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5 Reasons To Be Happy You Are Left-Handed

  • a Care2 favorite by Judi Gerber
5 Reasons To Be Happy You Are Left-Handed

As a “lefty,” I have always felt a little different. At times, I have struggled with trying to fit into a right-handed world.

In school, I had to contort myself so I could write on a right-handed desk. I struggled to keep my hand clean and often ended up with ink smudges on both the paper and my hand; writing in those spiral-bound notebooks is difficult, if not impossible, for lefties. From can openers to scissors and my garden pruners, most household items are made for righties. And when eating with groups, I have to fight to sit on the far left side of the table so I don’t bump the person next to me the entire time I’m eating.

I have often wondered if I really am that unique. With an estimated 10 percent of the population being left-handed, and almost 30 million people in the U.S. being lefties, it’s not as rare as it feels.

Aside from feeling different myself, there seems to be a history of discrimination toward my left-handed comrades, embedded in language:

  • There are over two dozen negative references to left-handedness in the bible.
  • Some common English phrases portray the left as negative — such as a “left-handed” compliment.
  • In Latin, the word for left is “sinister,” which of course means evil in English.
  • The English word for left comes from the Old English word “lyft” meaning broken or weak.

One of the things that I have also heard my whole life is that I am clumsy and have no eye-hand coordination. But as I have learned by researching, this is probably not due to a default in my natural abilities, but in having to use right-handed tools and items that are backward for me.

Given all this negativity surrounding us, it’s hard not to feel a little slighted. But there are some really great things about being left-handed. Next time somebody tries to bring you down for being a lefty, point out these things that might make him wish he was part of the left-handed crew:

We are right-brain dominated. Being “right brained” comes with all kinds of positives. We tend to be visual thinkers; we are more creative, have a greater imagination, are better at expressing feelings even non-verbally, and are great at daydreaming.

Lefties remember the tunes of songs better than righties do. I know this is true of me. All I need to hear are a few notes of a song and I usually know exactly what the song is.

Speaking of music, according to Medical Daily, we also have a better sense of rhythm, which might explain why I love to dance so much.

Lefties also seem to have a better chance of having a high IQ, or being considered a genius. Twenty percent of all Mensa members say they are left-handed, and among the famous “smart” lefties:  Charles Darwin, Albert Einstein, Benjamin Franklin, and Isaac Newton. And a study conducted at St. Lawrence University found that more left-handed people had IQs over 140 than their right-handed counterparts.

Lefties are better able to multitask. The theory is that being left-hand forces your brain to think more quickly. So we usually have an easier time dealing with a lot of unorganized information and are able to sort through it all.

Lefties: do these qualities pertain to you? Speak out in the comment section below!

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Judi Gerber

Judi Gerber is a University of California Master Gardener with a certificate in Horticultural Therapy. She writes about sustainable farming, local foods, and organic gardening for multiple magazines. Her book Farming in Torrance and the South Bay was released in September 2008.


+ add your own
11:23AM PST on Jan 4, 2015

Left handed is not an inherited trait. Im the only one in my in my family that is.
Whilst I was in the army they told me that they refused to purchase left handed weapons as there wasn't enough people to use them.
I always had problems with handwriting as the hand drags across the page smudging the ink. Used to have the teachers complaining at me for poor hand writing took them 4 years to realise why

10:46AM PDT on Sep 21, 2014

Left handedness is more than just how you write. It shows up in everything, from the way you process information to the way you reach for a cup of coffee. I even think there may be ranges of right brained thinking.

6:08PM PDT on Aug 20, 2014

I feel so left out being left handed I often cry about it as I am right now I always smudge my work it gets so annoying also I always have to be around right handed people I am the only one in my family who is left I always have to see my family do everything with their right hands just look ping at it makes me wanna cry I just really hope someday I can get used to it

1:46PM PDT on May 26, 2014

My father and my brother are left handed

9:44PM PDT on Apr 19, 2014

I actually know a man whose father forced him to learn how to write with his left hand.

12:30PM PDT on Mar 10, 2014

Left handedness does not mean that you are always right, right??

9:47AM PDT on Mar 10, 2014

I wanted to write with my left hand when I was a child but my mom made me learn with my right hand since so many things are made for right handed people. However, I've been teaching myself to do more things with my left hand over the past year or so and I consider myself ambidextrous now. Almost everything in this list applies to me, so I think maybe I'm actually left handed after all.

8:49PM PDT on Mar 9, 2014

As Lori said re. her father born in 1919 being forced to write with his right hand when he was born a leftie, yes, there used to be a lot of prejudices against one using their left hand. As she mentioned, it DOES seem to be an inherited thing.........I'm a leftie, my father was, and my ex-M.I.L. was, and I have two children.......the oldest is female and right-handed, but my son is a leftie like me and his paternal grandmother and fraternal grandfather. I had one teacher in high school who was a leftie himself, and because he wrote "back-handed", he thought I should as well, but I don't and it's not natural for me to do so, even though I CAN. He threatened to flunk me in his class, which was English, not hand-writing! My Mother had to go to the principal to protest that action, since I got straight "A's" on all my assignments and tests in his class!

I broke my left wrist in 4 places as an adult and learned to write with the right-hand out of necessity, so yes, now I can use either and it does come in handy when using tools, such as a hammer to do various tasks. I can wield a hammer in places that most people can't.

8:31PM PDT on Mar 9, 2014

Debra, I found your reference to "left handed pencils" pretty amusing, actually. I've been left-handed my entire life (I'm now 72) and never saw any difference in pencils or pens. They are pretty straight-sided "tools", so there cannot be any difference for what hand is grasping them. Yes, there are left-handed scissors or tools which are curved, etc., but most of us "lefties" have become accustomed to holding them so we can use them use as well as "righties".

11:08AM PDT on Mar 9, 2014

Dana A.: "...electric can opener." HA! Good one.

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