Before I start, please let me reassure you that this is not a self-deprecating post calling for attention, reassurance and alike. No, this post is simply a statement, if you like, on my hopes for my own personal growth.
I recently witnessed some rather ungrateful responses to help received in the form of benefits. I won’t give more details on the people, because its not relevant the relevant detail is my response. I was angry, frustrated, and I wanted to say, “Try getting a low paying job in an area that requires a significant portion of your pay goes towards travel, working crazy hours just to make ends meet AND THEN tell me how hard YOU have it.” But I didn’t.
The thing is, the system is not perfect, it does enable dependency, and while there are many recipients who genuinely have no choice and would like nothing more than to work, but can’t because of a significant health problem/having to support an ill loved one etc there are also the generations of recipients who believe that benefits are a right, and are should be milked to capacity.
Naturally, as a tax payer I disagree, and this attitude annoys the pants off me, especially when there are so many other areas that need funding a lot more urgently (i.e. medical research, funding in third world countries etc.)
That said, I need to remember the other side.
As already established, a lot of these people come from a benefit-dependent families, it is all they know. There are many who come from dysfunctional and even abusive backgrounds. Low confidence, feelings of helplessness, lack of solid role models, poor education, not to mention Mental illness are all common factors in why people “abuse” of the system. Put simply, they cannot even imagine any better.
I’m not condoning this behavior, many people come from similar or worse situations and go on to live successful, financially independent lives. I am saying though, that when the world is against you from day one, when all you know is dependency, independence is a scary notion.
I have to remember that I cannot judge these people because I intellectually cannot put myself in their shoes. I have a solid foundation. I was filled with confidence, I was encouraged to be independent, and I was loved by stable people., My way of thinking is based on this. I see opportunities in dark places because I saw people succeed, I take chances because in my experience I generally land on my feet, and if I don’t, I know how to get support to get back on my feet. I am lucky.
I’m not going to lie, I judge people who physically could work but stay on benefits. I don’t like that about myself, and so I put it here, my blog as a way of keeping myself honest, admitting it and hopefully working on my ability to show compassion in difficult situations. Perhaps if we took the approach of positively modelling independence, showed acceptance, and contributed to a society where people of different socio-economic backgrounds properly mixed more, going to the same schools, shops and doctors things would be different.
All I know is judgement never got anyone far.