Am I a ‘privileged f*ck’? Yep, guilty as charged. (But guess what? So are you!) ~ Ben Ralston

Via Ben Ralston
on Aug 23, 2011
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I’m a therapist. I heal trauma. That’s what I do for a living.

I could tell you some tales that would, perhaps, chill you to the bone. Perhaps not though – we’ve all lived a little haven’t we? We all have our skeletons, our shadows, our stories.

I’m also a yoga teacher. I spent 12 years teaching yoga full time.

I worked for a year as a youth worker. The hardest, most challenging, rewarding, uplifting, depressing, worst paid job I’ve ever done.

And I’m a writer, and a long time ago, before I had a clue what I wanted to do (when all I knew was what I didn’t want to do) I was an actor. A pretty bad one. I embarrassed myself spectacularly many times.

If I had ever wanted to be rich; if money had ever been a motivating factor in my career choices… I would not have chosen any of the above paths.

And yet I’ve been called a

“money-grabbing charlatan”

(by people who don’t know me, but have read an article of mine online, and believe themselves to suddenly be in a position to discern who I am, and to pass judgment, publicly).

I’ve also been called:

“an arrogant ignoramus, an opportunistic charlatan” (by ‘Monique’). And a:

“Huge Douche… trying to capitalize off of others genuine need to feel better about themselves” (‘Tracy’).

‘Kim’ said that I:

“Cause psychic pain”, and “shame fragile and suggestible people, filling their minds with crap”.

She went on to say that I “use technology… with the entitled-ness and lack of awareness of an infant”

And she finished kindly educating me with these choice words:

“All you are is stigma in another form, dude”,

followed by:

“…a malignant narcissist bordering on a sociopath… you bilk people out of money, and capitalize on human suffering”.


(The above ‘quotes’ are comments in response to a single article that I originally published on Elephant Journal.)

Scary huh? It’s not like I wrote that I enjoy biting small children’s heads off whilst worshiping Satan and chopping down rainforests – I was writing about healing trauma!

In another article ‘Del’ said:

“You [Mr. Ralston] are a fool… it seems your head has become lodged in your ass.”

I could go on and on… these are just a few of the examples on offer. And I’m just one of many writers here at Ele Journal (and all over the internet) who get this kind of ridiculous ‘criticism’.

Notice a pattern to the above? Yep, they all have the courage to shout their (fairly vitriolic) opinions from the rooftops, but not enough courage to leave their names. Anonymous name-calling. Welcome to the era of intelligent high-speed communication.

Another article earned me the lovely moniker “privileged fuck” (yes, anonymously).

And you know what? Here’s the thing: ‘Fuck’ I understand. I get that – he wanted to insult me, right? And using swearwords to insult is usually a fairly safe bet. Like when someone says “I had your Mother last night”, often abbreviated simply to “Yo Mamma”. (Apparently a very high percentage of young adult males in the British prison system are there as a direct result of someone telling them those three simple syllables). Effective!

But what is insulting about being called privileged? I didn’t get it.

And then something pretty strange started happening. I started seeing the word ‘privileged’ being used as an insult all over the place.

Most notably, when Waylon Lewis (EJ’s editor in chief / owner / oh sod it, he IS EJ isn’t he?) reacted a little over-emotionally to an insinuation that he was racist. Suddenly people are popping up all over the place calling him ‘privileged’. Sometimes even, ‘a privileged white man’. Again, as an insult.

So here’s my point:

Waylon is privileged, so am I, and so are you. If you’re reading this on a monitor or a laptop, at home or in an internet café, you are privileged. You are privileged if you had something to eat today. You are privileged if you have clean drinking water.

If you are alive, you are privileged.

So we’re all ‘privileged fucks’, okay?

And if some people seem more privileged than you are, you know what? Great! Be happy for them. They probably earned it. And if they didn’t, so what? Privilege is something that we all crave, somehow or another. It’s certainly not an insult!

