Ever get trapped in the “If I have it they won’t” side of money? Feel like you should give it away? I sometimes refer to this as the Liberal Guilt piece, although maybe it is actually more like survivor guilt. The problem here is that it’s just not effective. If I keep myself from earning more money it has absolutely no effect on other people, be they poorer or wealthier than me. If I really want to benefit others, I need to make more so that I have more power to positively affect those that I feel need my help.
Many people believe that if they make more money, then others will somehow make less. That there is only so much and, if I have a bunch, someone else, by necessity,must have less. Some of us believe this because our parents believed it. Some people aren’t conscious of believing it, but do, nevertheless, act as if it’s true. And some people are resentful of people with more wealth, because they believe that the wealthy have somehow taken the money from them. Those that are mega wealthy may well effect the overall economy, but they don’t effect my ability to make money on a personal level. Thinking that they do just distracts you from being effective for yourself.
And that just isn’t helpful. If I limit my income so others can have more, all I do is diminish my income. I’m not helping anyone else, just keeping myself down. I prevent myself from being able to give to causes I care about, I maintain my resentment of people wealthier than I, and I continue to perpetuate the myth.
We all know the oxygen bag analogy in the airplane. You can’t help others if you can’t breathe. Where in your life are you doing that? Where are you hurting both yourself and others by playing small? What if you could honor both you and others?