The thin threads connecting our dignity with our money

I say thin because really it’s very easy to break free of the conditioning that society has performed on us which is “Money is dignity, honor and respect and if you don’t have enough then you should just work harder, hustle harder and budget harder to have more”. I have frankly not been able to get why an unequal distribution of money being multifactorial is so hard to get for some of us. This attitude of not accepting monetarily different situations is unhelpful and seemingly more rampant in the socially orthodox population.

I think the conditioning has been done deliberately. Because if our societal stature was connected to our character, it would be very easy to attain. It would be a very good incentive to have a good character if that guaranteed more respect and would ultimately lead to a balanced human society. It would’ve been a win-win for most of us, except for people who can’t separate any value that their life has from material possessions and money.

I could’ve forgiven the few of us who hold money the most important thing on our social resume. We all know people who like to hoard, collect and multiply money. This is their job in life. This is what everything revolves around. In one sentence their mission statement is “how to make money and how to spend money”. And I would’ve been okay with it if they hadn’t slowly started to make people ashamed for not sharing in this value of theirs.

You see, materialistic people are weak people when it comes to what they do for the community. Sure they probably give a small percentage of their money towards philanthropy and charity but sometimes our community doesn’t need money. And we lose manpower when some of us think that just by writing a check they’ve been absolved of their moral responsibility towards their fellow human beings.

Also, because money is almost unanimously a good measure of someone’s success in life, it induces a sense of inferiority in the best of us by subliminally belittling what we do for community welfare through time and physical effort. Those of us who don’t possess as much money start to shortchange ourselves and this can be damaging in the long run. Just like we lost some people because they thought their check was good enough and constituted true service to the community, now we lost some people because in their mind, their physical and time contribution paled in comparison to someone who can write a check. These efficient workers of our society start to think “My contribution doesn’t matter anyway. Why bother?”.

So here’s what I think we should do….. CONSCIOUSLY. Praise our unsung heroes. Create opportunities where monetary contribution is either not required or if required, can come through a grant or an organization but no personal contributions are allowed. Make a community where even coming in for counseling someone about simple things like settling into their newly married life, new baby, postpartum chaos, financial problems, starting a new job and not finding common ground with workmates, new immigrants, cultural diversity, counts as community work and is seen as honorable. This type of work is sometimes more necessary for a healthy community than financial contribution. When we value this work, we value the workers behind it. We also create a sense of higher self-esteem. People start to value themselves and others for who they are and not what they make every month. This type of attitude goes a long way in ensuring an emotionally strong community.

This work, like all other societal revolutions, starts at the smallest of scales. Its foundation can be very effectively laid at home. Praising our spouse, our house help, our kids for the emotional and spiritual work that they do. Counting the thought behind a job. Celebrating any positive initiative that our kids take towards their friends. Mingling with people who are simple in their upkeep and profound in the value that they bring to our lives. Separating expensive food from casual get-togethers. Teaching our kids the significance of good company and stimulating conversations. Also showing our kids how much a nicely-prepared meal is valued by a new mother so much more than any amount of money. Also showing our kids that some people may have the money but not the physical capability to get groceries and we can help them in a small but effective way.

When we make an exercise out of separating our self-respect from the amount of money that we may or may not have we create a stronger all-around environment. An emotionally strong environment.

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