Thursday, November 28, 2013

Gratitude as the antidote to what ails us

On this day dedicated to thanksgiving, I'd like to resurrect something written a few years ago by Nezua at The Unapologetic Mexican. The entire post doesn't seem to be available online anymore, so we'll have to make due with some excerpts I've used before.

To summarize, Nezua was looking for the common roots of the various "isms" the divide us.
I prefer not to dally too long dissecting the symptoms of manifested underlying ills, but prefer to look directly at those broad reaching paradigms or beliefs that inform them...Because if we all are truly interested in forming an ongoing conversation that cuts away the the husk of empty discourse and scoops out the Essential, we have to look not only at the symptoms of hate, violence, authoritarian rule, and oppression, but at the seeds that inform them and keep them entrenched, as well as socially acceptable. These vines are by now thorny and tangled and hearty, but the seeds were planted long ago, and the nourishment is delivered by all of us, and every day.
He finds those roots here:
... it seems to me that entitlement is key to nearly all atrocities, and that any threat to perceived entitlement will provoke hatred.
Entitlement is simply another way of talking about white male heterosexual privilege...those with the privilege are entitled to their central focus in our culture while the experience and perceptions of "others" are simply dismissed.

And so, what is the antidote? Gratitude.
And after all, what happens when we remove that sense of entitlement?

We grow humility.

What happens when you nurture a sense of humility in place of entitlement? You place your feet on the same ground as I...Entitlement is the antithesis of gratitude. And honestly, you are one lucky human.
Those of us with privilege often struggle with what to do with it. One response that doesn't do much to change things is that we feel guilty. It seems counter-intuitive to feel gratitude. But as Nezua points out - authentic gratitude is the opposite of entitlement. Recognizing that we have something we didn't earn strips away the assumption that we are entitled to it and opens the door for humility...and gratitude.

And honestly, I'm one lucky human.


  1. All manner of truisms here. Now for the formula for helping the poor souls afflicted with this sad state of entitlement to recovery. Has anyone figured out that part yet?

    1. This was written with another old truism in mind...physician, heal thyself. IOW - I very desperately needed the reminder ;-)

    2. I've never seen any evidence of privilege coming from you, but I get the need for being reminded to feel gratitude for even the simplest of things in our lives. We are all very fortunate.

  2. Hi, SP! Sharing Dudette's TG message with you because it mostly says what I want to say. I'll add,
    "May the year ahead unfold for you a path rich in direction and with productive choices. Blessings!"

  3. SP You are definitely one of my "gratitudes"! You came into my life clearly humble and without "entitlement"! Thank you for your authenticity! Your generosity! Your elegance!

  4. Thank you so much, SP! I'm so grateful that you have created such a beautiful place to come, too. I learned so much from you. Have a Happy Thanksgiving!

  5. Great post.

    As long as humility prevents the feeling of gratitude from giving those who have it a sense of superiority to those who don't, this is a great idea.

    If you were offended by my comment, PLEASE let me know why.