we’re in. I’m writing this post not to pull you down with the burdens of the world. I’m writing it so that we can all take a minute and just appreciate in what kind of sweet spot we’re currently in without knowing it. Let’s not forget that life is hard, yes, but we’re blessed enough to have the time to actually think about these things.
I want to hear from you! What happened to you this year that you are thankful for? What is something that you know you never have to think about that you’re thankful for?
For me, among other things, it’s that I was able to realize how I wasn’t appreciating myself enough and now I can change that.