Blessed adj : consecrated, revered, endowed with divine favour
“I am so blessed”. The phrase that most irks me in every day life and drives me away from people faster than a fart in a confined space.
Be clear – this is not a rant about religion, merely the above phrase which happens to have it’s roots in religion and is usually spouted willy nilly by those who subscribe. My own religious views have no place in this particular discussion and do not influence this frustration.
Many people happily pronounce how blessed they are to anyone who will listen. I refer specifically to my own experience in the UK. At first thought this seems benign enough, and I fully appreciate that many say it from a good place, but….. has it ever crossed their minds that they are basically claiming that a divine, omnipotent being has decided that out of over 7 billion people on this planet, they are the special ones?
My gripe started as a child but with no tangible basis – it just irritated me and I didn’t like the tone with which it was usually delivered. As I got older and saw the types of people around me who were repeating this mantra, it irritated me further. From the age of 14 my own life threw up some real tricky times (through no fault of my own) and every time some numpty with a charmed life (through no achievement of their own) chanted the phrase, I felt a bit sick.
My tolerance left the building the day one of my oldest ‘friends’, fully aware of my hopeless diagnosis of chronic Lyme Disease, inability to work or play and, most seriously, the potential not to be able to have healthy children, said to me; “I am so blessed to now have my 3rd child and be so fit and healthy, living the dream”. Now you might say that I am being unfair, perhaps churlish even, or that it just wasn’t a very nice person but you see this person is just an extreme representative of a group of likeminded, self-important individuals protected by their constant reference to religion which precludes them from actually considering their words and actions in context. She could have simply replaced “I am so blessed” with, “I feel very lucky…” and suddenly all is forgiven, there’s no problem here.
The list is endless but the point is clear. What the hell did I do in a former life or as a babe-in-arms that warranted the level of persecution that the same omnipotent being (according to the beliefs of those that say it) has apparently chosen to accord me or anyone else who has had to face heavy struggles not of their own making? What makes you so special? What makes you believe you are so special? It’s even harder with so-called ‘friends’ whom you know are very, very far from perfect and, from birth, have been fortunate in extremis.
What’s wrong with something slightly humbler? “fortunate”? “lucky”? “happy”? With the use of any of those you are not claiming superiority – the fateful superstition of “unluckiness” is serendipitous, likewise “misfortune”, and happiness is merely a state resulting from good luck or good fortune. It is the overlooked concept of being chosen that is so wide of the mark – I can’t remember where it says in the bible; “Those whom I decide are far superior to anyone else will have a seriously easy time of it, won’t have to try or work hard or be genuinely decent or respect others…. no, for these guys it’ll all just fall in their laps. Coz I like ’em!”
If you are someone who uses this phrase with impunity, perhaps without considering what meanings lie within such a phrase depending on the circumstances, understand that, unless something incredibly rare and profound has happened to you (e.g. near death experience) and you are deeply religious, you just come across as incredibly smug to those who are suffering. In fact, you’re just rubbing it in.
NB. We are all lucky in the UK, I am not whinging just saying something that’s on my mind. I’m out the other side of my struggles, I believe, but even if my life is rosy I will be quietly grateful and not feel the need to compound others’ current misery by proclaiming how special I am that I am apparently a chosen one. Because I believe we are all equal and what comes to us is life, not gifts for the favourites. If I’m wrong then I’m not sure heaven would be a place I’d like to reside – I never was a good devious sycophant.
P.S. It is of course good to count your blessings….. but perhaps call them “all the good things in my life” or “all the positives” or maybe, just sometimes, keep it to yourself?!