Monday, January 7, 2013

Crumb Counter's and New Year's Resolutions

Isn't it funny how the things you aren't particularly proud of in yourself really annoy the hell out of you in others? One would think that we would have more empathy seeing our own foibles in others, and I know in the right time and circumstance I can. But often, it just sends me right out of my skull.
I am a crumb counter by nature. Maybe it is because I am the middle child in a large family, maybe it is just part of my DNA. Whatever the reason I often find myself with the sulky "It's not fair." drifting around in my mind.  When I see people of means, people who didn't have to pay for their own college (or aren't burdened by massive debt because of it) or can afford things I just can't. People who don't have to live paycheck to paycheck, I become petulant. I resent the fact that I seem to have so little compared to others. It is a very small feeling and one of which I am not particularly proud. There are times that I float around and never count the crumbs and other times I find myself so furious  at what I don't have, I forget to be grateful for the amazing life I do have. It seems during these times that I am a raging calculator out of control, with positives in every other life but my own.
I think some of this stems from the belief that part of my self worth comes from my standing in society. The more financially solvent I am, the further up the social ladder, the better I am. Obviously, right? I deserve to be here because I am better. So when I am feeling less financially, my mind seeks to buttress itself from the logical conclusion of this thinking: I am not good enough. If I were a better person, smarter, prettier, more practical, innately somehow deserving, I wouldn't live paycheck to paycheck. I would deserve to have more because I am better.  A little sick, isn't it?
Maybe that is why when I see so many Facebook posts complaining about what people may or may not buy with their government assistance it enrages me. Let's face it, it is crumb counting, just with a different group of people This prevalent thought that people can afford something I can't, but are somehow less deserving of it than I am. They obviously made the wrong choices, weren't smart enough, just weren't good enough to not need financial assistance. That's kind of the underlying logic, right? I work hard and you don't. Of course we don't really know these people, we may see a small window into their life at the super market, where we judge their groceries, their clothes, their electronics and sum up the group. Not fair! Why should they have an iPhone, expensive clothes, or potato chips? Undeserving.
I guess it makes me angry because I don't want to be judged for what I think I lack. I don't want to be judged for every choice I make, and I resent even an inkling that someone else feels they have the right to tell me how to live. But of course, it is just a different form of what I do, so I should be more understanding.
Originally, my New Year's Resolution was going to be nothing this year. This year I was going to accept myself as I am. It seemed like a great idea and lasted two weeks. Me being me, it just didn't work. I have to have something to work on. So this year I am working on not crumb counting. Instead of looking to others for what they are doing wrong, judging people I really don't know, and getting angry for what I don't have, I am going to try to be grateful for everything I do have. I am going to try to avoid comparing my life with others, or use a judgement of others to somehow justify my own place in this world.
Hopefully, I will be successful at least some of the time. Wish me luck!

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