Stop Pretending Money Doesn’t Matter
No, poor people aren’t willingly standing in their own way
Can you split yourself?
More specifically, can you clone yourself and then have your clone stand in front of you, blocking the way forward? If this sounds as simplistic as it is silly, well, it’s because the metaphor of folks standing in their one way is.
Life isn’t a made for TV movie script; telling people who are struggling that it’s all down to their having an attitude problem isn’t empowering. Instead, this kind of pseudo-inspirational copy belies a lack of empathy and fellow feeling.
Few are the humans who do not have their best interests at heart; even in the throes of mental illness, survival instinct kicks in. This is how we’re all wired, without exception. While we’re not always the best at helping ourselves, who in their right mind would choose to self-sabotage? When that happens, there’s usually an underlying cause. For example, mental health issues can do away with your self-confidence or even incapacitate you for long periods of time.
Being cash-strapped can have a similar effect. Constantly wondering how you’re going to make ends meet tends to eat up all your mental bandwidth until there’s none left for anything else.
Some simple issues get impossibly complicated when we don’t have the money to throw at the problem. Pretending that the only thing standing between us and greater ease is attitude is the same as telling a depressed person to pull their socks up.
Imagine a depressed person can’t afford to enlist medical help to get well, does it mean they’re standing in their own way then?
Money makes solutions to problems accessible and gives us choices.
Why even deny that isn’t the case? Magical thinking is a con. You can’t manifest an empty parking spot any more than you can conjure up a roof over your head when you’re homeless simply because you want it. Believing in your dreams isn’t enough; you have to be able to afford them.
If you live in the US, you’re in luck: apart from love and credibility, almost everything can be purchased for a price, from health to education. Alas, this means it also includes human dignity, which leads some Americans to believe human worth is quantifiable in dollars.
This is how capitalism corrupts basic human decency: Everything is a commodity with a price tag subject to supply and demand. In such a culture, no wonder individualism and greed rule while moral probity and ethics fall by the wayside.
Some people will pay you if you tell them what they want to hear, namely that we’re in charge of everything that happens to us. You can make a living out of catering to universal human insecurities by selling pseudo-inspirational copy. Positing success is dependent on dreaming big and adjusting one’s attitude, this kind of writing is as popular as it is exploitative.
Tapping into disempowerment and spinning it for clicks and bucks means someone has to foot the bill. Presented under the guise of honesty, such copy charges the gullible and the desperate for the privilege of reading it. It’s easily identifiable by its condescending tone that leaves the reader with the impression the author is doing them a favor.
They’re not, they’re getting paid; this is their livelihood.
Success is subjective, and so is financial self-sufficiency.
For some of us, other people are the measure of a successful life; loving and being loved fills our hearts even though our bank accounts may be empty. But love isn’t a substitute for money. You can’t pay rent or buy food with love. And love doesn’t buy you time but money does; this is why those of lesser means often work longer hours or more than one job.
Plainly put, time is money. When time is the only resource we have, we’re wont to try and monetize it as much as possible. That’s why many self-employed people have the unfortunate tendency to work through sickness and seldom take time off, if at all.
Adequate rest has become a privilege the same way therapy for mental illness is a status symbol in the US, something people boast about. “My therapist says” is like name dropping for those who aren’t acquainted with anyone famous.
Bragging about how much one has is a feature of capitalism, too, and normalized in the US while it’s shunned everywhere else. When success is money, financial self-sufficiency means constant dissatisfaction and always wanting more.
Money is a tool and we all need it to live.
The more we have, the easier our life. Depending on our definition of what a good life is, we’re either content with just enough to meet our needs or enough isn’t even in our vocabulary.
I’m a French-American writer, journalist, and editor living out of a suitcase in transit between North America and Europe. To continue the conversation, follow the bird. For email and everything else, deets in bio.