Merging Privilege with Purpose: Redefining the implications of Privilege

If you’re reading this from a position of privilege (any kind of privilege), I’d like to take a moment to empower you. Ready?

You control the implications of your privilege.  

 

You have the choice to decide what your privilege will say about you.

You can allow your privilege to trigger shame and embarrassment from personal history and experience.

OR

You can bridle your privilege as an engine of hope, connection, and inspiration.

You can allow your privilege to isolate you by building a wall or pedestal of advantage. 

OR

You can use your privilege to unify and equalize the playing field.

You can allow your privilege to enable disengagement and disinterest in community struggle.

OR

You can equip your privilege as a tool for funding and enacting real world solutions.

The choice is yours. 

To live unapologetically from a place of abundance is to examine the discomfort of it. We must be willing to look at our privilege and investigate impulses of shame, guilt and pleasure. 

Because it is deeply personal and constantly evolving, we must make a regular practice of interrogating our privilege until it is disarmed or we can be with the tensions it can present. 

In doing so, we reclaim and step into our responsibility and empowerment as we lift the ceiling of guilt and fear from over our heads.

With that ceiling lifted, the sky becomes our only limit. We can run where we once only stumbled. 

We can engender a deeper sense of local and global community that spreads like wildfire. 

We can stimulate hope where despair had once taken ground. We can confidently invest in the people and values we believe in.

We all have some form of privilege, shameful and joyful, and we must seek to understand and take responsibility for it. 

It is not by diminishing ourselves that we absolve ourselves of the guilt of abundance. We must not allow that ceiling to shrink our effectiveness. 

As Marianne Williamson once said, “Your playing small does not serve the world.” Rather, it is by owning and utilizing our abundance that our guilt is replaced with compassion, our isolation with community, our paralysis with action, and our fear with joy.

Here’s the catch: Choice is really just another word for responsibility. 

That means the responsibility is also yours. 

 

So, how will you take responsibility for your privilege?

Here are some suggestions:

1 – Seek out your blind spots.  

What issues do your privileges leave you ignorant to?

 

2 – Examine your investments. 

Do they align with your values? 

 

3 – Investigate access to opportunity. 

Where is potential being under-resourced due to socially imposed demographic inequalities?· 

 

4 – Champion those you believe in who have less access.

Open doors for them. Open networks for them. Share your platform with them.

 

5 – Trust your instincts. 

Give where your empathy, compassion, and intelligence lead you.

 

6 – Tell personal stories. 

Let authenticity establish your connections.

 

7 – Listen.

Step back. Listen with care and with love. Don’t center yourself in the conversation.

 

It’s up to you to make the choice. 

Unexamined, privilege can paralyze.  But bridled and utilized, it can change the world.