There’s been a great deal of consternation shown in recent years towards those who are wealthy. After giving this a lot of thought, I began to understand where my own issues with those of wealth, privilege, and means came from and, honestly, it’s pretty badly misplaced.
Growing up as a child (yes, it’s going to be one of those posts), I dealt with the teasing and the generally mean-spirited attitudes of children who grew up in families with modest wealth. As the saying goes, the middle class often has the worst snobs, and these children played this rule to perfection. Whether these children of my grade and junior high school days possessed said attitudes as a product of environment, upbringing, or parental influence is immaterial. They were simply cruel, and it had a profound effect on my own psyche for years.
To understand how this could be requires an understanding of my own background. My own parents, hardworking as they were, could not catch a break, having moved from New York/Long Island the depressed coal country of northeastern Pennsylvania. Contrary to what you may have seen, having watched the Americanized version of The Office, the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton area was not the portrait of economic prosperity during the 1980s. We were on the receiving end of the great income gap of the 1980s, and the economic collapse it caused nearly destroyed our family, had it not been be a combination of hardscrabble determination and a near pathological Catholic sense of discipline. As it turns out, my family was merely an harbinger then of today’s economic morass in that region. But I digress.
Our impressions are almost always colored by our experiences. Those of us who harbor anger and resentment towards those of privilege and wealth tend to do so because we were consistently treated poorly by those of means and access. My childhood was no exception, but I now realize that my issue has never really been with the money itself, but with those who possessed and lorded it over me. Today, however, I made a choice which will resonate through the remainder of my life.
Today, I choose to forgive those who were unkind to me in childhood. This is very important, because it allows me to take my power back.
I’ll admit it; I want to be wealthy and of means, but not because of the luxuries it will afford me. Granted, a security of owning a home and car and all the trappings of this lifestyle will be nice, but the reality is that with such wealth, influence and means comes an even more amazing ability. I will be able to help more people than I ever imagined. My nature is that of service, and my dream is to serve my humanity, to help lift it up, to the best of my ability. The sort of service I dream of engaging in is simple; education and enlightenment. I dream of the day when my words will become the stuff which inspires people to do better, to be better, and create a better world.
To achieve this, means are often required, and I will be working diligently to achieve those means. To that end, I no longer harbor any resentment towards those with money and wealth; regardless of how they achieved or obtained their status in life, they must look in their own mirrors every day and face their own demons. By forgiving these folks, I choose to let those demons and challenges remain with them, and refuse to allow myself to be co-opted into a way of thinking which fails to serve me. I am grateful for what I have and the challenges and pains which I have faced in my life. I am ever so grateful for those I count as family and friends, and those who have helped to mentor and challenge me, even when those challenge have, and continue to, feel more like a living hell than an productive training ground. All these people, places, and experiences have molded me into the person I am today, and the person I will eventually become.
So what is the point of this post? Put simply, not all people who wish the world to be a better place, who wish to see everyone have a chance and opportunity for a better life, and who see unfairness and iniquity practiced on a daily basis are “out to get” the rich. The vast majority of us simply wish for those of means and privilege to see a basic fact of life; not that they “owe” someone something, but that they have a moral and ethical obligation to help humanity to the best of their ability. Money is a medium of exchange, it is energy, and to hoard that energy creates the very danger which has led to so much pain and suffering in the past. Those who hoard this energy must, eventually, release it and not choose to play god with it.
This is the sort of mentality which should be limited to the schoolyard playground, and those who choose to hang on to this sort of thinking are no better, or different, than the bullies who lord their families’ wealth, status, and privilege over those who are less fortunate. It is teasing, it is bullying, and it is what will eventually lead to the destruction of humanity as a whole.
I have forgiven my bullies – now it is time for the bullies to forgive themselves and face what karma has in store, because I now choose to be better, more generous, and grateful for every single lesson afforded me, no matter how painful it appears. To many of means, wealth and privilege have chosen a path of darkness, devoid of any purpose by acquisition and stubborn preservation in a world where the only true constant is change. I refuse to become an agent of darkness.
I chose to forgive, and to embrace the light.