I just read a very touching post by Lesley about the death of Robin Williams and this part specifically struck a chord with me:
I am not immune to the stresses of life. I struggle with decisions that I’ve made, the direction that I’m taking, if I’m a good mother, wife, sister, daughter, friend…. I don’t suffer from depression, yet these stresses affect me greatly. Readers often comment on my posts and say things like “It must be nice”, “I wish it was me”, or “You are so lucky”, but this is not encouragement. Rather than making me feel good about accomplishing my dreams, most times I’m left feeling discouraged and dis-heartened, like I’m doing something wrong because I’m following my passion.
I try my best to stay positive and find the humor in situations, but this is one of those things that immediately pushes my buttons. Why? Because saying things like that in response to an accomplishment or grand adventure implies that it was merely laid in the person’s lap for the taking rather than it being the result of hard work and sometimes, hard decisions. You know how that makes the recipient of those types of comments feels? Guilty and defensive, as if he or she needs to explain why he or she was the chosen one for all these great things happening in his or her life.
It’s really easy to just see the results of hard-work and completely overlook all the trudging steps it took to get there. The people I choose to surround myself with understand that all the traveling that I do, my happiness with my job and in being here on the east coast, are things that I worked my butt off to get. It wasn’t always like this. Then there are others who perhaps have never experienced such rewards and therefore do not know the hard work behind those rewards, or I don’t know, are just blinded by the results that they see who say things like, “You’re so lucky!” and “Must be nice!”, and to them I say,
Haha just kidding (kinda)! I will instead implore you to please, before saying things like, “You’re so lucky,” or, “it must be nice,” carefully consider why you’re thinking of saying these things and the effect it could have on the person. Is it because you are a bad person and want them to feel bad? Probably not. More likely you’re wondering how they’ve managed to do what they did and what it takes to get what they get because perhaps that’s something you would also like for yourself someday. If that’s the case, ask that instead. Also keep in mind that there really is no such thing as luck. All the good things that happen, those accomplishments, the traveling, etc., that’s from hard work. And guess what? You can do it too.