The value of letting go

6 Min Read
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The Snapshot surveyed more than 74,000 rental listings across Australia and found that just 859 (1.2 per cent) were affordable for a person on the minimum wage. source

This is something I read in the article and it brought back some memories of when I was trying to find my first rental in Finland, which was incredibly hard, although it wasn't because I couldn't afford a place, it was because I was obviously not local. I would walk into a city apartment inspection where there was 20 other people looking and I wouldn't even get considered, losing out to literally anyone else. However, I could get an apartment no worries in a suburb known for crime and foreigners, even though the rental price was around the same. I didn't want a place out here though, I wanted a place in the city and luckily at one apartment, the owner was there instead of an agent and I had a chat to her and she gave it to me immediately. People matter in the positive and the negative - I was getting pre-judged based on my appearance.

But, this brings up something to do with environmental influence also, as I wonder what would have been the difference if I had ended up in that other suburb, which is actually far more reputationally bad than the reality of it. Back in the day, it was a crime hub and there were a lot of alcoholics and poor people there, but that was before the immigrants came. The reason the immigrants predominantly ended up there is for the same reason I might have, because no one would give an apartment anywhere else. Essentially, people were forced into the suburb.

Yet as you can imagine, if that is the attitude of the locals, that doesn't bode well for those same people getting decent employment opportunity, which means that the immigrants forced to move there are also going to struggle economically so that they can't get out of there and, their children will be raised in a less than successful scenario.

We are products of our environment and while we should do all within our power to take responsibility for ourselves as adults, we also carry with us a lot of learning from our youth that will propel us forward or hold us back. Some of it we have no control over whatsoever. I had no choice in the color of my skin, I had no control over how other people raised their children to build a culture that made it seem that skin color matters. But, it is the world I live in, it is up to me to make the most of it.

I am very judgmental of people who waste their potential, because I get the sense that I wasn't given much potential to waste. What I mean is that all in all, I am not overly talented as an individual, so I have had to grind to get anywhere at all. I have a lot and a very wide amount of experience with a very large range of people from many backgrounds, I am not talking from a position of naivety when I say this. Yet, I know there are people in far worse situations than myself.

It isn't fair. But nothing in life is, so the one thing that will all have the ability to do is improve ourselves using the resources we have around us, no matter if those resources are plentiful or scant. No, we can't all get the same result, as we are all starting from different level platforms, but that doesn't mean that we can't each make our lives fundamentally better in comparison to now in some way.

But, regardless of how much we want change, being products of our past can mean that we are going to continue on doing what we have learned, which doesn't necessarily get us to where we want to go. I grew up in a family that wasn't overly good at managing finances and I know that it has been a problem for most of my siblings in some way throughout life, regardless of whether times are good or bad. Yet, we have all each in our own way been able to find ways to combat the past and survive, though thriving is rare. If we had all continued on with what we have learned, where would we each be?

What if my parents had been militants, what if they had been heavily religious or alcoholics, what if they had been beaten us, fed us a terrible diet, didn't teach us manners, didn't educate us, didn't care if our clothes were clean or if we had eaten that day? I had no control over any of these things as a child, but I suspect that it would have had a profound effect on my life journey.

What if I had grown up without being teased or in a prejudiced environment?

This is where it gets uncomfortable, as while I want the best for my daughter and want her to have a safe and happy life, I can almost guarantee that a great deal of my own ability now, has benefited from having to work harder than others for my place in society. I wasn't accepted automatically, I had to earn a position.

So many people throw their hands up at the unfairness of the world and because they are in some kind of minority, see themselves as victims that deserve a handout. I believe raising children believing they are victims of circumstance, takes away a lot of the chance of them trying, as it gives them an excuse not to. I understand a lot of the challenges people face, I don't understand waiting around for some form of apology or reparations, as it is a waste of potential, a waste of the tools we have at our disposal.

In my opinion, we should hold ourselves to a far higher standard than we hold society, because we have agency and the possibility to control ourselves, but have only minimal influence over the behavior of the environment in which we live. What is interesting is that while we are products of our environment, a lot of people believe that they have to replicate the environment that they have been brought up in. It is not the case.

One of the stories I have held for a long time comes from a study of those who made it out of Auschwitz. They noted there were two kinds of people who had profoundly different lives on average. One group had trouble holding jobs and building healthy relationships, the other had strong families and good lives. The difference was, whether they saw themselves as victims, or survivors. When I visited Auschwitz a few years, this study came to mind several times as the horrors of the place were nailed home - it is difficult to accept negative experience and be grateful for it. It is more difficult not to.

No matter what your situation or how hard life is, there are always opportunities to improve it. But, it might mean letting go of the excuses that are comfortable to lean on. People act as if they want an easy life, not a valuable life.

[ Gen1: Hive ]

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