Why I am not #blessed

Thursday, April 6, 2017

It seems that in the busyness and the instant-ness of social media it is easy to jump in and cheerfully and thoughtlessly post memes or hashtags along with everyone else without giving them much thought.

I'm guilty of this.

Just recently I saw a short video on Facebook and laughed. It was really cute. Until I read a comment about it that brought me up short. No, it really wasn't funny, after I took a moment to think about the implications.

But I had joined in with the thousands of other "likes" before thinking.

And have you ever posted a special picture with #blessed attached to it? It seems a happy thing to do -- a sharing of your blessings with friends. An acknowledgement, even, that it's a gift from a real Gift Giver.

Everybody, it seems, loves to use this hashtag.


But if you stop to think about it, saying "I'm blessed" can be an insulting, and not altogether true, statement.

What?! Well, bear with me.

"How are you?" one friend asks another.

"Oh, I'm blessed. My son just got a full-ride scholarship to XYZ University."

Or, "We just got back from a wonderful cruise. We're so blessed."

Or, "The lab results came back and everything's normal. I'm #blessed!"

How about just saying, "I'm so thankful," or, "I'm so grateful."

When you say you are #blessed, it subtly implies that your friend, who isn't experiencing the same "blessing" as you, isn't really blessed.

Yes, your kid has a full ride to a prestigious university, but does that mean that your friend whose child is struggling to pay his or her way through community college is not #blessed?

That the friend who can't afford a cruise, and is hoping for a few days at the lake this summer, is not blessed?

That the Lord has forgotten the friend whose lab results are a concern? That, somehow, she is less worthy of a blessing?

There are blessings in every circumstance, and reasons to be grateful in every situation. To imply that the Lord is with you in a special way just because things went your way reduces Him to a gumball machine in the sky -- a god who hands out #blessings to a privileged few and ignores the rest.

A picture of a new baby with the hashtag "blessed"? Of course, babies are wonderful blessings. Just about the best. But what about the woman who is struggling with infertility? Is she to see herself as unblessed?

To say "I'm thankful," to me, implies a humility and gratefulness that #blessed doesn't. #Blessed, to me, has a touch of pride about it.

Of course, there are promises in the Bible about receiving blessings. Sometimes these are material things. But oftentimes they're not. They are things like patience and joy and love and long-suffering. Which don't always make catchy Instagram-worthy posts. (Nor should they, when you come to think of it -- "hey, I'm more patient than I was last year! #blessed." Ugh.) 

What do you think? Do you agree, or am I just being cranky? 

*****

p.s. Actually, Google says I'm spot on. I just looked up #blessed and discovered that many, many people are fed up with this hashtag. There was the article on "Why #blessed is the most annoying hashtag on Instagram." And why "#blessed is the new brag." The New York Times even said it was the "go-to term for people who want to boast about an accomplishment while pretending to be humble." 

And I thought I was being original in my dislike of it. 

36 comments :

  1. I agree with you. It is such a commonplace term that I believe it is just an automatic statement and most people aren't giving very much thought to what they may be implying as they use the phrase. I imagine they are just carried away by their happiness or relief in the moment. I have always thought grateful or thankful would be better. It always seemed like people would, at some point, if taking pause for thought, realize how the words may sound to someone who is struggling and may not be so "blessed" at the moment, but it's so ingrained in our language now I suppose that change is not going to happen. We may all be #blessed if it would change.

    I thought I was possibly the only person that thought this way, so had never mentioned my feelings about this to anyone but my husband.

