A rich person may believe they are poor if they compare themselves to the next millionaire or billionaire on the block. Just about anyone can believe they are living the poorest life because of debt and low-income depending on how they approach their situation. This means that the poorest people could actually be the richest, so it all boils down to perspective.
Don’t let the title fool you.
When I saw a photo tonight of a boy who hardly eats handing the photographer his second lollipop. I had no words but I know the child must have done this because he knows what it’s like to go without. He knows that empty feeling and he wouldn’t wish it on anyone. Sharing comes natural to those who understand the circumstances.
A research study by PhD candidate at Berkeley, Paul Piff between had the rich and the poor imagining themselves in opposite situations by viewing sympathy inducing videos. The results were the poor became less altruistic and the rich more generous.
“Empathy and compassion are the key ingredients in the generosity of the poor.”
We could easily say the same thing about people who believe they are living in the worst financial situation but in reality their income is above average. It’s not the money that makes us some of the poorest people around it’s our attitude towards money as suggested in Piff’s research study.
Everyone has a theory about being poor and how easy it is to earn money when you need more of it. Sadly it’s not that easy however with the kindness and generosity of others it can make someone who is struggling feel that much more empowered to never give up.
My thoughts just consumed me for a bit as I wondered what this child’s life is like. It really makes you appreciate what you have when you think you don’t have enough. In those few moments I thought about all the times people have helped us without a worry in the world. They had no issue coming to our aid.
Don’t apologize for who you are
Over the years I’ve met people with different financial success but unless I know them personally and talk about money I don’t know what lurks inside their financial house. That means people can pretend to be the richest person, the poorest person or someone who is just getting by paying the bills. Either way it shouldn’t really matter.
I’ve mentioned to all of you before that my wife and I don’t talk to our friends and family about our financial situation because we find it to be well, too personal. The last thing we want is people to judge us for what we have or don’t have. Not everyone shares our feelings which means we have heard all sorts of stories. We also know how many of our closest friends are suffering financially.
We’ve had friends who we’ve sort of opened up to about money only to be taken advantage of because they would say, “Oh come it’s not like you don’t have money in the bank” when they wanted us to lend them cash or do something we can’t afford to do. When we do things we do them because we want to, we can afford to and no one is pressuring us into feeling guilty if we don’t.
The poorest people understand
One of my wife’s friends is about the poorest from a financial perspective that she personally knows. She has no savings in the bank, no retirement savings, nothing as life didn’t go as planned. I’m sure many people can relate to situations that either cleared them out of savings.
She doesn’t even own a home because she will never be able to afford the down-payment and she’s been bankrupt a few times trying to juggle jobs and bills. From a poverty perspective she’s living it but she doesn’t complain about it. She works hard to make extra money and most times you’ll see her give back when she doesn’t have much herself.
Right now she is not working because she was laid off and is struggling to find a job that suits her strengths and abilities. It’s not that easy to find work once you hit 50 years old but she’s got no choice and continues to look.
In the meantime when she comes to visit my wife and I she always brings free stuff she’s picked up for our son just to see him smile. The worst part is when she apologizes for not having money to buy new stuff or offer more for a birthday gift. Everything she buys for herself and home comes from the second-hand shop, free or is handed down to her. She ALWAYS has put others needs above her own and when she is determined look out because she dives in like a lion.
What I find interesting is that she could easily have taken the free stuff she passes on to everyone and sell it for profit. Every mom knows that baby and toddler products will sell and sometimes for lucrative prices.
This woman donates to the food bank when her cupboards are practically bare and she will go out of her way to help someone even if she doesn’t have the strength to help herself. We envy her motivation and know that sometimes the poorest of people have the most generous hearts.
Whenever she visits we always make sure she goes home with something to help her whether it be a batch of rhubarb in the summer to homemade treats and supplies for the home out of our stockpile.
You don’t need stuff to see and feel Love.
Your relationship with poor can beat you down
Another friend of ours who compares herself to her rich friends believes she is the poorest of them all and that they must think it’s an awful life for her to live. They are snooty in a group setting and it’s hard for her to feel the vibe but they are her long-time friends.
She doesn’t have the biggest house or fancy cars like they do and can’t jump on a plane at a moments notice to jet around the world. Most of them own successful businesses. It’s hard for her to be around her friends sometimes because she believes they don’t understand her financial situation is fine. She doesn’t need anything more.
She’s not poor in the way society associates the word poor.
She has a great job with a decent salary, excellent pension plan with the only debt being a small mortgage. Although she feels she is on the poor side among her network of friends she is also the most generous woman.
If you need a babysitter she will be at your door-step. If you need a ride her car door is open. If you need her to pick something up, she will make a pit-stop. She’s always willing to help out anyone even those friends of hers who she seems to think are far richer than she is.
You can’t put a number on generosity and kindness and although she is far from poor she is considered the poorest financially among her circle of friends but with the biggest heart. Her friends are not mean but it’s clear how money has influenced the way they feel about themselves when they are all together. No one goes out of their way to help them because they typically pay to get what they need done. There’s that money perspective again where it’s easier to flaunt it than hide it.
Money can change attitudes, sometimes for the worst and other times for the best. When was the last time you did something nice for someone else? I’m not talking about donating money either. I mean just going out of your way to talk to someone who is alone most of the time, bringing a coffee to a friend who can’t afford to buy one, baking a cake to make someone smile because they are so worried about how they will pay the bills.
These are the moments that make the so-called poorest of people the smartest people because they understand. They get it and they want to give back. The poorest people know that even if they do have money in the bank there is always someone else who is worse off. There will always be a need to reach out to the community, friends and family to volunteer, support and participate in growing a better tomorrow.
If we continue to turn our noses up at the very people who you may consider to be the poorest people we won’t ever have a united country who works together as a team. This is not the message we should be teaching our tomorrow, our children.
Sharing…IF you teach it, live by it
If we teach our children to share from a young age it’s because we want them to embrace that commitment for the rest of our lives. It’s not just something we do short-term and whatever happens when they leave home is their own issue. No. It shouldn’t work that way.
The poorest people are not the people with no money they are those who have a kind heart that is on repeat. Be kind and you will see how life rewards you. Maybe not now, not tomorrow but it will reach you in ways you never imagined.
No one is ever above you.
Do something today that your future self will thank you for
Remember the poorest of people are not just those who have little to no money. Think, Perspective.
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Photo source: Quote- Greatness Instagram Elephant Love; Young child lollipop- Facebook