The Poverty Mindset: How Negativity Kills Your Bank Account

The Poverty Mindset: How Negativity Kills Your Bank Account

By: Elise Gray - Posted in:
A woman with a poverty mindset feeling negative about her bank.

What Is the Poverty Mindset?

The poverty mindset is merely the set of subconscious beliefs that many of us hold on to as we grow up in the lower or middle class. Learn how to overcome fear by understanding your higher self and what keeps you stuck with the poverty mindset. Once you know that you need to overcome the fear of being wealthy you can discover new ways to avoid self-doubt.

It’s hard to avoid the poverty mindset when you’re trying to appease your hierarchy of needs. Understanding the poverty mindset is not to understand poverty itself. Unlike the people of Flint, MI, many of us Americans at least have clean running water and a sustainable living situation. People in other countries would consider that to be rich in itself.

Being wealthy is merely an idea that differs depending on the person you’re speaking with. I know a poor person identifies as poor because they can’t afford to pay all of their bills––which makes sense. However, I also know a wealthy person identifies as poor, even though they live in an affluent neighborhood in Los Angeles.

What’s strange about this concept is that both people have different ideas of what “poor” can mean, and it keeps them both at their current status.

How Our Minimum Level of Comfort Contributes to Our Poverty Mindset

If you grow up in a middle-class home with a decent selection of food to eat and your own room, consider that your minimum level of comfort. When suburban living is your ‘rock bottom,’ you will live your life differently. Due to your poverty mindset, it is likely that you will always remain in the middle class because that is the minimum of what is comfortable for you. You’ll always subconsciously aim to make just enough to stay where you are because our brains like comfortable.

Your resources will all point you in a direction that will lead you back to where you started. As people, we only understand our minimum. The concepts of privilege are difficult to grasp because it means something different to everyone. We want to believe that we have a universal understanding of everyone’s poverty mindset, but there are so many subliminal rules attached to each level of privilege that most people slip through the cracks.

There are rare cases of people like Chris Gardner breaking through our invisible barriers, and it’s due to an absence of the poverty mindset. You can remove the shackles anytime you want––it’s just not easy when you’re distracted.

We all have to navigate our privileges accordingly, whatever they might be. It’s super easy to hear a person that you consider to be wealthy complain about their current financial status and scoff. But to them, wherever they are at might really be their minimum. What if living in Beverly Hills making $100K was your minimum? How would your life be different? The poverty mindset keeps us from answering these questions.

Society’s Contribution to the Poverty Mindset

People get lost in the concept of wealth and therefore a ‘poverty mindset’ because of the confusion society sells us. We are taught to want things, not freedom.

In America, it’s clear that the class system is a problem. If you remain unconvinced, take a walk on Rodeo Drive and visit Skid Row on the same day.

You will find that most people are stuck firmly in the middle. You can afford to drive from Beverly Hills to Skid Row, but your income level doesn’t warrant a residence in either area. Many of us are one car accident away from ruining our credit, and we’re okay with it because due to the poverty mindset.

What Does The Poverty Mindset Look Like?

When every inch of your being is riding off a 45-hour workweek with $20K of student debt dangling over your shoulders, you’re not thinking about positive affirmations. Who cares? You’re just trying to make sure your lights stay on so you can pass your final and get 8 hours of sleep this week.

It’s fair to say that thanks to the poverty mindset you have, you’re more likely to accept a job you don’t particularly like because you have responsibilities. There’s also the constant pressures of social media tugging at your sleeve.

Social Media Contributes to Societal Pressures

Social media is a wondrous beast because it can make a 9-5 seem glamorous. Not only does social media push consumerism but also validates our current states. You can create the illusion of the life you want by merely showing a highlight reel of your situation, thus convincing yourself to stay in it. One cannot overcome fear when they’re operating at vibration as low as this.

Since we are a naturally nosy species, we find joy in selling our lives to one another. Social media makes it ridiculously easy to feel jealous of each other’s facades. Everyone’s life seems perfect on Instagram––that’s the point. A lot of people get paid to look like they’re having fun on there. They get something out of it, and so do we.

Consumerism Keeps Us Poor

Yes, consumerism keeps us poor, but we cannot deny that it’s fun for us. It’s easy to deny you’re unhappy where you are coveting are chasing an idea. We buy things we think we are supposed to want, to achieve a life we think we need to be happy.

The poverty mindset has convinced people to consider student loans, auto loans, and mortgages to be ‘good debt.’ The truth is, there is no such thing, but the poverty mindset would have you believe otherwise. Thanks to the poverty mindset, we’re grateful to have the opportunity to pay a bank for something that shouldn’t be $300,000 in the first place.

How else can the poverty mindset appear? We’ll work 40-hours a week to pay for the $300,000 home we will rarely get to enjoy outside the weekends. You might get sad about it from time to time because selling your time stinks. While at the same time your feed is overloaded with people enjoying Bali with their Chanel sneakers, so you buy them to overcome your fears of inadequacy. It’s easy to believe that our purchase might help us achieve self-worth. One can hope to feel better about the situation after, be we probably won’t.

Is the poverty mindset our fault? Not necessarily. As many public educators agree, our current education system is flawed. There’s not enough time available to teach people how to budget when a superintendent is pushing standardized testing. It’s hard to escape a poverty mindset when we are unsure if it’s there in the first place.

How to Identify If You Have the Poverty Mindset

If you want to learn how to overcome fear, you need to identify if you have the poverty mindset. Not sure if you have the poverty mindset? Here are five questions to ask yourself:

  1. Do I avoid stepping foot in high-end stores because it makes me feel bad about myself?
  2. Is it very difficult for me to save money?
  3. Do I make more than I need, or just enough?
  4. Does my self-worth revolve around internal factors or external factors?
  5. Am I jealous of what others have?

How to Fix The Poverty Mindset

  • Affirmations: If you make a list of positive affirmations, you’re one step closer to changing your negative attitudes and your life. Affirmations can help you ditch the poverty mindset once and for all.
  • Meditation: When you use meditation to focus on oneness, you’re opening yourself up to what centers you. Meditating will help you answer the questions above, so you can overcome fear.
  • Wealthy Mindset Secrets: Consider what your ‘minimum’ is, and use the psychology of money. If it’s synonymous with the life you genuinely want, then you have a wealthy mindset.

All in all, navigating negative affirmations and societal pressures can be trying. When you’re trying to escape the poverty mindset, please remember to be kind to your inner-self. Ditching the poverty mindset begins when you learn how to overcome fear and be your highest self.

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