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Do you struggle with making financial decisions? Does thinking about your personal finances make you hate money and want to live without it? Yet, at the same time do you wish you had millions of dollars so you wouldn’t have to worry about money anymore?
Well, you’re not alone. Many of us have this ambivalent relationship with money. This is because on a deeper level we know that money isn’t the source of life, the end-all be-all so to speak, but our egos don’t know that so we are driven to act like it is.
Because of our egos, we are imprisoned in self-doubt and prevented from tapping into our financial management power. Our own self-doubts program us to hear fearful sounds that come from personal experience, society, and our own families.
This is why the selfish insecure voice is the voice that we listen to most often. These outside sounds and voices are very persuasive.
These persuasive voices create anxieties that become inextricably connected to our fear for survival and our self-doubts. As a result, many of us are terrified at managing our own money because we feel like we aren’t good at it.
We are being led astray with these self-doubts so it’s imperative that we understand the nature of our anxieties so we can resist them. The best place to start is by examining the three sources that cause our fear of managing money.
1. Personal Experience
This is the most difficult so it’s best to start here. It is never easy to look at yourself but to gain true understanding and power over your finances you must contend with your own personal experiences.
As soon as we step out into the world we are thrown into a moshpit of financial dealings. By this time we are already projecting the financial fears that we have learned from our families because our egos have been trained to upstage our power.
It is important to understand this because when we are in such a fearful mental state we often draw to ourselves anxiety-provoking situations and experiences. These anxiety-provoking experiences increase our negative, fearful attitude towards money.
Consequently, our fearful and negative attitudes towards money can really prevent us from being secure as money managers.
The influence of society is ever-present. Society’s influence is one that sends out fear-driven messages that money is happiness, power, love, and security. The society also sends a message that money is a commodity that should be chased after as our mission in life.
These messages come from social pressures that compel people to compensate for the emptiness they feel by striving for selfish fulfillment. And although we may inwardly rebel against these societal messages our spirits lack the force required to stifle them.
When subscribing to these beliefs the disillusionment people have about wealth giving them purpose and peace of mind are devastating. Remember purpose and peace of mind create wealth not the other way around.
So before we sell ourselves to the highest bidder we should first ask ourselves what is the cost to our souls? This is a viable question because the soul operates on intangibles such as meaningful purposes. Our souls cannot be bribed by any amount of money to be happy.
But also remember that there must be some balance because fighting against the dollar is just as painful as striving for it. Many of us live in despair over money and spend our lives criticizing it because we don’t want to play the game and don’t want to subscribe to society’s money obsession.
This is a disillusionment as well because we can let our minds get trapped into judging the outward financial inequalities of society. And by doing this we become so overwhelmed by the power structure that disconnecting from ‘the system’ becomes a goal for us.
Nevertheless copping out or ‘disconnecting’ isn’t a healthy attitude to have because it doesn’t get rid of our anxieties it just prolongs them.
A family is the most pervasive source of our financial anxieties. We become a part of our family’s financial anxieties and struggles from the moment we enter the womb.
To be able to come to terms with our anxieties we need to look at our family’s financial history and see how we have been shaped and influenced by it. And then we must put our new insights to work to get rid of the fearful attitudes that we’ve inherited.
Parents start teaching management from the beginning of a child’s financial life. These teachings usually come with caveats or rigid financial rules, which unless used compassionately, become fear-inducing proclamations that attack our self-worth as children.
Do you remember hearing this as a kid every time you asked for money?
- “Do you think I’m made of money”
- “Money doesn’t grow on trees”
These type of responses are projections of our parents’ own financial frustrations and aren’t necessarily meant to be hurtful. However, the anxiety these responses create can stay with someone since childhood.
The rules that are taught and the responses to requests for money are just the beginning of a fear-induced pattern of thinking. The beginning of a pattern of thinking about money that pervades our lives growing up.
A major reason why as children we had negative attitudes towards money is that continual financial fighting within our families. These arguments created uneasy feelings in us that got compounded when our parents refused to discuss their finances openly.
As children, we had no basis for understanding the reasons behind the arguments we heard. Adding to this lack of understanding was also the fact that our parents weren’t trained sufficiently in personal finance to really understand their own situations.
It’s not surprising that our parents avoided discussing issues with us as kids since the subject intimidates them. Although what is surprising is how devastating the effects can be of their withholding this information.
Since children already feel their parents’ concerns and telling them won’t make them feel any worse, parents are better off explaining dollars and cents to their kids. Especially when families are really suffering financial hardship.
In fact, if parents shared this information with their children then their plight would become more real and understandable. Actually by letting their children know the financial facts they will become much more responsible.
Also if given responsibility and basic skills for earning and managing their own money, children would have much less fear of doing it. Most parents think they are protecting them and aren’t aware that they are actually exposing them to a serious financial indisposition.
In their fears and engrossment with money, parents lose their perspective on what really matters in family life.
It may not seem like it but all of this is great news! Pinpointing our sources of fear creates a great opportunity for us. By truly recognizing and understanding these we can use our own self-awareness to release the fearful money attitudes that were driven into us as kids.
These are just the tip of the iceberg, a starting point, for taking some self-inventory to help you gain insight into your financial identity. Remember anything you want is possible to have. Stay strong, stay disciplined and have fun.