I recently read an article in the Huffington Post entitled “This is Why Poor People’s Bad Decisions Make Perfect Sense.” In the article, a woman living in poverty explains why poor people make bad decisions with money, food, and relationships. She says that people in poverty believe that they will never get out of their situation, so they don’t see the point in trying. They are just living day-to-day, and they have given up trying to have a better life.
When I first read the article, I was completely riveted and enjoyed the refreshing honesty. Then I thought about what I read. I read it again, and couldn’t help but notice that the author reminded me of someone very important to me – my mother.
When my mom was 35, she and my father were divorced. She was left all alone with no child support; three daughters aged 8, 10 and 11, and an aging mother. She had to go out and work a minimum of two jobs to stay afloat. There were times, though, that we didn’t stay afloat. During those times, friends and family would bring us food. After-school activities consisted of riding our bikes or playing with the neighbors. Lessons or sports were out of the question. There was no money for the extras.
I don’t have children, but I have thought a lot about how growing up in my situation shaped me as an adult. The greatest way that it shaped me is it made me more independent, and strong-willed.
I grew up very much on my own. My sisters spent time with each other, and left me alone much of the time. This formed the basis for my creativity and adventurous spirit, because being on my own allowed my mind to go places it wouldn’t have if I was always surrounded by people.
I believe that children do not have to have constant attention or many after-school activities in order to be successful. As long as they have someone in their life who teaches them right and wrong, in their solitude they can go to many beautiful places.
Why was it, that when we didn’t have a lot of stuff and barely saw our mother, could I feel so confident inside? It’s because despite the crap that my mother was thrown into, she never had an attitude of poverty. She would tell me and my sisters, “you may not have a lot, but you are rich inside.”
I always sensed from my mother that even though she knew that things were rough, she didn’t think that being poor was a permanent state. She also understood how important it was to teach us how to eat right. We didn’t always have cooked meals, because mom was too tired to cook, but there were always fruits and vegetables around the home. Mom would make us eat them. This taught me how important it is to eat healthy, and that fruits and vegetables don’t have to be expensive.
Watching my mother struggle to make ends meet was heart-breaking at times. I admit it was difficult to come back to school after Christmas and talk about my gifts to my classmates. A couple pieces of nice jewelry were nothing compared to a new video game set. However, the embarrassment always passed because my mom gave me an example of someone who never gave up, but always fought her way through life. This strength that I saw inspired me to be strong. If I felt frustrated because we didn’t have any money, I channeled that frustration and turned it into persistence.
I knew that I could go farther than what my hometown had to offer, so after graduating with honors in High School, I left home and later graduated from college with a Psychology degree. I then moved to another state and through a series of sales jobs, I mastered the art of selling.
Succeeding in sales sparked my interest in business, and I began reading business and finance books, learning how to manage money and start a business. I used this knowledge in my late husband’s business, helping him expand the business to five countries.
I don’t believe that if we are poor growing up, or presently living in poverty, that we’re destined to be poor forever. Our destiny does not lie in our current circumstances, but within ourselves. The mind is a very powerful thing. It can keep us in our current state, or compel us to move forward.
The attitude in America that poverty is a disease hurts those affected the most – those in poverty. They start to believe that it is a problem they can’t get out of. This is far from the truth. It is time for America to have the attitude that poverty is temporary, and with the right mindset and persistence, and often with help from neighbors and friends, those in poverty can get out of it.
Buddha and Einstein Walk Into a Bar: How New Discoveries About Mind, Body, and Energy Can Help Increase Your Longevity
by Guy Joseph Ale
Using the latest breakthroughs in cosmology, neuroplasticity, superstring theory, and epigenetics, Buddha and Einstein Walk Into a Bar helps you to master your entire system of mind, body, and energy and provides practical tools to help you live your longest and healthiest life.
Teresa Mishler is the President and CEO of Lifespan Seminar. She is a renowned workshop leader and coach, and certified yoga instructor in vinyasa flow, yin and restorative yoga. She conducts seminars internationally for companies and organizations, as well as group sessions. Ms. Mishler holds a doctorate in counseling psychology (hon) from Young Scientists University. She received the Eminent in Psychological Science Award at the International Conference in Psychology 2011 “in recognition of her findings and contributions made so far to the field of human lifespan.” Ms. Mishler was married to the late Guy Joseph Ale, former President of Lifespan Seminar and author of “Buddha and Einstein Walk Into A Bar: How New Discoveries About Mind, Body, and Energy Can Help Increase Your Longevity” published by New Page Books. For more information, visit https://guy-ale-buddha-and-einstein.com.