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  2. Oh Boy do I ever AGREE!!!
    I know someone who gives this as a standard/pat answer when asked how she is doing... "Oh I'm BLESSED!" And YOU, My Friend have finally hit the nail on the head of why for so many years this has always bothered me but I could never exactly put my finger on it. I always felt like it was somehow arrogant and that it does, in fact, imply that the person who says this is probably just slightly more "blessed" than the rest of us. I think it can be rather inconsiderate quite honestly.
    Good for you for bringing it out into the open.
    Thank You.
    Love,
    Danette

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  3. I am soooo out of the loop on this one. I never even knew there was such a thing as #blessed. I simply go to bed every night and express my gratitude to the Good Lord for everything that went right today and everything he has given me over my lifetime, none of which I really deserve. Gratitude is an essential ingredient to a happy life and expressing it to the one responsible for those things for which you are grateful is what counts. Telling the world you are "blessed" via hashtags has nothing to do with gratitude and everything to do with boasting.

    You're not being cranky, Deborah. You are being insightful.

    Cheers, M-T

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  4. I've not seen this hashtag come up, but I must admit I don't actually get what hashtags are for. You have a very good point. Thank you for sharing it.

    Laura of Harvest Lane Cottage
    ...from Stephanie's blog

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  5. i use always for others instead of me ,i use for myself i am so grateful and it come out of me effortlessly .
    great piece of witting friend and you are blessed with talent to display your opinion so pleasantly!
    i am grateful that was able to learn something positive

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  6. I don't understand the whole hashtag thing either! I suppose you have to have a Twitter account? Talking about how blessed you are can be taken wrong, for sure, but I think people mean it in a positive way. So many people focus on the negative aspects of their lives, always complaining and whining, so focusing on being 'blessed' is refreshing to me - that is how I take it. I think that pointing out that your child has been accepted into a prestigious college, or that you are going on a fabulous vacation might be considered bragging, though. There's a fine line between being 'blessed' and being a braggart. Certainly a baby is a blessing, no matter what, and recovery from a serious illness would be a blessing, too, but talking about your new boat or trip to Venice might not be polite to proclaim it is a 'blessing from God', even if you truly think it is. But you never really know what that person has gone through to get what they consider a 'blessing', so it is hard to know. xx Karen

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  7. Ooh...blessed is the new brag. That pretty much says it all, doesn't it? Good post, Deborah.

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  8. Your are SPOT ON!!! And, you expressed it in the absolute BEST way. I'm sure most of the folks that use the word "blessed" do so with a good heart, but we just need to stop and think about the implications of things, especially with social media. Again, SPOT ON!!!!

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  9. Right on. And I don't like "be blessed" either. Sometimes we are far too casual when talking about spiritual things. And we deserve nothing, ---it's all God's grace bestowed upon us. Nothing to be cocky about. Thanks for a thoughtful post.

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  10. You are sooooo right, Deborah!!! Another thing that really, really bugs me is the whole hashtag thing. If I see the, I quit reading because it's just sensory overload for me. Thank you for bringing this "blessed" notion up...it was perfect. We need to remember what others might be going through. xxoo

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  11. You are so right about this. Some people don't think about others. Thank you for pointing out how we should just be so ever thankful.

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  12. I must be in the dark because I have never seen it used as a bragging feature. I think it is indeed inappropriate to use for material things (trips, scholarships, new house)etc. But, I think in the state of health it is perfectly fine. I am a stroke survivor and I often say I am blessed because I survived! Or, where I live people say "have a blessed day" because they are bestowing blessings on you. JMHO

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  13. And I have to agree with you. I try to avoid that phrase at all costs. I too prefer to use the term 'grateful'.

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  14. Although you can find me using a hashtag every now and then, I do it mostly as an attempt to add a witty ending to a facebook or instagram post...in fact, I just used one tonight when I posted a pic of my supper on instagram...#italianchickensausage and #spaghettisquash...lol! I don't know their purpose at all! I can't say that I have used #blessed and I guess I didn't realize it was thing. I have heard it in conversations though and sometimes I think people say it as easy as they breathe. I heard Joyce Meyer speak about this before but she didn't refer to the hashtag...just saying how if we're not careful, we can sometimes offend when we really don't mean to. Your post is so right...we should never take our blessings for granted! This was quite eye-opening, Deborah...great post.