Oh, and while I’m at it…

Those of you who (anonymously) hate on the internet – there are better ways to spend your time than reading the blogs of the people you hate and compulsively attacking each and every one of their comments with ‘thumbs down’. (Whatever it is that you think about that person, you’re wrong.)

Does this deserve even a single 'thumb down'? Let alone 6?! Or do people use the thumbs as a way of trying to hurt people they 'hate'?





Really. It’s a waste of your precious, precious time. Take a deep breath, leave the computer. Go smell some flowers, or look up at the sky for a while, or sing a song. Failing all else, study and memorize this flow chart with the aim of decreasing your ‘dick rating’, slowly, one day at a time:

Sheer comic genius:

On the other hand, if you like something… spread the love! Share, ‘like’, Tweet, Stumble it, and most importantly, leave a comment – nicely 😉


About Ben Ralston

Ben Ralston has been practising personal development—necessity being the Mother of invention—since he was about six years old. He’s been teaching and sharing what he’s learnt along the way for a couple of decades. His main thing is Heart of Tribe retreats—whose very purpose is to help you fall back in love with life, no less. Leading these retreats alongside his woman Kara-Leah Grant—also an elephant journal writer (that’s how they met!)—they combine a deep well of lineage-based yoga teaching experience, with expertise in healing trauma and various other methods of personal development. Ben also works with clients one-on-one via Skype, writes, makes videos from time to time, and is passionate about parenting. He lives in an intentional, tribal community in the hills of Croatia, where you might find him gardening barefoot and talking to the rocks. Connect with Ben on Facebook or YouTube or check out his website for more info.


71 Responses to “Am I a ‘privileged f*ck’? Yep, guilty as charged. (But guess what? So are you!) ~ Ben Ralston”

  1. Ben_Ralston says:

    I'm glad you enjoyed it. Thanks for commenting Andrew.

  2. Ben_Ralston says:

    That's the first time I've ever been called refreshing. I like it. Especially because, with a 9 month baby who hasn't yet discovered the joys of sleeeeeep, I feel about as far from refreshed or refreshing as can be – Cheers Shay!

  3. I really like this post Ben! It amazes me how much time people spend insulting others on the internet. Other than elephant, I usually choose not to read the comments on most articles on the internet because there is so much negativity and so little insight. I wish your flowchart could be incorporated into pop-up screens to question people before they post insulting comments. Also, your post reminded me of a piece by Mark Morford (San Francisco Chronicle columnist), "Why are you so terribly disappointing?" See:

  4. Laura says:

    lol – it was "supposed" to be the heavy metal "horns" but apparently this blog is averse to the left-slanted line. It showed up in the text box but did not translate over to the thread properly. Oh well. Rock on anyway. 😉

  5. Joe Sparks says:

    Ben, I enjoy your writing, do not stop. Your perspective and point of view is valuable and worth reading. However, I am not at all surprized on the negative comments people make, it is unfortuante, but telling how much we all have been put down and attacked for our thinking. Our culture is saturated with it. We grow up being humiliated and embarrassed for our thinking from day one. People are hurting, and our showing you where they got hurt as an attempt to get unaware attention on it. We all need hundreds of hours of loving attention in our direction. We all have hateful feelings, but most of us internalize them, except for the few who will post them as comments. We work so hard not to spill our hateful feelings on others and then get triggered / upset when others who have patterns that act them out. We all our vulnerable to being hurt, but need to focus and put our attention on people who value and appreciate us.

  6. Well, now I MUST go read that first article!

    Witty and thoughtfully written post, and I do love the message. To insult me for my privilege (as a white person, a middle-class person, an educated person, etc.) says so little. It's obviously designed to make us feel badly about ourselves, but it's like insulting someone for having brown hair or being tall. Not only is it ridiculous and ignorantly obvious, but it says more about the insulter than the insultee.

  7. Tanya Lee Markul says:

    Just posted to "Popular Lately" on the Elephant Yoga homepage.

  8. I would also like to add, if I may, that I have penis flow chart envy.

  9. Right F*cking On! Namaste, Bro!

  10. Beth says:

    Well said!

