During my most recent business trip, I stayed in a Hilton hotel. As I was checking out, someone in the line next to me was complaining about his free breakfast vouchers. Apparently, this individual is a Hilton Honors Diamond member so he has achieved the highest level of status within Hilton's frequent guest program. He was complaining that they had offered him only free continental breakfast vouchers. He wanted to verify that this offer was indeed their current policy before complaining to the manager.
I have experienced firsthand the effects of frequent traveler program attachment. So I speak as a recovering "elite" member, as someone who viewed special status as a way to validate myself.
By many estimates, about 20,000 children will die today as a result of malnutrition, starvation, dehydration, lack of access to water, treatable diseases, parental abuse or a host of other factors beyond their control. There is a famine taking place in Somalia at the moment though the only news agency that seems to notice is Al Jazeera. For these people, a free continental breakfast voucher would be more valuable than diamonds.
Through a TEDx presentation, Brene Brown offered touching insights about vulnerability. How suppressing our vulnerability is essentially suppressing our humanity and our ability to experience joy and connect with others. That we are worthy not despite our vulnerability but because of it.
And about the things we do or say when we deny our vulnerability -- like complaining about breakfast vouchers.