Your Relationship With Money

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Dear Jane,
I feel like I have a love/hate relationship with money. How can I change this so that I am more financially secure?

Most of us struggle, at one time or another, about money. But what is that struggle really about? I read an article in USA Today about couples and their relationship with money. Most of the advice they received had to do with planning ahead, paying down high credit card debts, discussing long-term financial goals, etc. This is all worthy advice; however, our relationship with money runs much deeper, sometimes at an unconscious level. Here are a few questions I ask myself whenever I am in “lack consciousness,” where I worry about not having enough of something, whether it’s enough money, time, resources, help, skill, compassion–whatever I’m focused on lacking at that particular moment.
1. Where is the real feeling of lack coming from?
When I judge that I don’t have enough, I must, in some way, be judging myself as not being enough. As a result, I may manifest that judgment in the form of lack of financial resources.
2. What else might I be avoiding by focusing on money concerns? If I’m not living in my deepest truth or fulfilling my purpose and am afraid to address this, perhaps because I feel overwhelmed by the changes I might be required to initiate, I may find it easier to create money problems to focus on. Money can seem so concrete and real.
3. Am I seeking sympathy from others? If I create financial neediness, am I really needing love, compassion, sympathy, attention, or understanding from others? Is my money “problem” a way of indirectly getting my needs met because I am ashamed of this need?
4. Am I giving enough love, compassion, etc. to myself or is that where the lack really stems from?
5. If I’m fighting with my partner about money, what are we really fighting about? Is one of us resentful about something else? Do either of us feel undervalued by the other?
6. If I overspend, why am I filling up with stuff (material goods)? Is it that I don’t trust I can be filled up in any other way? What else do I really need?
I hope this blog offers you the opportunity to heal your relationship with money. But more than that, I hope that you allow more abundance of every kind into your heart and your life.

4 Responses to “Your Relationship With Money”

  1. Dr. Brad Klontz Says:

    Jane, I couldn’t agree more! Let’s face it, we all know the basics about what we need to do with money- save more, spend less than we make, stick to a budget, make a will, etc. However, more of the nuts-and-bolts information about money is not going to help us until we are ready to use it. So what keeps us from doing what we know we need to do around money? A recent survey by the American Psychological Association showed that 73% of Americans identify money as the #1 stressor in their lives, above issues like children, work and health! Statistics reveal that the average family carrying a credit card balance owes more than $9,000! Also, did you know that last year more children watched their parents go through bankruptcy than go through a divorce! And this from one of the wealthiest nations in the world! Many of us erroneously believe that the answer to our financial woes is to have more money. But research is very clear that there is no significant correlation between money and happiness once a household’s income is above $50,000 (enough to care for basic needs), and as America has gotten wealthier, we have also seen corresponded increases in the prevalence of depression and despair. Our problems with money are NOT ABOUT THE MONEY, and that is why more information about money won’t help! Our problems ARE about our RELATIONSHIPS WITH MONEY! Until we understand this and begin to explore our personal and generational history around money, examine, challenge and change our maladaptive money scripts, and heal our related emotional wounds, we will continue to operate in an unconscious and self-defeating manner around money. Ebenezer Scrooge, from Charles Dicken’s “A Christmas Carol”, is the ultimate model of how this type of transformation can take place. He experienced a “wake-up” call from the Ghost of Jacob Marley, showing him the agony that awaits him if he doesn’t change his ways. The Ghost of Christmas Past took him on a journey to visit his painful childhood, during which he expressed repressed feelings and gained new insights related to how his past shaped his money beliefs and behaviors. This freed him up to see the world with clarity, guided by the Ghost of Christmas Present. The Ghost of Christmas Future showed him what would happen if he didn’t externalize with real life action his newly experienced internal transformation! If one of the most despised characters in English literature can change, so can we all! But we have to be willing to wake-up and take the journey!

  2. Jane Straus Says:

    Beautifully said, Brad. Thank you for the stats as well as for the reminder from Dickens.

  3. Jennifer Says:

    The subject is fascinating as I do believe that repressed feelings from our past do shape our “money beliefs & behaviors”. I can really relate to Jane’s six questions we might ask ourselves about current money problems too.
    Number Six leaps out at me because I believe that we often fill up “psychic or spiritual voids” with compulsive behaviors around eating, drinking, sex and certainly around money. Some of us go on shopping sprees the way an alcoholic goes on a binge or someone with an eating disorder empties the refrigerator. Conversely, the way an anoerexic deprives themselves of food, some of us will work hard to scrimp and save, but fear that it’s never enough to make them feel secure enough to spend some of it occasionally or if they do not without terrible guilt.
    Number Five also got my attention as I feel that money in our society is often used to show how we feel about each other and how we feel about ourselves. We often resent people who have what we perceive as more than we do (comparing our insides with their outsides).
    Thanks for making me think about these issues as they are very much in my life and “acting out” as I write this.

  4. Jane Straus Says:

    Jennifer, I find your comment about comparing our insides with others’ outsides to be insightful and right on target. Thanks for your thoughts.

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