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When poor folks have better crap than you

May 21st, 2008 at 06:41 pm

"It's bad enough trying to keep up with the Jones; when you have trouble keeping up with the guy living on the wrong side of the tracks, it's a source of constant aggravation." -- from an old blog entry by a fellow named Philip Brewer

www.wisebread.com/when-poor-folks-have-better-crap-than-you

There have been a lot of sob stories in the media lately, revolving around high gas and food prices and the mortgage mess. The one people are discussing in the forums happens to be about food stamp recipients. When you're feeling stressed about your own finances, it can be really irritating when you're asked to feel sorry for someone else who's made dumb choices yet still enjoys luxuries you don't have, or has walked out on the kind of responsibility you are fulfilling, or is getting help you aren't getting. I know I've gotten riled up at times.

But Mr. Brewer says something I hope I can remember:

"When people around you make unwise choices the appropriate emotion to feel is compassion, not ire. When you find yourself wishing for better crap the appropriate emotion to feel is gratitude for the crap you've got, not envy for someone else's."

He says it's the Buddhist perspective. All I know is, I'd rather learn to think that way than have my blood pressure spike up!

He also has a good piece on how voluntary frugality and poverty are two different things--even if the poor person and the frugal person are living on the same budget.

www.wisebread.com/voluntary-simplicity-versus-poverty

3 Responses to “When poor folks have better crap than you”

  1. luxlivingfrugalis Says:

    Wonderful viewpoint! I like it!!

  2. Joan.of.the.Arch Says:

    For a number of years I lived with people who CHOSE to live very, very, very simply. I stepped straight from living in unchosen poverty to living with them. Wonderful folks, but no, it is not quite the same as unchosen poverty. They already had their degrees, bachelors if not masters and doctorate. They had their middle class families to help them if they got sick, or needed transportation in the rain to get to work, or needed a plan ticket to get to Grandma's funeral. They really had a lot of back up and a lot of choices based on what life had given them previously. They had social and work connections with other people who had jobs and stable lives, and believe me, that benefitted them. Some even had decent jobs, they just gave away what they earned, but they could stop that any day and re-route their resources to their own needs. They could bail out or change lifestyle at any time.

  3. asmom Says:

    great viewpoint. I followed your link and I really enjoy that guy's blog.

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