We need more compassion like this. Not everyone who is poor has any desire to suck off of the government tit.
I never, ever, thought that I would be in this situation in my life. That me – or my sister for that matter – would ever have to prove our worthiness for help just to get money to eat, and to keep a roof over our heads.
We each remind the other – particularly when one of us is feeling hopeless – of the same thing that this woman tried to do for this man (when she thought he was in a similar situation to herself). When you are in a bad situation, the only way you can hold on to hope is to remind yourself that bad times are only temporary. That eventually, they too will go away.
It doesn’t mean that one is hoping for a miracle like this to happen. It simply means that one is trying to remember that life is change, and that no one situation stays around forever. The only way out of a situation is through it. But, everyone has times when that fight is too hard, that you just want to give up and let go. Giving up leads to death, whether physical or metaphorical. She’s absolutely right, only determination and choosing to make the best of your situation is the only way to survive.
I’ve never wanted to have to rely on strangers to take care of myself. To have to beg for the least bit just in order to live another day. To have to humiliate myself to somehow prove I am part of the “worthy poor.”
“Worthy poor” is an illusion. It lets people who don’t want to have to be compassionate have an excuse not to help someone. It excuses them from caring for someone in need, because the person isn’t ‘worthy’ enough in their eyes to deserve the help.
I have worth. Your moralistic stance doesn’t define my worth – it is intrinsic to my life as a human being. Your judgement that I deserve whatever is happening to me does not mean that it is true. I defy your judgement that I am of “less worth” than you are, simply because of my life choices or situation.
Every generation has those who believe in the myth of the “worthy poor.” People who believe that there are, somewhere, people who are worthy of being helped. But they also believe strongly that these “few hidden gems” are hidden because the “greater proportion of the poor are users.”
And it’s not just the “upper class” who has thought that way. In fact, it is usually those who are either middle class or lower class who seem to believe in this myth the strongest. It gives them something that makes them feel superior to those who are somehow “lesser” than they are. It gives them a feeling of control over their own life.
I’m not going to give you shame because you need to feel superior to me. I’m not going to bow down in the dirt before you just to prove I am worthy of being helped. This will end at some point. Life never stops, it just changes direction. And I don’t need your approval to live my life.