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  15. Deborah, this is another post where the beauty and sensitivity of your heart is showing. And, another post that says what others may have thought but not been able to put into words; myself being one of them. I have occasionally wondered why it felt slightly offensive to hear someone stating how blessed they are. Now I think I understand that it was because there didn't seem to be any true gratefulness to the Lord, but more of a boasting going on. I do believe that some people honestly are trying to acknowledge their thankfulness, but more often it smacks of insincerity and is used in a flippant manner. Thank you for this post that will help me remember to choose my words carefully.

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  16. So true... it has become pretty overused, abused and misused. Well said!
    Ruth

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  17. Deborah, I am blessed to have read this powerful post today to remind me I can't help to bring souls to God by swagger and gushing. It is quiet gentleness of humility that wins people over to God.

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  18. When I took a social media course at the library last year we discussed hashtags because I found them baffling. Since I have a blog I understood them to be like the labels we use and the instructor agreed that I had made the right connection. I assign one or two labels to each post and do the same for FB and IG, they can be referenced when looking for something.
    I agree that using #blessed would imply bragging, and #grateful would be a more humble way to express one's feelings.

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  19. I must confess that I am with Marie and totally out of the loop on this one simply because I am not on Twitter or Instagram so I never use hashtags :)

    But you, my dear friend, are spot on! I completely agree with what you're saying and I appreciate your honesty and willingness to share. I love what Miss Dishywoo said, "Deborah, this is another post where the beauty and sensitivity of your heart is showing." Amen!

    Hugs and love to you!

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  20. I had never heard of the #blessed thing before. I guess because I don't have Twitter or Facebook. I never thought about the implications of saying "I'm blessed " and how the way it may affect the person I'm talking to. Your post made alot of sense and you are not being cranky.😊

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  21. Dearest Deborah,
    Neither am I blessed... Like Marie-Thérèse, I too was so unaware of this 'hype'.
    It often is annoying how the English language is being abused and mutilated.
    More and more it looks like people have no inkling about the true meaning of a certain word and how to use it appropriately.
    And it also shows how stupid the one person is copy-catting the other. They all want to look cool and be popular and not realizing how stupid it makes them look.
    Words should never be used out of context and worse, like a fashion fad. The 'IN' word for now is...
    Language is not meant to be abused like that!
    Great subject and I too googled it and it was an eye-opener.
    Hugs and happy Sunday.
    Mariette

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  22. I'm not on Twitter, so I was unaware of the hashtag. But I agree with you 100% on the use of blessed. I dislike it when people say we are so blessed with affluence. Sometimes I think affluence is something that drives us further away from the Lord than closer to Him. We can be thankful, and recognize that people who may not have what we have still have access to God's blessings as much as we do.
    The "blessing" comment about children is close to my heart. In the last couple of years, our daughter has had four little heartbeats gathered to Jesus' arms. It's so very hard to see her and her husband suffer. I ache, too, as I think about those little ones waiting for us in heaven.
    Thank you for this post, Deborah.

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  23. In my case ignorance is bliss...I don't understand hashtags (thought it was a pound symbol), don't twitter (although occasionally rant) and thought the reason we were blessed (generally, everyone who has the $$$ to be on the internet) is to be a blessing.
    Right now I'm feeling blessed because I, finally!, have HEAT (Just in time for Spring...sigh.) and last night slept in MY OWN BED (it's been three months and the dogs weren't happy about the change...again.)
    It's okay to share my joy...grin.

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  24. Another astute observation, Deborah! Mark Zuckerberg should have called Facebook "Bragbook". HA!

