I Don't Feel Worthy Of My Blessings Sometimes
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Health and Wellness

I Don't Feel Worthy Of My Blessings Sometimes

We don't earn our survival any more which estranges us from ourselves.

I Don't Feel Worthy Of My Blessings Sometimes

I vaguely remember when I first came down with affluenza. I was a child, maybe five, when I asked my mom something like whether she was sure we had enough money for Christmas that year. She looked mortified and I couldn't quite understand why but it was then that I became painfully aware of the role money plays in our world. Both from the feeling that we shouldn't have that much money for Christmas, and my mom's look of horror that I would contemplate such things as a 5-year-old. My condition laid dormant for a long time after that. Maybe I pushed it down so I didn't have to confront what didn't make sense but it came back recently.

Last year I studied abroad in Austria because I wanted to ski the alps. I enhanced my German and met cool people along the way but I really just wanted to get some good skiing in. My friend Jack and I decided to take a weekend trip to Zell am See, a beautiful ski area surrounding a crystal clear alpine lake. The scenery was out of a dream and the snow was even better. I got truly lost that day. Every worry melted away into the smooth turns of my skis on the airy snow. Everything was perfect until the skiing stopped.

The first sign of affluenza is the guilt. We'd smoked a little weed on the slopes and I was still high as we sat on the bus to the train station, exhausted in the best way and watching the mountain we'd just enjoyed slowly shrinking away. The day was almost too good and something inside me turned upside down. I was never a happy person but never a sad one either, more constantly discontent than anything and I suddenly knew why. I had to pay money to experience that. A tear might have formed in my eye as I became racked with the sudden guilt of having experienced bliss because of the social standing I was born into. I didn't earn the money I used that day. I didn't earn that experience. I would probably even forget to call my parents and tell them about my day even though I wouldn't have been there if not for them.

The second symptom to hit is the shame. It comes in hot like a right hook following a jab and beats you up just as bad. I have no right to feel guilty about the life I was born into right? I should shut up and be appreciative because most people have it worse. But that's exactly it and I think to myself, "at least people that have it worse are forced to earn their survival, forced to earn the life they live but I have everything taken care of, I haven't really earned anything when it comes down to it. I guess I got good enough grades to get into a good college but only because my family had the money in the first place." I was ashamed of myself for never having felt truly threatened, and it didn't seem possible to me that I could ever truly grow into a man unless I was confronted with true hardship. Instead, I was using my affluence to enjoy a day on the slopes and I'd never felt more estranged from my true nature as human being, as a living animal, than that day.

Wealth is great, but it seems like we don't earn the things we have anymore. My case was brought on by the awareness of my consumption of things that make me happy, without giving any of them back. Maybe yours is different but we all have a form of it. Maybe it's not guilt or shame but regardless of the specific manifestation, most people I know, most people with money, aren't truly happy. I know because I've seen happiness in the rural mountains of Nicaragua. Happiness doesn't mean smiling. Happiness is expressed in its truest form through unwarranted generosity which is something I've seen personally in the poorest of the poor. We, the affluent, don't have to earn anything anymore, at least nothing that really means anything. Sure we have to go to work to make money but we don't have to think about survival each and every day.

The biggest problem with affluence is that you have all the things you need and then some, which means you're free to think about happiness. If you're free to think about your own happiness, you probably won't be that happy. If you're not affluent, happiness and fulfillment aren't even on the radar because you're focused on meeting your basic needs. This is not to say that poverty is easy, it's hard I get it, but maybe that's exactly the problem with affluence. What do you do if you have everything you need and then some, why are you here? The affluent life is too easy and easy makes me feel useless, weak, weaker than any flu.

No living thing is meant to live and die without facing struggle, without facing real consequences. I think guilt and shame might be my body's way of creating that where there is none.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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