16 Little Privileges You Probably Don't Realize You Take For Granted
We're a privileged bunch. How do I know? Well, you're reading this. Which means you know how to read. You also have a computer. You also have internet connection. I wrote it, which means I have all of those things too. That makes us, you and me, more privileged than over half the world.
It's not about putting ourselves on a guilt trip. The purpose of recognizing how fortunate we are to have the things we accept as tenants of the everyday life we perceive everybody having a right to is an exercise in mindfulness, today-ness, grounded-ness, peace. The only problem with recognizing our own fortune is that it is all too easy to overlook, because those who don't have nearly as much of it aren't even in the periphery; it takes effort to look beyond our own experience and acknowledge someone else's.
This list is preliminary, to say the least. But if you took the time to meditate more and more on all the things you do and eat and wear and think and get frustrated with everyday — you'll realize that you're very fortunate to have those worries in the first place. Here, a few little things you're taking for granted, which will hopefully incite you to recognize all the other things, too.
Being Able To Choose Your Relationships
Once upon a not-so-long-ago, your most intimate relationships were essentially chosen for you. Or, maybe more significantly now, you were limited to the very tiny pool of the people you knew in the neighborhood, at school or with whom your parents essentially wanted to trade possessions. Now you can virtually scour the entire world to find your soul mate — and you get to decide.
Feeling Uncertainty And Discomfort
It means you're in a place in your life where you actually have the ability to evaluate what could be better and then how you could change it. If you were so consumed by survival and your essential needs, you wouldn't worry about uncertainty or discomfort. You'd act. The sheer presence of these things in your life means you're more capable than you're giving yourself credit for.
Having Internet Access
Over half of the world still doesn't.
Having Lost Someone You Loved
Do I even have to explain this one? It means you loved someone enough to lose them, to miss them and mourn them and feel like some part of your life is missing. Too many people go through their whole existence surfing, searching, praying and begging for a love like that. You already had it. Nothing lasts forever. Everyone's relationships end eventually (death will do you part one day). The question is whether or not you had them in the first place.
Knowing Where Your Next Meal Is Coming From
If in the past month you haven't worried about this, you're privileged in comparison to more people in the world than you could probably comprehend.
The Ability To Read This
Of the simple things we glaze over and take for granted, perhaps reading is the top contender. We're all so consumed on what we read and how much we agree with it and who is sharing it and how we're seeing it and whether or not we're entertained, that we forget we weren't born with the ability to communicate in this way, and not everybody gets the privilege of learning how.
A Job — Even One You Dislike
You're in a better position than the people who can't find them at all.
A Family Who Cares About You
Having a family who you love and who cares about you puts you in a shockingly small percentage of the population. Everybody has a family, not everybody has one they actually want to be in. Never take that for granted. People go years trying to seek the parental love they never got in just about anything else. Say "thank you" if that's not your story.
One Good Friend
People claim to want cliques of friends that host dinner parties and pepper their conversations with pop culture references, and while that's fun and blearily ideal, it's not real intimacy. Most people just want one (maybe two?) people who they can call at any hour, for anything. With whom they spend days with and never feel burdened or like they are "entertaining". Friends that are family. They're rare. If you were truly grateful that you have the one you do, you wouldn't be searching for more.
Enough Money To Pay Your Bills This Month
If you didn't or will not have to absolutely panic and work twice overtime to pay your most essential bills this month, you have it easier than you understand.
The Guts To Stand Up For Yourself
Most people go their whole lives being walked on only because they don't realize there's another way, another option: that they are worth being defended.
The Belief That You're Worth It
Self-worth is a rare little gem of a thing. A thing we are all seeking in some abstract way, and so few people seem to actually grasp. Even in shards and little moments, if you have glimmering instances in which you truly feel compelled by your dignity, savor them. Delight in them. Let them guide and motivate you and draw out the very best you have to offer. Some people go lifetimes without any such moment of light.
A Basic Education
It doesn't just equate to a job that = your livelihood, your ability to eat and pay for something to sleep on each night and wear on your back in the morning. It's your ability to express. To create something that will actualize a part of your soul. It's the mind-training to be able to evaluate who and how you are. It's so often accepted as par for the course that it's not regarded as the privilege that it is.
Clothes That Serve Function, Not Style
We get so caught up in how we look and what that look says about us that we forget what clothes were made for: to keep us warm. Or cool. Or protected from the ground or the elements or whatever we have to face that day. If you learn to appreciate what things do instead of how they make you look, you tap into the ultimate sense of gratitude.
Having Made Mistakes
If you believe yourself to have made mistakes, it means you weren't the person you were when you made them. You grew, you've changed.
The Ability To Choose Otherwise
Nobody is bound to the life they don't want. The trick, the gap that stands between the people who are self-pitying and negative sad and the ones that are radically opening to their potential, is the belief of who has control. It's you, and it's always you. It just depends on what you believe to be true.