Thursday, 30 October 2008

Why the guilt of affluence?

I am not a writer by any means, my thoughts tend to just roam around my mind and I am only partly aware of their meaning. But I have had this guilt of affluence bought to the fore and not for the first time and thought that if I tried to write down some feelings about it I might understand myself more.

I feel guilty for having so much, a big house, new car, lovely family, healthy body, great friends, I eat well, can read and write and have my own craft room. I am thankful for these things, I do not take them for granted, I know I am lucky. Would I enjoy them more if I didn't feel guilty about them? Is feeling guilty for the abundance in life a part of how you are 'supposed' to feel in this affluent part of the world? Do I feel guilty because I know there are so many with so little, a case perhaps of the starving Africans? Is it because Biblical teachings lean towards giving up your riches?

Perhaps it is all these things and more. Perhaps those are reasons enough to for me to feel guilty, to not boast about what I have, to not see disaproving looks in others. Is this why I want to give things away I no longer have a need for because I can afford it and want to help others less fortunate than myself? But perhaps I want to do that just to assuage my guilt. 

Should I be looking to find ways to not feel guilty but to be thankful for what I have in life and to just enjoy what I have, share when I can. Or is feeling guilty the price to pay for this affluence of ours and that is how it should be? I shouldn't be looking for ways to handle my guilt, blaming it on my upbringing or those around me or the media getting at me but accept guilt for this as part of my life.

There are more questions than answers here, a topic I think I will return to again. For the moment I would like to think that my guilt can be used in a positive way, to help others, share the abundance I have, abundance of money, health and happiness. I would like it to lift others to help add to their riches if I can. I acknowledge there are those more wealthy than I but I don't think they should feel guilty and neither do I think they should share their riches with me. What I do think is that everybody has riches that they can share in some form or another and that this is what should be shared among us all; riches of laughter, wisdom, happiness, love and so many more. Riches in money is only one aspect of life, there is so much more that is important.

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