Substituting spending for caring

I’m sick, so this is not going to make a lot of sense. I’m also talking around an issue because I don’t feel comfortable explaining the actual situation clearly because I care about people. So I’m writing something kind of shitty instead of being clear or talking to the parties involved. Hopefully, I’ll grow out of this.

I am guilty of a social problem. In our society, we act as though the amount of money we spend on a person is equivalent to our love for that person. We act as if those to things should be approximately equal, as though they are approximately equal.

I fall into this trap all the time. I love grand gestures, I love great restaurants, I love to spend money on quality occasions with people I care about. I buy gifts at Christmas because I want my family to know that I love them. I go out to eat on Valentine’s Day (or around then) because I want to do something special with Boyfriend, or we go out on each other’s birthdays to recognize the day. I do what we do in society. We buy things to celebrate. We go out to eat to celebrate a promotion, or buy a new outfit, or a car. We spend lavishly on weddings to show how important this one day is to us. We spend as a substitute for using our words, for saying how we feel. And sometimes we spend because we can’t say how we feel.

I’m guilty of this, but I can’t afford this. I can’t buy my way to showing love. I can’t spend my way to expression. I literally do not have the money to do this. So words are going to have to do. My presence, in my second hand shirt and jeans instead of a pretty, new dress, is going to have to be enough. And the people in my life are going to have to believe me when I say that I care about them, even if I can’t buy them something to help them remember, even if I can’t afford the plane ticket to be there in person. Trust me. I care.

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