Living in South Africa at the moment is a bit of a challenge financially for the average Joe and for the underprivileged it must be horrendous! With the rand/dollar the worst it’s ever been, food, education, transport and everyday amenities just keep going up and it’s hard to keep up.
If food is this expensive for people living in the middle class suburbs, I pale to think of what it must be like living below the bread line.
There are two ways of coping with the challenge, one is to come closer together as a family and one is to split further apart.
How to not let your financial situation split you and your loved ones apart.
My grandparents at their wedding before hell broke loose
About 75 years ago, my people (and I mean literally, my grandparents’ family and friends) were living or dying in the throes of the Holocaust. Hitler was at his prime and was succeeding at quite an alarming and efficient rate in attempting to wipe out the Jewish people (and of course anyone else he didn’t like or who didn’t follow his ideals).
The Jewish people have always had an uncertain place in history wherever they have lived and to be honest that has given me fear and strength at the same time. Fear because I never feel completely secure. Strength because if they could live through that (those that did), then we can live through financial insecurity and challenge. In a way I kind of use the suffering of my ancestors as a way of moving forward in life. I do it a lot. I do it when I hesitate to give someone a lift or when I hesitate to offer food to someone hungry or a blanket to someone cold. I think of my grandparents and how it must have felt for them to be freezing and hungry with nobody to help them. Then I get out of my comfort zone and go and help someone.
Almost every time I help someone, I realise how blessed I am with what I have. Yes, for some of us money is tight but most of us (reading this) still have decent reasonably healthy food to eat every day. While I am passing food or some change out the window to the barefoot beggar on the street, I have my car heater blowing on my feet. I take notice of those things because otherwise I might be more complacent and not appreciate what I have.
If we look at what is most important to us in our lives, we can gain better perspective of what is happening and act accordingly. Here’s a creative example: If people have to cut down on electricity usage to save money, perhaps they can have supper by candlelight because eating together and spending time together talking is more important than having the lights on.
Yes it is a challenge and I’m not going to pretend that it isn’t. Talking to each other about what is happening and trying to find ways to make things work is what will help people to get closer during tough financial times. Being creative with what you’ve got goes a long way to making it more pleasant.
Appreciating the little things in life and the free things (like parks and sipping a cup of tea in bed) and most important appreciating each other. This is what makes life easier. Savouring and really experiencing the cup of tea and and time spent with each other is what makes life happier.
Reflections in my tea
Understanding and support is what is needed when having to find the money to make ends meet. Fighting and ignoring the situation can never bring happiness into a home. That’s what families are for, being there for each other. Well that’s what I think anyway.
If people can find something to be happy about, something to be grateful for, something to share together, it can take a little of the sting away.
If it feels like things are unmanageable and falling apart, a hug to one’s spouse or children and some comforting words to each other will go a long way to making things more tolerable.
Look I am an idealist and an optimist but I really believe that if people can look to what is important and try and build that up, we can find happiness in what we have.
How has the current financial climate been affecting you? Is there anything you would like to contribute to this discussion? If so, please comment.
Here’s a 3 minute TED talk video about saying and receiving thanks, if you are interested.
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