Do you consider yourself/your family "working class" - in a negative way?
Do you dislike or feel uncomfortable around wealthier people who seem to be exempt from hard work? Maybe their jobs are easier, they earn more, or they run their own businesses and enjoy the work. In any case, you're probably resentful or bummed out about it.
What's the deal here? What keeps some people stuck in low wages, working paycheck to paycheck just to survive - while others seem to thrive effortlessly?
To answer this, first I want to talk about the two common schools of thought in the U.S (If you live elsewhere, you can probably find similar groups in your country that feud over this same topic):
Group 1 believes: Poor people don't work hard, they make bad financial decisions, or they lack something (e.g. intelligence, motivation, etc.).
Group 2 believes: Inequality ensures that rich folks hold all the wealth while everyone underneath them get squashed. Poor people are mistreated.
This issue is the root of SO much contention, rage, + pain - especially in the political sphere. I don't have to go into detail - you've seen this debate happening in some way on the news, at work, in protests - all over the world. It is well-documented that the rich are getting richer and the poor, poorer - the gap has grown significantly, especially in the U.S.
So who's correct about financial inequality? Group 1 or group 2?
First, I'm going to say something that would get under some political folks' skin - There is an element of truth in BOTH viewpoints. Both group 1 and 2 are A LITTLE BIT correct.
Of course there is unfairness. Inequality is a massive problem the entire world is facing - and has always faced for most of human history. It cannot be understated how pervasive inequality is. Hierarchy + discrimination play into this rampantly.
And of course, we've all met people who are in dire straights because of their own poor decisions, lack of effort, negative attitude, or lack of skill. We get in the way of our own financial abundance all the time - in ways we don't even understand - and so we deny it's even happening + play the victim.
But the sobering reality is this: If we settle entirely on the belief system of group 1 OR group 2, we will never solve this problem.
Here is the truth: It doesn't matter who the president is. It doesn't matter what your boss is willing to pay you, who's willing to hire you, or who anoints you 'good enough.' These things do not have to impact your personal financial security. (I know, I know, I can already hear the loud dissenters listing all the disasters that are currently happening in government + the economy). I understand.
But: You are not financially confined to that. You simply aren't. That's the truth. You are surrounded by a community who can benefit from your unique skills. Even if you live in a small town, you can go online + find community. This is why some people seemed to exist in a bubble during the economic recession in the U.S several years ago - Some people just thrived anyway (and I'm not talking about rich CEOs. I'm talking about regular employees + business owners).
We need to stop putting our heads in the sand + thinking that because inequality exists, we have no power or control over reality. Your actual power runs so far beyond the 'power' of any political leader or rich person to hold you down. And I mean that literally, not as a platitude to make you feel better.
Your literal power is stronger than the momentum behind inequality + poverty combined. Your family lineage of trudging toward each paycheck can be broken, starting now, by YOU.
Inequality is so much flimsier than we believe. The true reason inequality has lasted for as long as it has is because most people don't have the TOOLS to empower themselves. Most working class people don't have the help they need to actually step into a place of real self-empowerment. They have no idea what to do, and after some failures, they get discouraged + quit.
Think about a time when someone asked you for change - Did you pity them and give a quarter? See them as small + weak? Judge them as lazy? The problem inherent in humanity's reaction to poverty is that it either coddles the individual or condemns them. And we do the same to ourselves - We either pity ourselves + play victim or judge ourselves + work to exhaustion.
Instead of empowering tools, we have coping mechanisms to keep us right where we are - pills to help you tolerate the job you hate, a slight sense of security that keeps you in a toxic relationship, just enough money to fuel yourself with cheap fast food, etc.
We have exhausted nonprofits + volunteers doing the work that paid professionals should be doing to help families get out of poverty, eat better food, afford mortgages, etc, etc, etc. We have exhausted parents teaching their children how to survive - not thrive - because they grew up in scarcity and fear environments.
This is a multi-part problem with many complexities woven through it. But in no way is it hopeless. My intention with this blog is not to too deeply into sociological problems, but to empower the individual.
Break the Lineage
If you're reading this, you are at a level of consciousness to start making a change. You are enough of an outlier - just curious enough, just gutsy enough, just persistent enough to break the pattern of struggle, tedious labor, and self-suppression for your lineage.
You are the one!
Whether you want to start your own business, find a job you actually enjoy, earn more money, or have more free time, the first part of this process involves proving yourself wrong. Why? Because it's extremely likely that your parents, teachers, and other authority figures have instilled limiting beliefs in you. They probably didn't do it purposely, and they may have even consciously said things like, "You can be anything you want to be!" But what your caregivers believed personally about themselves, in their subconscious, is what you inherited. "Do as I say, not as I do" does not work.. at all ;)
The fact is, times have changed. There are far more opportunities than our limiting, fear-based beliefs allow us to reach for. We are no longer living in quite the degree of scarcity that we were decades ago, but our brains + nervous systems are still holding onto the same survival techniques - one of them being hard work for little pay.
What are some ways you can start to prove your shitty belief systems wrong?
One of the first major things I did (unknowingly) to start breaking out of the 'working class' pattern was this blog. Specifically, when I wrote the Shadow Workbook and sold my very first copy.
I would come home from my day job + obsessively work on the book at night. When it was finished, I announced it to subscribers and on social media, shrugged, and went on with my life. There goes nothin!
Consciously, I hoped to sell a few. I dreamed of selling thousands. So I assumed that my belief system was that I could sell at least one. Makes sense, right?
Well, when I checked my email and saw that I had sold my first copy, I literally cried. It sounds silly. But it wasn't until that moment that I realized entrepreneurship was at all possible for me. Of course I knew it was possible for other people - BUT here's the big thing: I didn't identify as one of those successful people. I couldn't picture it. I couldn't feel that level of success at all. All my body + mind knew was struggle and hourly wages based on someone else's assessment of me. Up until that point, I had only known excess humility, hiding my talents, and being overlooked. THIS pattern, if you are living it now, is your lineage. Your bloodline literally knows nothings else.
It wasn't until I saw that measly $8 enter my account that I realized what my subconscious belief actually was: No one would buy a single copy. I was elated - over one copy! Then I sold more copies, further disproving my belief that it wasn't possible for me to create something people would want. Eventually, selling a book felt exciting, but routine. What was once 'impossible' became the norm.
Now, I didn't get rich. But it was an absolute revolution to sell those first few workbooks. I was permanently changed. I still remember sitting in my apartment with that $8 sale and feeling like a millionaire - literally. For the first time, possibly ever, scarcity went away. I felt like I'd be ok, eventually. Financially stable, eventually.
When you root these feelings into your body, that's when your start to gain momentum - not when you're thinking about doing it. This is why it's so important to start proving yourself wrong with small steps in the direction of the career you want. It will be challenging, and by no means is this article an all-encompassing 'how-to.' But you'll get there.
Where can you start today?
I have a lot more on this topic, so shoot me a message if this resonated + you want to learn more about healing as it relates to money.
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