Poverty and Progress: Are we suffering from delusion of poverty?

It is indeed that most Filipino today suffers from delusion of poverty which is a false belief of a person that he or she is impoverished or will be deprived of material possessions or a person’s mindset the he strongly believes that he is financially incapacitated. Many people will use the excuse of this is the way I was born or this is my environment and I cannot change it. Through these statements it shows that most of the time it is because of your own mindset the reason you are where you are today. We have all heard, you are where you are today because of what you did yesterday.

If you didn’t change or plan ahead yesterday, then you can expect today to be different until you change. A poverty mindset can manifest itself in a lack of vision for the future. You end up stuck in a financial rut, perhaps working a job that barely meets the financial needs of your household. When you lack vision, it’s hard for you to believe that God would give you an idea to take your household to prosperity. And if God does give you a big idea, you either will not follow-up on it, or you will find a way to sabotage it. Your poverty mindset keeps you stuck where you are.

If a person feels less than others then he will not feel deserving. If he does not feel deserving, his life is based on desperation and wanting, rather than from joy and abundance. If one feels abundant, he will have abundance. If one feels desperate and wanting, he will expand the poverty in his life. Wealth or poverty is something that resides within. Poverty is a state of mind and about perspective not always about money. It is a fear of never having enough. To break that state of mind we have to make different choices and unblock the shackles that have been placed on our minds by our parents and the society around us.

Our beliefs about how the world works is passed down from generation to generation. If your parents have a poverty mindset, it’s highly likely that you grew up with these same beliefs. People may say that they want to be wealthy, however a mindset that is set for poverty cannot handle a sudden increase in wealth. Because of the delusion of poverty mindset, you never set up a written budget to plan the use of your finances. You never set financial goals for what you want your money to accomplish. You just let it flow through your fingers and out of your pocket and the end result is being broke.

That’s the type of mentality that keeps people in poverty. Often, thinking that we’re “poor” while others are “rich” is a result of comparing ourselves with other people. The first step is to stop comparing ourselves with others. You don’t need lots of money to be rich. Poor people put a high priority in having cash on hand. They do pocket accounting. What cash they have in their pocket is often how they manage their money. They do not like checking accounts because it requires financial management. Delusion of poverty has nothing to do with money, it has everything to do with the willingness to communicate and face a problem.

Growing up in that environment absolutely shapes one’s mind about money and life. People who heard from their parents that “we can’t afford this and can’t afford that”, as if there was no other way to

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get money other than welfare. There was no budgeting to help make the money last the full 2 weeks. They get their check and blow it on junk food, alcohol, drugs etc. Then act like victims for the rest of the days while waiting for the next check or the next binge. Change your environment and you change your financial future. Where did you learn your financial habits? Other adults: primarily your parents.

We spend the way they spend. We value what they value. We carry their views on most things. So if your parents spent foolishly, their actions taught you to spend foolishly. If your parents spent wisely, you would gravitate towards wisdom in finances. If your parents were really wise they would have explained why they spend the way they do and how to by-pass financial failures through proper money management. People who grew up hearing a language of poverty that sounds like this: “we can’t afford it”, “we don’t have the money”, “that’s for the rich people not for us”. All of those statements are victimized, poverty statements.

Change your language, and you change your financial future. Even the rich people suffer from delusion of poverty according to the Philippine Daily Inquirer (2007, January), “As the economy dips precariously, people who still have a lot of means are freaking out”. According to Dr. Kotbi from his interview in New York Times (2009,Jauary) he had a wealthy woman patient, worried about whether she would have enough money to buy groceries, refused to eat. Another patient, a real estate investor grew so paralyzed by financial fear that he asked his wife, who had hardly paid a bill in her life to take over the family finances.

Dr. Kotbi said they often suffer “delusions of poverty” which is in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, associated with psychotic depression and despite retaining millions of money in assets, are crippled by self-doubt, loss of power, and sometimes guilt. These people have fear of being poor. I hate this delusion of poverty in our country where poverty is imbibed to all of us: ‘Hindi ako makakapagtapos ng pag-aaral kasi dukha lang kami’ or ‘Anong magagawa namin? Eh mahirap lang kami? ’ It’s always like that. I also hear that from my neighbors, saying everyday that they are just poor folks.

I hate that in every election season, the candidates that we see on television hail themselves as messiahs or the bringer of solutions to poverty. Or perhaps, a knight in shining armor, ready to rescue a poverty-stricken maiden. We should accept the fact that the way we think affect our actions. Yes, somehow we are poor but we can be rich also. We need to be aware of a self-defeating thought process or activity in order to change our poverty mindset. Remember the sayings that what your mind can conceive your heart and body can achieve. It is the time to cut the chain that ties Filipino to the endless delusion of poverty.

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