If you haven’t already, please read the introduction post. That will give you context for this page.
This is the second post about the shame thrown at me (and others) based on economic situations. The first one was pretty obvious; poor shaming has probably been going on since humans came into existence. But, here’s the thing…
At some point, long before I was born, the poor people got sick of being told they were worth less. They also realised that they were totally worth as much as not-poor people. In fact, they started to suppose that they likely had some awesome qualities that not-poor people could never hope to have. Honestly, it’s a pretty common thing for a mistreated group of people to compensate for the low self-worth that was inflicted on them whilst being mistreated by convincing themselves that, in fact, they are the better people.
I’m not judging, just noting that.
So, no surprise that poor people started to decide that, in fact, they were the better people. And, at some point, I felt that way too. Especially once I was living on my own and I was poor because of me, not my parents. I was poor but I was making it. Go me! And I wasn’t held back by the negative, stereotypical traits that obviously belonged to not-poor people. It soothed the parts of me that felt bad about being poor and the parts that had been told I should feel bad about being poor…
I know, because we had conversations, that I wasn’t the only person who ever felt that way.
There have been wee, short-lived pockets of being a little well-off (at least by my standards). And, the first time, I actually felt bad about it. I was now the not-poor person. I considered purposefully ruining that, as if my economic situation determined by personality. (Yes, I know, studies do show trends, but I’m a fan of not being defined by stereotypes.)
And I’ve had people who were poor, when I wasn’t, being nasty to me because I was now one of the not-poor. But I didn’t respond because I actually understood where they were coming from, having been poor and judgemental myself plenty of times in the past.
So, here’s my final word on judgement based on economic situation:
Whether you are rich or poor, what matters is your behaviour. It’s your actions, not your money (or lack thereof), that determine whether or not you’re a good person. All humans are of equal intrinsic worth and full of great possibility.
I’ve now known people who were both good and horrible at all sorts of points on the economic spectrum.
I will never again judge myself or anyone else based on their net worth. And I won’t let anyone else make me feel bad about myself based on what money I do or don’t have. There are so many other things to judge me on…
Cross-posted to the Not Ashamed section of my site (so that it’s all tidy).