I recently heard the comment, “I was raised privileged.” The intonation behind this statement was not one of feeling good, rather it was filled with a sense of guilt.
This caused me to consider how difficult it can be to work your way up to the top or to be successful professionally and/or financially; only to have others try to tear you down because they don’t like that you are privileged. The ability to feel proud of accomplishments, advancements, and achievements that perhaps others may not have attained can be stripped from us through the influence of others.
If we consider someone to be privileged, then are we saying in some way, there is something wrong with where we are or where they are in life? There can be the feeling that those who are privileged are “better” than us and it is not fair.
Consider opportunity as the twin of privilege; whereby, when we work smart, put effort and energy into our passions and reach levels of success that society considers above and beyond the average, we have taken advantage of an opportunity. Would this not be a reason to celebrate and take the time to encourage others to do the same?
The key is, how to train others and ourselves to think differently. To recognize when we are judging and perhaps skewing our view of others based on a concept that man has created to label a behavior, action or end result.
Just as a knife can be used by a doctor to save a life or by a criminal to commit a crime; it is still a knife. So, whether we call it a privilege or an opportunity, in the end, it is success. It is all in how we see it in our view of ourselves and the world.
According to Webster Dictionary, the definition of privilege is a right or immunity granted as a peculiar benefit, advantage or favor. The definition of opportunity is a favorable juncture of circumstances.
For me, both privilege and opportunity are the same things. However, we have given each a meaning that can be deciphered as either negatively or positively.
Do you feel privileged? If so, do you view how your life has evolved and that it is okay to have more than others, to have experienced a full life? If not, what good would it do you if you had held yourself back only to please the societal thinking that being privileged is a bad thing?
Everyone has the ability to tap into the infinite doorways of opportunity life has to offer. We can strive to reach goals, set our sights on dreams and aspirations and take the proper steps to get to where we want to be. The challenge is dealing with those along the way and once we reach our destination who criticize, admonish or demean us because of what we have accomplished.
How can we overcome our dichotomy of the constant stream of information and encouragement to be successful, yet when we have it, we are not able to enjoy the benefits? Or, we must face each day fending off those who are jealous, angry or dissatisfied with their own lives taking it out on those who have more.
Sometimes we may prevent ourselves from reaching the best version of ourselves because we have been taught that having more than others is not good. Yet, aren’t we always given opportunities? There are guideposts along our path in life showing us what can help us to see opportunity when it is knocking on our door.
Fears of what others may think, and feeling guilty about the success attained only creates resistance for you and keeps others from reaching their own potential.
In relationships, if someone says it is a privilege to meet you; this is their way of giving you a compliment. Sometimes, you may hear the comment that they are glad to have had the opportunity to work with you or to meet you. In this case, privilege and opportunity mean the same.
In the world of communication and consciousness, we can twist and turn the meaning of words, which has a huge impact on how we view ourselves, our situation and our interactions with others.
Whether you are privileged or have taken the road of opportunity, be sure to appreciate and give gratitude for all you have; and inspire others along the way to realize they too can be, have and attain all that is available to us today and into the future.