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  25. I never would have given this a second thought, as I don't usually use hashtags. However, I completely am with you on this one. In fact, just yesterday we were talking to some great people in our parish. Well, they have two sets of twin boys. The older two go to a private boys school and the two younger are home schooled. So as the conversation goes, they tell us that a good friend of theirs invited them to their summer home. They will be flying with a private jet to Florida and spend a week at this fabulous home, all six of them. Then the mom proceeded to tell me that this "friend" has completely covered tuition for all fours years of high school for the two older boys. Plus, when the two younger ones go to the same school, they too will have all four years paid for them!! She kept saying how blessed they are to have this friend and how generous he has been all along, etc. etc.
    My heart dropped to my stomach, because you see, my oldest granddaughter who is in 7th grade, wants to go to a private girls school, but its looking grim, because her three siblings are also going to Catholic grade school right now, and the tuition for boths schools will be over $20,000 for one year! My daughter and son in law have good jobs, but no way could they afford this tuition, plus books, plus uniforms.etc.. I walked away from the conversation, wondering why my grandkids could not be blessed in the same way.
    Your post really opened my eyes about saying "blessed" so flippantly from now on! thanks for this posting, Deborah

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  26. Like Stephanie said so well, I have never used a hashtag, because I'm not on those social media platforms, but I can see where you have mentioned it being a problem, a means of bragging for sure. I agree with you, being thankful is a far better way to express your gratitude for a happy moment, rather than using it as a way to somehow impress others that you are more blessed than they.

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  27. Hello, I did read this post last night, but I could not comment as I had no words left!
    But I did want to say well done Deborah!!
    We use this word like it is magical quote! God is good even when life is tough and we don't understand what is happening to us! We are blessed just to have breath!!
    But if we would give THANKS more often and pray for so many that are struggling it would be better for all of us! I was told once that if we would just verbly say we were blessed it would be so...
    Thanks for the thought provoking post, you have a way of doing that :o)
    Always, Roxy

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  28. I think you have a real point here, Deborah, and we should be sensitive about how we express things to others. It's always, always appropriate to say that we are thankful, isn't it? Good point.

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  29. Keeping it short , let me say that I totally agree with you !

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  30. Hi Deborah, such a though-provoking post. I'm not part of the hashtag world but your whole premise here is so sound, now that I think about it. I do love the word blessed and blessing because they are so tied, in my mind, with God's grace and mercy. But your post is a needed reminder to be sensitive to others and how words we say or use can hurt or plain ole be bragging.

    One odd thing, in some of my old magazines from the 1930s I've come across several times when an elderly person would utter "My blessed!" as sort of a mark of surprise, kind of like saying "My goodness!" Interesting, isn't it?

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  31. I've never hashtagged anything, as you know I keep my media to blogging, ebay and email.

    It makes sense, very interesting thoughts here.

    xxoo

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  32. I don't use hashtags yet but "blessed" seems wrong. We could be fortunate but good fortune does not indicate God's favour.

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  33. Hello Deborah, I am visiting from the Enchanting Rose blog. I totally agree with you about #blessed. My daughter and I had a similar discussion around Thanksgiving last year. She was expressing her dislike of people always using "grateful" because she felt it was putting the emphasis on man rather than God, whereas "thankful" was totally expressing our dependence on God. I know I have used "blessed" and "grateful" a lot in the past, but I've made a conscience effort since to use "thankful".

    You have a lovely blog and I've enjoyed my time here.

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  34. This really spoke to my heart, Deborah, as so often through the years, I have felt very "un-blessed"---cursed really---by those who say "I am so blessed." You see, after my second child, I was hit with mysterious fertility issues. They were never resolved, and no matter how hard I prayed, I was never given another child (even an adoption fell through). At that time, we were at a "large quiver" church, with women bearing 8, 9, 10, or more children. Every time they announced their pregnancy, it was with, "We are so blessed by God."

    There I was longing for another baby---praying for one---and yet not receiving one. By being continually reminded that they were "blessed" with a child, I was reminded that I was not. I felt un-blessed. In fact, I felt cursed and was often told that I must be under a curse, because "God always gives lots of children to those who trust him with the size of their family."

    Anyhow, very wise words you share.

    Hugs,
    Patti

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