  11. Mat witts says:

    I think there is something yo are not seeing Ben, or if you are, then you do not deserve much sympathy. the vocabulary and tone of your posts inflames. The imperatives at EJ are to catch the eye, (it is an advertising model after all). So there is a type of collusion that goes on between editors and writers that makes people over-respond. You cannot wave a flag and say- hey look at me, I am over here, and the tell people to fuck off if they don't agree with your views. It is a bit childish when yo take up a whole page with your shit and EJ only gives people tiny little boxes to try and keep things straight from their POV. It is a broken format and writing about therapy in such a heated way probably opens as many wounds for people as it does heal them for others. Take the hint, if people are getting wound up by your writing, it is YOUR problem as much as it is theirs, this would be a more responsible attitude. Suck it up and continue writing, but don't complain about your audience, it just comes across as a tantrum. The people that post anon Do so because they do not want to associate themselves with the feelings they are having, this is normal defence mechanism type and – calling yourself a therapist you should perhaps know that?

  12. Ben_Ralston says:

    Hilarious. Did you even read the article Mat? Or just doing your usual Holier Than Thou routine? Read and memorize the flow chart. That's all I can really tell you…

  13. Jen says:

    Hi Ben,

    Your posts are frequently thought-provoking and not because I agree with you, I frequently don't, but because you pose questions and share sentiments that force me to consider my own attitudes. That is valuable dialogue and I appreciate it.

    As for being privileged, being offended is an opportunity to re-asses how you may or may not be enacting all of the various "isms" of the world. We all have our own set of privileges and disadvantages.


  14. Ben_Ralston says:

    Hey Jen,
    I'm really glad you enjoy my posts despite frequently not agreeing with me. Now that I think about it, that's a great compliment. You keep reading and I'll keep writing, and please feel free to disagree with me in a comment or two – as much as I love being told how great I am (haha) I also love being opposed. I need to question my own attitudes too.

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  16. Mat Witts says:

    Thanks for the tip – I ALWAYS listen to what you have to say Ben because one day I am sure you will say something important and I don't want to miss it – but since the flowchart isn't your work I didn't give it as much time as your own scintillating pop social psychology – so sorry for that. Maybe you would do me the same favour sometime too – you know – actually – read what I am saying because as far as "routines" go I think the your "unholier than thou" attitude is just as disingenuous as my "holier than thou" program you are pointing your finger at here ? – God Bless You – this has made my day bro' – a therapist escalating a simple communication / misunderstanding problem on a rather naff public facility for something more substantial and sinister is delicious.

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  18. juliekru says:

    Oh dear, you've created a life and a satisfactory one for yourself – actually, you sound like a very interesting person, I didn't know you had done all of those things. Those people who are nasty are hurting, and I know you know that, but why do they comment? A thesis could follow. I also don't understand the need for people to comment negatively about something regardless. I love that you are the way you are. I think you add a lot to the world, you have a fabulous energy, and I adore the flow chart particularly the 'dick finity' bit., and I adore what you present …. to all of us…..

  19. Jessica says:

    Ben, thank you for having the guts to be in the arena to fight the good fight. People who feel called to heal, are sensitives who consciously take off their armor for the sake of others. The harsh critics are those who are numb from building walls around their hearts and wounds. So yes, it helps to have compassion for them. I think its much harder for the unarmored feeler types (vs armored thinker types) to have virtual tomatoes thrown at them. That’s why most of us choose to stay behind the scenes (fear of getting wounded by the critics) so Kudos to you. We preach peace but that doesn’t mean we should endure verbal abuse. I think you are setting healthy virtual boundaries and that’s necessary when you are putting yourself out there. Don’t hold yourself to superhuman standards either. Words don’t always convey our intentions but that’s ok because the people who follow you know your heart and only their opinions should carry cred. I recommend not even reading the harsh critics comments so you don’t absorb their yucky energy. Keep writing imperfectly valuable stuff knowing that you have tribe that will extract the good stuff and be fed by it! Blessings!

    (Hoping that made sense-no time to edit- typing on the go with a huffy puffy daughter in the back seat lol)