Poor is as Poor Thinks
In 2015, my husband and I lived on a combined total family taxable income of just over $17,800. In fact, our gross personal use income from all sources was only about $50 more. Am I poor?
Poverty Line in Canada
Oh, but the Poverty Line in Canada is anyone below $35,000 a year isn’t it?
Perhaps by somebody else’s definition of what “poor” is. We meet their criteria—but we are not “poor” by our own criteria. Through a lifetime of various hardships I have learned not to have my life and its meaning defined by someone else. I refuse to EMPOWER THEM to define ME.
Don’t be defined by someone else’s definition.
I choose to EMPOWER ME to define myself and I want to show YOU how to be EMPOWERED too. I have seen it over and over—if you think something continually about yourself then that is what you are and will become. We all know the old adage—don’t tell a child negative things constantly if you want positive results.
Well the same thing goes for adults too. If you keep telling someone they are poor at the time, eventually they believe it—even though it is NOT TRUE.
It is a falsehood—a lie—an untruth!!
Yes, you and your family may be experiencing financial hardships and unfortunate circumstances, but does that make YOU poor? Of course not!
You can be a wealthy person able to buy whatever you want, whenever you want, etc. and you may actually be the poor one.
No Globally Accepted Definition
Did you know that there is NO ACTUAL globally accepted definition of poverty? What it is, or how to measure it? It’s true—world leaders and activists can’t agree what poverty actually is.
So this means that the real problem is the many differences in interpreting what poor (poverty) actually is and how to deal with it as a result.
There are various “poor mindsets” out there that need to be looked at, addressed, and redefined.
A person with a “poor mindset” –whether defined by others or themselves is a person feeling:
- feeling like nothing
- and worthless
Around the world in 3rd world populations—when asked for their definitions of what being poor is, they say being poor is:
- lack in everything
- lack of dignity
- feeling inferior
- their voice means nothing
- broken relationships with God, others, and community
Hmm, no mention of lack of money or lack of things.
Ask yourself—What is your definition of Poverty or being Poor?
Do you think of it as a “lack of”:
- income ??
- healthcare ??
- housing ??
- food ??
- money ??
- stuff—usually material items ??
The WAY we define “poor” will determine what solutions we use to try to deal with it.
Do we try to fix “symptoms” or “causes”?
Ask yourself—do we FOCUS only on the SYMPTOMS? Or do we actually DEAL WITH the underlying CAUSES of being poor?
As it stands right now our Social Programs are set up to deal with “symptoms” of being poor—not the “causes”.
Current Programs deal with SYMPTOMS
Because our society defines being poor as a lack of things—our programs are set up to provide “things”. Things such as:
- Welfare Cheques
- Disability Cheques
- Child Tax Credits
- Grants & Bursaries
- Subsidized Housing
and even our own organization, Free Stuff 4 Daily Needs, provides things. Things such as beds, couches, clothes, dishes, etc. – things.
However, it can be argued that these initial symptoms do need to be addressed first before moving onto diagnosing and dealing with the underlying problem.
Yes, I agree. Sometimes, a doctor needs to settle your “pain” to a more bearable level, and then get going with the tests, and gather the results to know what your illness is. Then the doctor can provide a diagnosis and a plan of healing—instead of just dealing with the symptoms of pain—find the cause and get that fixed. Result—no pain, no need for pain pills. A cure. Life moves forward.
So, keeping things in perspective—a lack of things or a difference in the amount of possessions from one person to the next—does not make one person poor and the other not.
We need to change how we thing about poverty issues.
We need to change how we think about what being poor is before we can change it’s causes for existing.
One of the fundamental causes of being poor is – MINDSET !!
Poor is as poor thinks, or poor is how others think poor is.
Currently, Social Organizations only address 10% of the problem. The lack of –SOME—THING.
It’s about time that YOU, me, and Social Organizations in general, start to address the 90% portion of the problem. That 90% portion addresses the emotional consequences that people defined as poor—either by themselves or defined by others—are actually struggling with. EMPOWERMENT needs to be restored.
Replace “Shame of Circumstances” with EMPOWERMENT
Shame of circumstances needs to be replaced with EMPOWERMENT of changing the circumstances leading to a HOPE and a FUTURE.
We, here, at Free Stuff 4 Daily Needs, are trying—through this blog, and continually expanding outreaches and services into our local community and beyond, to attempt to yes—still deal with symptoms for immediate relief of “pain”, but we strive to push forward and help to EMPOWER YOU towards SOLUTIONS of your current situations.
As a society, we have to stop handing out “bandages” to people and try to cover up the real problems. We, as a society, have to
“stop the bleeding” too.
And yes, we can’t ignore the Mental Health Issues that are also deeply woven into this “poor mindset”.
We have to shed the lies, the untruths about who we are and our worth as a human being because of an interpretation about our circumstances at a particular point in time.
A WORD OF CAUTION
This does not mean just rolling up your sleeves and diving right in and taking over. Remember, the person being defined as “poor” already feels worthless and feels like nothing.
You need to help them (or maybe it is you) to be EMPOWERED towards a HOPE and a FUTURE in their own circumstances. The person needs to feel some control over their own future, no matter how small.
For instance, at the local Food Bank:
- does the Food Bank just hand a box of food that they have picked out the contents to the person needing the food ? Or
- is the person who needs the food, given the dignity and EMPOWERMENT of choice? Can they pick what they want for 3 cans of vegetables, or which 2 cans of soup?
Both approaches help treat a symptom of food insecurity, however only the second example also tries, even if just a small way in that moment, addresses a beginning process of solution to the problem. The person in need is being moved towards decision making and learning to make better decisions. They are being treated with dignity and respect to be able to choose their own food items.
But it can’t stop there—do you give a man a fish so he can eat for a day? OR, do you teach that man to fish, so he can eat for a lifetime ??
See the simple differences?
Things to think about
I’m not saying current programs need to be eliminated—what I’m saying is that modifications to put EMPOWERMENT back into the hands of those needing the services, as well, as walking with them towards a different future, not the same path they are currently on.
Poor Mindsets must be changed, and also our approaches to dealing with it must also change.
Poor is as Poor Thinks.
I’m not poor. Are you?