I'm all for gratitude. Taking stock and saying 'thanks' for what you already have is pretty key to contentment. It's right up there with having low expectations (that way, you're more likely to be pleasantly surprised).
But there's a trend in the #gratitude movement that really, really bothers me. And it's probably all over an Instagram feed near you.
It's saying you're #blessed, or its more obnoxious big sister #soblessed.
Sure, at first glance, 'blessed' seems like a wholesome little nod to a life that's been filled with good fortune (and if Jessica Alba and all the #blessed Victoria's Secret Angels have had more than their fill of anything, it's good fortune). But dig a little deeper and you come up with a problem.
You see, 'blessed' means something different from say 'lucky' or 'privileged'. There's a spiritual dimension to 'blessed'. Saying you're 'blessed' implies that the hand of the lord reached down from the heavens and tapped you for good things. 'Blessed' implies there's a reason why your life has been good. And it's not talent. It's not looks. It's not something you've done. Just some divine seal of approval.
The flip side to being blessed is that those who aren't #blessed, those who are struggling are what... undeserving? Cursed?
If you say you're "lucky", you're acknowledging a truth about the world. That it's sometimes unfair, but in this instance, you won.
What really bothers me about 'blessed' is the women who use the word aren't super religious. They're not mega-church goers who believe that wealth on earth is a sign from god that they have been handed the keys to the kingdom of heaven (and if they are, they're not quite so vocal about that belief).
No, they're just thinking about what they have without pausing to think about what others lack. They're also not willing to own their looks and talent. Isn't it refreshing when someone successful explains that they got what they have because they're good at what they do? And that they had great timing? Or the luck to be born to a family that's supportive in a country that's stable?
Because that's not what 'blessed' says. Blessed creates a false sense of justice in the minds of those who have benefitted from injustice.
Unless you really, truly believe that all you have is a gift from god - and if you do, all power to you, I envy your faith - then hush with the quasi-spiritual language.
If your triumph is down to talent, own it. Say you won because you're good.
And say you're lucky, often. The chances are, if you're reading this, you've had a lot of lucky breaks.
Take stock of what you have. But then reflect that there are others who haven't been so fortunate. Realise that just because someone is worthy - and let's face it, most of us are - it doesn't mean their life will be blessed.
This post originally appeared on TheGlow.com.au