Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Wednesday Factoid: Worst Saying

Today's Wednesday Factoid is: What saying, parable, or catch phrase do you absolutely hate hearing?

There's kind of a group of them that I detest. They sound like these:

"God works in mysterious ways"

"Life won't burden you with more than you can handle"

"No one can make you feel inferior without your consent"  

And basically anything that suggests a person should be content with having no control over their lives, that their suffering is building toward a purpose they didn't choose, or that they are at fault for pain they experience.

They sound like kind or empowering phrases but they are not. They lack empathy and they make people think it's their job to either accept responsibility for causing problems other people caused through the act of reacting incorrectly to them, or accept their fate if they can't change it (without being inconveniently angry or sad about it, of course). 

You know what other one I really hate?

"Money can't buy happiness."

I mean obviously, there are sad rich people, and there are people whose problems are unrelated to money. But this is so often said by richer people to or about poorer people, suggesting that "happiness" is accessible by anyone who just learns to derive pleasure from life experiences that don't require money.

Let me tell you. It is an incredible stress to worry about money the way ALMOST HALF OF OUR COUNTRY currently does--being a paycheck away from being homeless, not being able to afford shoes, having to give up buying food and living only on handouts or going hungry if you need to buy expensive medicine like insulin. You might still be glad of your family or your health if you have it or find pleasure in your hobbies or your dreams or your work. But worrying about your very life, the necessities of your physical existence--it's exhausting in a way many rich people literally can't imagine. 

They don't understand that it's not easy to just shrug your shoulders and go to the shelter or food bank--that there are rules limiting what you can have, that there are limitations on who can access it, that subsistence and day-to-day hand-to-mouth living provides no hope for the future. Having money, to a certain extent, buys security that opens the door to happiness.

There are richer people who worry about other things, and nobody's saying a rich person is just a brat or can't have clinical depression or can't be under incredible amounts of stress. But "money can't buy happiness" is so often used as an excuse for not helping people who need help, and it's a saying fortunate people often use to justify not supporting lifelines for these people. It's easier to blame the poor for bad life decisions and assume anyone in that situation must have made an unforgivable mistake at some point to deserve such a life, ignoring of course that rich people get to make plenty of mistakes that don't ruin them. (Suddenly, it seems, rich people are all about forgiveness when it's about them--have you no heart regarding the rich person who messed up in the past but is now repentant? Don't you understand he's changed? Will you blame him for his errors when he was a different person the rest of his life? Oh, but those same mistakes that can destroy a poor person's life, well, they have no sympathy for that guy. Let him go to jail.)

I am so much happier with money, and I don't even have that much extra. But I feel rich all the time because I am in a position to support myself on my terms with some left over for fun and I'm able to help friends and family when they need it too.

Money doesn't "buy happiness" but it does make it so people don't have to die to make ends meet and gee imagine that, it makes for better mental health, let me tell you.

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