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Money and Self-Worth

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Your perceived worth is another kind of belief that impacts how deserving you feel of abundance. Other factors being equal, money scarcity is often related to low self-worth and resultant self-sabotage. For example, lottery winners and others who suddenly receive large sums of money (or fame) sometimes encounter (self-created) troubles if they see their good (but unearned) fortune as undeserved, as illustrated by the following story told to me some years ago by a rabbi:

A little tailor lived in a dingy tenement in a small town in the Midwest, earning a meager existence. But each year he pursued a dream and bought one ticket in the Irish sweepstakes. For fifteen years his life continued in this manner, until one day he found two men standing in his doorway and smiling. They stepped inside and informed him that he'd just won the sweepstakes-$1,250,000, in those days a fortune.

The tailor could hardly believe his ears. He was a rich man! He would no longer have to spend long hours altering clothing, hemming dresses, making pants cuffs. Now he could really live! He locked his shop, threw away the key, and bought himself a wardrobe fit for a king. The same day he purchased a limousine and hired a driver and reserved suites at the best hotels in New York City. Soon he was seen with a variety of attractive young women.

He partied every night, spending his money as if it would last forever. But it didn't; soon he had lost not only all his money, but his health as well. Exhausted, ill, and alone, he returned to his little shop and started his life over. Everything returned to normal; out of habit he even bought one lottery ticket a year from his meager savings.

Two years later, the two gentlemen reappeared at his door. “This has never happened in the history of the sweepstakes, sir, but you have won again!” The tailor stood on shaky legs and said, “Oh, no! Do you mean I have to go through all that again?” As the tailor's story exemplifies, how we handle money (or power or fame) often reflects our sense of self-worth.

Everyday Enlightenment


Cindy H said...

That is a great story! And rings so true! I hear about lottery winners having their lives go south after they win and it is hard to believe, but money does NOT and canNOT buy happiness!

Two Feathers said...

I think some did a study once and found out that winning the lottery can actually ruin your life - lots of people have all sorts of bad experiences because they can't handle the affluence that a winning lottery ticket brings... and then there are those sensible people who win the lottery and their lives go on as before, only better...

I also read somewhere that if you don't have enough money - and you're having survival issues because of it, more money will indeed raise your happiness level. However, if you have enough money - more money won't necessarily make your life any happier.

A friend of mine used to say that yes, money can't buy happiness - but it sure as hell makes unhappiness easier to bear.

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