To those born into affluent or even middle class families, childhood is often a happy stage of life blessed with fun, enjoyment, and excess. Not everyone enjoys this luxury, however, and the fact remains that many children are forced to grow up with nothing in the way of either material possessions or a productive, nurturing home. This is reflected by the fact that an estimated 1.3 billion people currently live in extreme poverty, coping on an average sum of less than $1.25 dollars a day. This represents yet another generation of children who will grow up desolate and without the advantages enjoyed by so many of their contemporaries.
Such hardship teaches crucial life lessons to those who grow up with nothing, however, making them an inspiration for millions like them and a fountain of knowledge for those who are born into more fortunate circumstances. Here are 10 things that people who grew up with nothing want you to know:
1. They struggle to save and manage their finances in later life
For those who grow up poor, life is endured from day-to-day with little emphasis given to core skills such as money management and savings. Given that factors such as rising inflation and volatile economic conditions are already making it difficult for citizens to build a viable retirement fund, a lack of financial management skills can be crippling.
So, while those who experienced poverty as youngsters truly appreciate the value of money, a lack of awareness and practical money management skills make it extremely difficult to save their hard-earned cash.
2. They can be fiercely Independent to the point of disconnection
In the UK alone, small and independently-owned businesses contribute a staggering £1 trillion to the overall economy. Interestingly, some of the world’s most renowned solo entrepreneurs are famous for growing up with minimal finances, support, and education. This highlights the type of fierce independence and introversion that characterizes those who experience hardship as youngsters.
While this can clearly be a positive thing, the sense of independence felt by those who grew up with nothing can also prevent them from forming personal and professional relationships with others. This means that they can struggle to work with others in some instances, while they may also experience trust issues that lead to a disconnected and difficult existence.
3. They struggle to form romantic relations and close friendships
On a similar note, those who are forced to purely focus on survival in their youth tend to develop an introspective and introverted personality. This is something that I can attest to myself, as I have also struggled to build close friendships with others even as I have entered adulthood. This comes from the lack of a fundamental social skill set, which is learned while attending school and interacting with other children in a carefree manner.
Additionally, those who are not nurtured as children or come from abusive homes are not set a positive example when it comes to forming loving, adult relationships. They are also loath to let their guard down, making it difficult to communicate effectively or share even positive feelings. This is something you need to bear in mind when entering a relationship with someone who experienced hardship in their youth, as the cultivation of trust and romance may take a little longer.
4. They may not have experienced a traditional education
While people who grew up with nothing may have significant book smarts, they may lack the type of structured and traditional education that so many of you may have enjoyed. I myself left school at 17, and the fact remains that youngsters without financial security or a stable, loving home are far more likely to move regularly and switch schools.
This type of disruption can significantly hinder formative education, making it difficult to become eligible for higher degree course in later life. As a result of this, affected individuals are forced to either pursue alternative and independent paths or carry their burden of their upbringing throughout adulthood.
5. They are not always motivated by the pursuit of self-serving goals
People that grow up with nothing often place their own interests to one side as they look to support others. This is a direct result of their upbringing, as they have an innate affinity with suffering and empathize with others as a way of preventing them from experiencing similar hardship.
6. They are not materialistic
Those who grew up with nothing have little or no interest in material possessions, however, as they have a broader understanding of life and have developed an appreciation for altogether more basic values. This means that they are more likely to appreciate and place a higher value on close friendships and family, while time spent in the company of loved ones is also given huge priority.
7. They may struggle to evolve as their circumstances improve
As children we learn more through example than words, so it stands to reason that our brains should be most receptive between the ages of two and five. This means that those who experience hardship during their youth quickly become accustomed to the harsh lessons of such a reality, creating a template that continues throughout later life.
As a result of this, these people may struggle to adapt their outlook or lifestyle as their circumstances improve. This means that while long-suffering individuals never lose touch with their childhood or their underlying resourceful, they can often fail to change their habits during more prosperous times.
8. They occasionally repeat the mistakes of their parents
If we assume that those who grew up with nothing struggle to adapt their lifestyle in a progressive manner, it is also fair to surmise that they are prone to repeating the mistakes of their parents. This can manifest itself in many ways, from an inability to showcase love for their children to an over-reliance on making food and products last for longer even when they have the money to replace them.
9. They may be unfairly cynical of tthers
We have already touched on how those who grow up with nothing may be exposed or hostile or neglectful personalities during their youth. This creates an innate sense of suspicion and mistrust in others, while it also forces some individuals to rely heavily on their instincts and develop genuine skill in reading the people around them.
While this can be a beneficial skill to have, an overwhelming sense of cynicism can cause you to become mistrustful of those who could actually have a positive influence on your life. By relying purely on instinct and past experience alone, those who grow old with nothing may struggle to build productive and mutually beneficial partnerships in later life.
10. They struggle to identify with their own culture
The principle of association is one of the underlying pillars of psychology, and one that can have a huge impact on children who grow up with nothing. This psychological principle creates associations that link our thought processes and specific circumstances, which in turn manifest themselves in our consciousness as we grow older.
As a result of this, a challenging and harrowing upbringing can create negative associations regarding cultural identity. While this leaves individuals disconnected from aspects of their own cultural identity, however, it also makes them more open to other values and alternative cultural beliefs.
Featured photo credit: Flickr / Rudolf Vlček via flickr.com