Disclaimer: This is a random post that doesn’t have anything to do with anything anyone else has posted.
One of the things I notice at the holidays is how hard it is when you don’t have money. Actually it’s hard anytime. We judge people based on financial factors. in all kinds of ways.
I’m really lucky because I haven’t been in any real financial strain for quite a while, but I’m have more financial insecurity right now than I have in a while. Plus, I have really struggled at times, so I know what it’s like. There were times that I didn’t have a budget because I knew I didn’t actually make enough money to live on, so I knew I couldn’t come up with a budget I could live by so there wasn’t any point in making one.
But I learned some really important things. I learned that there are huge penalties for being poor. Whether it’s late charges on bills or paying higher car insurance based on zip code, we are punished for being poor. I could rant about how wrong this is, but not right now.
I learned that get we judged for not having money. We have a belief in this country that if you work hard you’ll succeed (financially.) So if you’re not successful (financially), then you must not be working hard, or you must be doing something wrong. That’s a big ole lie, but we like to believe it. Because if it were true, then wealth would be merited and only lazy people would be poor.
Let me say it again. That is a huge lie. Most of us – myself included – are one serious medical illness away from bankruptcy. But it is so profoundly embedded in our culture that there is something wrong with you if you’re not doing well financially that lots of hard-working people, who really know better, still carry a bunch of shame around that.
THEN, because we pay lip service to the idea that money’s not important, those same people feel bad for feeling that way.
Do you hear that? I’m feeling bad about not having money, and then I’m judging myself for feeling bad about not having money, like it’s not perfectly natural to feel that way. When how I feel is perfectly justified and clearly the result of a materialistic world view of a capitalist society.
And that’s the only part of this I really want to address. If you are beating yourself up for feeling bad about not having money, please stop it. Please be more compassionate with yourself. What you’re doing is really, really hard. It’s ok to acknowledge that.