Reframing “lucky”

I’ve been making a conscious effort to stop using the word “lucky” inappropriately. Often, we misuse “lucky” in ways which disempower us, diminish our achievements and undermine our self-esteem. No more!

In face, I’ve become convinced that often the word “lucky” can contribute to our depression goggles, those distorted thinking patterns which arises from depression and continue to feed it (though it’s not only depressed people who misuse “lucky”). Instead of automatically saying we’re lucky when something good happens, perhaps we need to stop a while, and think: “Was that really luck, or did I make it happen?” If you made it happen, why not acknowledge your efforts?

We’re “lucky” when some random variable happens to fall out our way. Here are some good, appropriate instances that I’ve used the word “lucky” lately:

  • the white ceramic vase, a wedding gift from a former lecturer, didn’t break when I dropped it – phew!
  • I arrived a couple of minutes late to the train platform, to learn that the train I wanted to catch was itself running late
  • whenever I return home unharmed from any driving venture. (Seriously, there are some crazy people out there on the roads.)

And here are times I almost used the L word, but stopped myself:

  • when my income insurance claim was finally paid out. This wasn’t luck, it was the result of (a) lodging an excellent claim in the first place, with plenty of corroborating evidence (b) persistently chasing up medical experts and others who were tardy with paperwork, and (c) calling the insurance company regularly to “check the progress of the claim” (I’m sure they treat people who are pains in the butt just as well as regular people … right?)
  • finding a tissue in my jeans pocket just before putting them in the wash. If I hadn’t thought to look for it, I wouldn’t have found it! That’s not luck, that’s good practice.
  • unexpectedly seeing a cop car with a speed camera as I came around a bend. I didn’t get a fine, because I wasn’t speeding. Again, no luck there – a simple fact of driving safely. (Yes, you’re right, there is a motoring theme today…)

So, dear reader, your challenge – should you choose to accept it – is to avoid misusing the word “lucky” for the next 24 hours. Instead, if you’ve done something terrific or constructive or worthwhile, give yourself credit for it! Why not? It will lift your mood and consolidate your self-esteem.

And feel free to drop back and let me know how you found this little exercise: was it easy for you? Or did you find it difficult to pat yourself on the back?

How else can I end this post except to wish you … good luck!

 

Dice

8 Comments

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8 responses to “Reframing “lucky”

  1. I love how you list successfully obtaining payment for an insurance claim along side pulling a tissue from your pocket before you do the wash. Ackowledge and celebrate both big and small accomplishments, and keep your sense of humor while doing it. Thanks for the reminder.

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  2. rod

    I’m not conscious of using the word ‘lucky’ very often, but maybe I do without noticing.

    Another word that bothers me is ‘proud’. I recently hear a woman say she was proud to be a North London girl. I can’t imagine why. It wasn’t an achievement on her part.

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    • In contrast, I’ve been reclaiming the word “proud” for myself lately, Rod! However, not as in “proud to be an Australian” (given how our prime minister is performing on the international stage at present, *none* of us should be proud) but rather acknowledging pride in things I have done.

      “Blessed” is another word I think gets tossed around blithely in a manner which is disempowering to the user, but I decided not to go down that path in my post …! For example, I might hear a psych patient say they are “blessed” to have finally found a great doctor. I think to myself, “But you persisted and persisted until you found them!” Using “blessed” in this context denies the effort they’ve put in and therefore does not build up self-esteem, etc.

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  3. I would rather think of them as blessings myself.

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  4. Pingback: Gratitude List | In & Out, Up & Down: Dysthymia Bree's Musings On Mental Health and Psychiatric Wards

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