Poverty sucks. As if we didn’t already know. Lately, I have started seeing posts (such as from Lifehacker) that help bring awareness to the subtle effects of poverty, and hopefully that will help start to destigmatize those who live in the midst of it. We all say we want to know how to end poverty. We even have a war on poverty. But what will it really take to end poverty?
What is poverty?
Whenever we want to accomplish something big, we have to first start by defining our terms. Let’s begin here by defining poverty. Poverty is well known as being too broke to live, or as having an income below some dollar amount for your family size that is established by the government based on census data, or some other metric. And yes, poverty is those things, but we aren’t going to talk about it in those terms today.
Today we are going to talk about poverty as a spiritual disease. Have you ever heard the saying that if money can fix it, it isn’t a problem? Poverty comes from a mindset that cripples a person’s earnings capacity. We believe that we don’t deserve anything better than the scraps of society. We might protest that we do, but we haven’t truly convinced ourselves of it. Poverty is a symptom of a lack of self-worth.
Life isn’t fair
I think we all want to believe that there is justice in the world. Yes, we are constantly told from a very young age that life isn’t fair. But we want to believe that it is. So when we don’t get the things that we want, we believe that we must have done something wrong so that we don’t deserve it. After many repetitions of this, we struggle to figure out what it is that we did wrong. We want to be deserving of all the good things in life. Looking inward, we don’t find anything in our behavior, so then we start to assume that we are just broken. The world doesn’t work for us the same way it works for everyone else. So now why should we try? It’s not going to work, as shown by years of “proof”, so we aren’t going to torture ourselves any more by trying to climb the ladder just to fall off again. We will stay safely on the ground.
It seems that mainstream media has this the wrong way around. We have heard of the poverty mindset, but it is attributed to being an effect of living in poverty. I believe it is actually the other way around. As people familiar with the Law of Attraction understands, our external experience is a reflection of our internal vibration. Our thought patterns form our reality. They are the paintbrush whose every stroke adds to the masterpiece of our lives. It may seem like our reality gives rise to our thoughts because we are quite in the habit of constantly taking stock of where we are by observing our reality. This has the effect of focusing our attention on what we don’t want rather than on what we do want, and thus growing what we don’t want. We see what we don’t want, and think about it, thus creating more of it. It is a cycle, but we can break it.
Bread and roses
To truly lift us up out of poverty, we need to learn to focus our attention on something other than our survival. We need to learn to feel good and enjoy life. To have bread and roses. The bread keeps our bodies alive, and the roses keep our souls alive. We need to be able to take time to relax and enjoy an evening spent with friends. Right now, with parents working multiple jobs just to make ends meet, and with single parents who can never delegate the child rearing for an hour or two to indulge in a bubble bath, all of the focus is on survival. We need not just to survive, but to thrive. Poverty is surviving without thriving.
When we can start to thrive, to acquire and enjoy roses, we can start to feel better about life in general. As we feel better, our souls will heal from the pain and trauma of poverty. We will gain a brighter outlook on life and see more opportunities around us. We will be emboldened to take advantage of them, to risk some to gain much. Risking a little will feel less catastrophic because we can see that we have spiritual resources that won’t be affected, like the presence of friends, and an optimistic outlook. We will start to see ourselves as being worthy of nice things, and we will reach out for them, like a raise, or a better paying job. Then the cycle will start again, but this time it will raise us up, rather than drag us down.
Have you experienced poverty? If so, does this resonate with you? If not, do you have a different understanding now? I would love to hear your thoughts.