My Blog Motto

"Good judgement comes from experience, and often experience comes from bad judgement"

~Rita Mae Brown

Friday, August 5, 2011

That Ol' Poverty Mind

In my recent post as I pondered the predicament of poverty, I mentioned some of the tips we use to survive when in tight times, the way we manage with very little and often do so with a wry sense of resiliency and acceptance. The post was meant to provide some insight into the daily life of people living on a meager fixed income, and to serve as a reminder that entitlements are NOT sucking the lifeblood out of the economy while providing Cadillacs and cable tv for lazy n'er-do-wells who have "no work ethic".
Today I want to look a bit deeper at that apparent lack of motivation that we do see in some people who are living on welfare or other programs. It is a firmly entrenched Poverty Mentality that keeps people stuck in a state of mind and a lifestyle that, to the outsider, looks lazy and unmotivated.
Unmotivated, yes. Lazy, no absolutely not. It takes a lot of energy to budget every penny on a daily basis, to always be on the lookout for any resource to help ensure daily survival, one day at a time.
But "why do people appear so unmotivated?" some might ask. The answer is pretty simple: an absence of Hope. Some people have never known Hope. Some have had it snatched away, broken, or unfulfilled. To break a person's hope is to break their heart and their spirit. One can only endure so much heartbreak before the scars grow thick, constricting and impenetrable.
I have been fortunate to come from a background that allowed hope to survive, maybe a bit battered and bruised, but strong enough to survive and remain resilient. My family was the kind of family that could live the American Dream. Not the delusional one where you build a megacorporation from scratch and live on a Yacht, but the real Dream where you work hard, still have time for family and community and make enough money to live a reasonably comfortable lifestyle.
My own battle with the poverty profile stems from a more personal foundation, a damaged sense of self worth and fear of success. I think the same is true for many of us who, somewhere along the line have fallen off the track and stumbled into territory that we were not well equipped to navigate. Who is prepared for an abusive partner, a drug problem, a immobilizing episode of depression or a sudden loss of career? The injuries we sustain while lost in the wilderness do not heal overnight. As we regain our self worth and our perspective on life and our relation to it (which of course is the first and most vital step) we are still operating in a kind of survival mode, hanging on to what we have with gratitude and relief. At some point, however, we are "fixed" well enough that we begin to look beyond ourselves and into the possibilities to make our place in the world. For most of us it soon becomes evident that in order to do so were going to need some financial stability.
This is where it gets tricky. First of all we're still most likely in need of constant self affirmation that it is indeed okay to be happy and to want more than to just survive. Next there's the actual issue of money. They say it takes money to make money, even if that means having the ability to buy clothes for a job interview or to pay for a class to update some skills. Even in the best of economic times that can be a significant challenge. Nowadays, well I'm sure I don't have to outline the obstacles that seem to be increasing on a daily basis.
It would be easy to use the present flailing economy to fall back into that entrenched hopelessness that is the Poverty Mind, the daughter of the Victim. I believe it vital at this point in time that we all remind ourselves that we don't have to live our lives entrenched in poverty. We deserve better, as individuals and as a society. Maybe this is where the personal gets political and vice verse. I don't claim to have all the answers, or even half the answers, but I do know that on a personal level I'm going to commit myself to throwing off that security blanket of inertia and at least preparing myself for something better. I owe it to myself.
Peace and well being,
© 2010-2011 Nanakoosa’s Place, authored by Jennifer Hazard

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