Most of us have days when we feel we were at the end of the line when shares of luck or good fortune were handed out. It’s always easy to see people apparently better off than we are either in the media or in real life. Human nature being what it is, most of do not find it so easy to think of people who are much worse off than us.
A couple of comments about this:
Appearances are deceptive, some people who appear to have a lot of money to throw around, with big houses and fancy toys are up to their eyeballs in debt, perhaps in miserable relationships or suffering from bad health. Others who show few outward signs of wealth can in fact be very wealthy, just careful in their spending habits. There are both happy and unhappy people all along the wealth spectrum.
Different cultures value different things, what is considered essential in most of our Western societies might not make people in some countries envious at all.
In my travels to many strange and diverse places, I have found people in what we would consider poverty who are quite content with their lives, equally some very wealthy people who were eternally miserable.
Having gone through a couple of feast and famine cycles myself and then finally losing everything except my life in the chaos in Zimbabwe, I know from first hand experience that material things and wealth are neither essential nor necessary for happiness. The worse the trauma that deprives a person of their contentment, the less it takes for a sense of contentment to return. There is something about overcoming adversity that makes it easier to have gratitude and contentment.
Our experience in Zimbabwe was a first hand, living example of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs in action. First in reverse as we lost our freedom to operate our farm, then our sense of community as more farmers in our district were forced off their farms and others murdered. That was followed by theft of our equipment and crops, intimidation and death threats, interference with our workers. Then our personal freedom and security was increasingly restricted until eventually we were removed from our farm by the police.
Once we were off the farm, and relatively safe physically but with no idea how we were going to generate an income or even find a permanent place to live, it was as if a huge weight had been lifted from our shoulders. We were not exactly happy, but we were on the road to regaining control of our lives.
After 8 years in Canada, our life is completely different to our old life in Zimbabwe before the illegal land seizures. We do not own our own farm, our lifestyle is very different, we are thousands of miles from family and friends and even after 8 years it is still strange in many ways. But we are grateful for the safety and security we enjoy here. We are content with a lot less than we had before.
What got me started on this train of thought was an article in the Huffington Post today about Lucinda Yates, a formerly homeless woman who got the inspiration to turn her life around and build a successful business. Her inspiration came through a combination of her homeless situation and seeing some scrap material being consigned to the garbage.
This has to be one of the most amazing stories of someone turning their life around that I have ever read. If you for a moment think that you are hard done by in your present circumstances, then read this and you will realise how much worse off some people are.
Wishing you success in all your endeavours.
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