The human heart was—and remains—a mystery to me. But I’m learning. I have to. —Anthony Bourdain

How we deal with privilege (or lack of it)

Lately I’ve been thinking about privilege. Privilege, from my understanding, is an advantage you’ve been given, one that is not afforded by a lot of the population. There are a lot out there, mostly given through birth and/or timing. A friend jokes about this a lot with another, when there is talk of politics, especially in the US. Race is a privilege we can only be birthed into, the rest, I do think we can acquire.

Wealth and beauty are privileges that some people come into naturally, and the ones that can be most fleeting. Age can wreak havoc on one’s appearance, and wealth can easily be spent away if the person who gets it doesn’t know how to keep it or does nothing to grow it. But what happens when because of your privilege, you don’t have the coping mechanisms to deal with the problems for when these go away?

I’m not saying we should feel bad about the rich, beautiful people who might lose their privilege someday, but maybe we should be happy about what we acquire when we don’t have it. Being average looking will force you to develop a personality (whether a good or bad one is up to you). Not having wealth will make you work harder, or do more things to acquire the wealth, and make you all the more determined to sustain it.

So let’s think about this a bit. Not having privilege still gives you an advantage of developing more than what you were born with, and it will probably make you more conscious about what it takes to get there, and have to develop skills and mechanisms to make sure it doesn’t go away. And I think that’s still a good thing to have.

Sure it’ll be easier and albeit so fun to be beautiful, or be born wealthy, and the like, but the cards we’ve been dealt are different, and what we learn to make up for not being evolutionary advantaged may be much more in the end.

What do you think of privilege?

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