If you are happy with your financial situation and money is your friend… first of all, congratulations. Secondly, this article is not for you.
This post is for those of us who are still working through “money issues”.
I don’t know about you, but the mere thought of “money” makes me cringe a little. It used to be a lot and it’s gotten better but there’s still something stuck in there…
How it all started
I’ve been trying to remember the first time I became aware of money, when I was a child. I can’t really remember the very first time, but I remember getting money for my fifth birthday and everybody making a really big deal about it.
“Wow, say thank you to your auntie!” my parents said and nodded their heads with wide grins, like I had received the Eiffel Tower.
What they meant, of course, was say thank you to your auntie for her kind gesture.
What I understood, at that young age, was: “Why is everyone making such a big deal out of these pieces of paper? I don’t get it but okay… they ARE a big deal. If you say so…”
I understood then that money WAS a really big deal for everyone. And, from the way they were talking about it, I also gathered that nobody had enough.
As fate would have it, a little while later around the age of 7, my father got really sick. Money did play a part in this because there was a running belief in the family that, had we had more money, we would have been able to save him. Ka-BOOM! Money was officially THE BAD GUY.
It only went downhill from there. After my father’s passing, my mother (understandably) lost it for a while. Which meant, among other things, that we almost had no money at all. As in, for food.
(Sidenote: I’m just trying to describe the origins and evolution of my money beliefs here, not club you with a sad life story so hang in there.)
I added the following beliefs to the money folder:
- women can’t make money
- money is really, really, really hard to come by
- people struggle for their basic needs. We call this “survival” and it’s horrible.
- who came up with this “life” game and made us suffer so??
- loving money is a terrible, terrible thing because money is evil
- money is a necessary evil
You can imagine the joy I felt when I went to work at the age of twenty one.
In fact, I did have a lot of joy but that was because I loved the people I was working with. Money, I told myself, didn’t matter.
So for years I sabotaged my financial situation in a million subtle – and not so subtle – ways.
I gave money away to people simply because they asked.
I worked for pennies when others in my field were making thousands.
I stayed stuck in jobs I should have long quit.
I never saved or invested.
I stayed away from people who had money because they were… well, weird.
All in all, this love-hate relationship with money permeated pretty much all aspects of my life and it wasn’t exactly pretty.
With time and experience, things started to change. I began to re-examine my beliefs and my thoughts, because I was fed up with living a sucky life. Not having (enough) money, let’s be honest, sucks.
I had to confront, first of all, my belief that money is “the bad guy”. When this began to change, things started to change.
It is still a work in progress for me, as I can’t quite say I am 100% happy with my finances, but I am okay.
I have even managed to look at money and think of it as “happy”. For the little girl who still lives inside my head, this is an anomaly.
Here is a list of my re-structured beliefs:
- Money is a tool.
It is neither good, nor bad, any more than a broom or a fork. It is what we do with it that matters.
- Money responds to emotions.
I noticed a funny thing over the years: whenever I went through periods of intense happiness (falling in love, travelling, making new friends), the money thing seemed to take care of itself. The better I feel in general, the better my finances are.
- Money is a form of “congealed energy”.
Money flows between people just like an electrical current flowing through a piece of wire. We are actually the generators of that current – with our thoughts and emotions that then translate into actions, products and services that we “direct” towards other people.
In conclusion: finances need to be looked at and tended to with kindness and patience, like any living thing.
These days I make it a point to cultivate good feelings when it comes to money:
I also discovered that I don’t need to specifically apply these emotions to the subject of money. It is enough to look for them in other places: ease in the connection with my husband; fun in going to the movies; comfort in my favorite pillow; relief in finding a babysitter for my son.
Does this bring more money in?
It actually does. After about a week of doing this on purpose, money started to come in in strange and fun ways: a friend of mine asked me to go into business together making toys (I LOVED the idea), so we did; the electricity company refunded us about 300 (they said we overpaid); my in-laws gave me cash for my birthday (it was a belated present so I wasn’t expecting it); clients from my freelancing business started to pay their bills, after months of me chasing after them.
I can’t explain exactly how this works. My thinking is that is has to do with the fact that this physical world, “material” though it seems, is actually energy. Energy connected and flowing. So any change in one place is bound to affect changes in other places.
The other way I think of it is this: it’s like playing music on the piano. One note played on one piano will resonate with another note played on a second piano. The harmony is the same. So I can “play”, for example, the note of “joy” on my “playing with my son” piano and it will resonate with the “finances” piano. I know it’s a bit strange, but it sort of makes sense. Doesn’t it?
10 Good books about money (or getting what you want – money included):