Is this possible?
I mean sure there are winners and losers in this world aren’t there?
So if I take advantage of someone else to get more for me and mine surely that is just being clever, being sensible, looking out for what matters in life?
Let me stop there for a second. The art of the deal — if you leave the other side with anything you have lost out??? Or you have sold your soul to the evil because you have failed to see the humanity in another, you are part of the same clan on planet earth and thus not to be exploited. Have you left yourself with nothing except you own hollow soul. If you have no compassion for others then you will never be a whole person and feel safe or loved in this world. There will never be enough to fill the void you have created in your own life and soul.
Have you ever been taken advantage of in life at any time. Think about how that felt, how it made you feel about yourself and about the person or organisation which did that to you? Did any of that feel good?
I know this is not rocket science but how often do we stop and think this through in real terms. Is it something that troubles you in your desire to be successful, make your pile, make your name, get even with the world for not being what you want it to be even?
Mostly not because we are too busy trying to get even with those bad times by passing it on to others who are also caught at a vulnerable moment and are easy to exploit.
I know so many outwardly reasonable people who do not ever stop and think ‘am I hurting someone just so I can get what I want’.
I have met many people who do not want to be challenged in this way, who are defensive or angry with me for asking this question. I have even been jeered at or ridiculed for suggesting such a notion. That tells me a lot about the people doing the jeering though.
Once you have felt the sting of being conned, being done over, being fooled or being stolen from, it does not fade that easily, does it. We try to forget it, put it out of our minds, but if we recall that moment when we realised we had been taken for a ride, the smart still returns. It does for me too. And that was the turning point for me.
I never want to make anybody else feel like that ever again. I really don’t. It feels too awful and I don’t want to be the cause of that for someone else if I can possibly help it. It would just leave me mortified to think that I had caused another so much suffering and unhappiness.
Am I mad? Am I never going to get anywhere because I am too soft?
I don’t think so.
Now is the time to ask ‘what is wealth?’
My definition is having enough for my needs, not my wants or comparisons /competitions with others, not my greeds or my cravings. Not my perceived needs to look up or down at others. Just my needs. Comfort, space, love, environment, safety, health, enough to share with others. Enough to live comfortably and not be part of the problems in the world if I can help it, although we all are unless we are living aboriginal style of course.
There will never be enough money for future certainty for anyone, no matter how much they have, no matter how much they feel they need to hoard for themselves. We only ever have the present moment and all we have in that moment is our total wealth in real terms.
I got to experience my definition of wealth, and living it by luck and working and not being screwed over by other people in one or two instances — especially one where I saw them coming and really stopped them with help of course, but they probably feel that I screwed them over. I didn’t, but that was someone who wanted to win at all costs and could not ever compromise nicely or equitably. That didn’t feel good either, but it felt better than letting myself be walked over, by standing up and saying no to being bullied. But I really don’t think I have ever done anything unkind since, I realised how bad it feels.
I am as successful as I could possibly cope with at the moment, in terms of I have done what I wanted which is to help other people through my writing — just a few or many — I don’t know, but I have had enough letters and comments over the years to suggest that I am in credit on that score. That is a form of wealth which cannot be measured of course. I am just so pleased that I was able to help someone.
This is my preferred form of wealth but even that should never be hoarded.
Sometimes we learn through things going wrong better than we learn through things going well.
That is another kind of wealth which I have in buckets. I consider it a wealth because it is a rich resource to draw upon for myself today and tomorrow and also for others to help, support , or guide.
A life which has crashed itself a few times and always managed to turn it around is a life worth living.
An uncle of mine pointed that out to me. I am always grateful to him for that even though he has now passed on. Before that I had only counted, and felt ashamed of, my failures. I never valued the recoveries for what they were, instead I had felt ashamed of them too, as if I shouldn’t have needed them in the first place. Something perhaps he had also had to face in his life.
The universe is an attraction zone, like attracts like to it, it attracts what we also desire. That latter can be a dangerous thing. I want to attract things towards myself that want to be with me, people, opportunities, and all other kinds of wealth. If I attract ‘it’ in order to hide ‘it’ away, then it is not free and neither am I, there will be no deep genuine joy, just a sense of having. That for me is not wealth, that is entrapment.
I have enough people who value and respect me and whom I also value and respect deeply. That is a huge wealth that is often overlooked. I find that a good wealth to take care of and nurture as you never know when you can need people, when you might just be on the down turn and those people who might just be there to help you in their own way. Sometimes all they can offer is love or a smile even. That is still a wealth that is greatly to be valued. I confess that one took me a few decades to fully understand and learn to appreciate. I hope I share my own various forms of wealth around as far and wide as I possibly can. This way wealth becomes a shared experience at no-one’s expense.
Wealth Without Hurting Others was originally published in The Ascent on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.