Improving Your Relationship with Money
Money is a topic that is often associated with some of the most intense emotions in people’s lives. It’s one of the common causes of stress, anxiety, frustration, and conflict in people’s lives. Money has the tendency to not only cause angst within an individual but is one of the most frequent causes of strife within couple’s and amongst extended family members. Learning how to have a more constructive relationship with money can not only eliminate a great deal of distress in one’s life and relationships but can provide true freedom to live your ideal life.
Understanding Your Core Beliefs About Money
If you’re not satisfied with how much money you have or how you manage it, you can be almost certain that you have some dysfunctional beliefs about how to relate to money. Inheriting dysfunctional beliefs about money either from our families, society, culture or religion is an extremely common phenomenon. It is these dysfunctional beliefs that are the root cause of people’s struggles when it comes to money. Uncovering these beliefs and then consciously rewriting them with more constructive ways of approaching money is key to helping you achieve financial abundance. Otherwise, you will unfortunately find yourself trapped in a perpetual loop repeating the same dysfunctional patterns with money over and over again.
Let’s begin by looking at some of the most common dysfunctional beliefs people have about money. As we go through these beliefs, make note of the ones that particularly resonate with you. If any strike even the slightest cord within you, it is likely that you are holding onto this or a similar belief. Bringing those dysfunctional beliefs to your conscious awareness is the first step for being able to successfully move beyond them.
Common Dysfunctional Core Beliefs About Money
Your Net Worth Determines Your Self-Worth: One of the most common dysfunctional beliefs about money is that your self-worth is conditional on how much money you make or the material assets you have. This common belief comes from determining your self-worth from the perspective of the ego versus that of the unique consciousness (their true self). Individuals who view their self worth based on their ego have fallen into the trap of defining their self-worth conditionally either based on something external to themselves (income, material possessions etc.) or how they compare to others (e.g., trying to keep up with the Jones).
Anytime you buy into the ego’s notion is that your self-worth is conditional, you’ve guaranteed yourself a certain level of perpetual anxiety, insecurity, and perhaps depression as well. The ego’s definition of who you are feels like a house of cards, at any point it can come tumbling down – if that raise doesn’t come through, your stocks dip, or you go through a financial hardship.
In order to actually make any genuine progress, you must define yourself from the perspective of the unique consciousness (your true self) and understand that your self-worth is truly unconditional – it is not tied to the amount of money you have nor any other condition in your life. Now I understand this perspective goes counter to what many of us have typically learned from our families and society/culture but if you are seeking genuine contentment and fulfillment in life, adopting the fundamental belief that your self-worth is unconditional (not dependent upon money nor anything else) is an a pre-requisite. Feeling like you have to constantly chase and maintain your self-worth is mutually exclusive from finding true contentment and living your ideal life.
I’m Not Deserving Enough
Unfortunately, a common belief related to one’s self-worth is the fundamental feeling that you are somehow “not deserving” or “not good enough” to accumulate abundance in the same way as others. These, or any related beliefs, also reflect the trap of defining your self-worth conditionally. To counter such beliefs, consciously remind yourself that your self-worth is inherent in the fact that you are a unique human being. As such, your self-worth is neither no more or less than any other unique human being. While many people fall into the trap of thinking they are more important than others – recognize that for what it is. It comes out of insecurity pure and simple. Those individuals who are most secure and realize that their worth is inherent, understand they are no more or less important than any other human being – we are all just separate pieces of the puzzle that creates our world. We all have our piece to play and no piece is more or less valuable than any other (despite what many may believe).
Money is Something You Always Have to Struggle For or Worry About
Another unfortunate common dysfunctional belief is that money is something that you need to be always concerned about, that you will never have enough of and that you must always struggle to try and accumulate at least enough to get by. If you grew up in a family where your parents often worried about money, argued about bills, or expressed that “we can’t afford that” frequently, it is quite likely that you’ve accumulated beliefs focusing more on the lack of money rather than beliefs about your ability to accumulate money. Shifting these lack beliefs to ones where you feel more empowered to accumulate the wealth you desire is crucial if you are to genuinely improve your relationship with money.
An Us Versus Them Mentality
Many of us have grown up with the programming that there are separate socioeconomic (SES) classes (rich, poor, middle class) to which people “belong.” Our cultural and political system also unfortunately feed right into this notion of an “us” versus “them” mentality when it comes to money. The difficulty with breaking free from our patterns surrounding money comes from our tendency to start identifying ourselves as members of a certain SES group and thinking we are supposed to be poor, middle class or wealthy.
As human beings, we tend to have a bias against leaving a group with which we have identified ourselves. Inclusion in groups such as our family, village, and/or extended community has always served an important purpose in terms of our survival. Unconsciously, once we have identified ourselves with a certain SES group, it would actually be natural for us to sabotage financial opportunities that might lead us to be excluded by the SES group to which we were born. Our unconscious mind would likely choose group inclusion versus financial success because it would deem it more important to our survival from an evolutionary standpoint.
Therefore, if you would like to increase your financial well-being and happen to have been born to a middle or lower SES class, you would first have to consciously ask yourself if you are open to increasing your net worth – even if it would threaten acceptance by and support of those closest to you. Otherwise, your unconscious mind would likely sabotage anything it seems would threaten your acceptance by a group it deems important for your well-being.
Wanting to Be Wealthy is a Sin
Another point of resistance to financial abundance in many people lives is that from early on either from their families or through their religions they were taught that wanting to be wealthy was somehow a sin. Many people have grown up in societies or religions where the rich have been vilified and associated with greed, exploitation, power and materialism. They may have been taught that being a “good” person and wanting to be wealthy are mutually exclusive.
As long as your mind has been programmed to believe that being financially wealthy is somehow “bad,” then again it will unconsciously avoid or repel opportunities for you to dramatically increase your financial standing. In order to overcome such programming, you need to start consciously realizing that money is not inherently evil or bad. Whether money is “good” or “evil” doesn’t depend upon money itself but in whose hands it is held and what their motives are.
Changing Your Core Beliefs About Money
Becoming more aware of your beliefs about money and wealth is the first necessary step for you to positively change your financial picture. If you’ve found yourself relating to some of the above dysfunctional beliefs about money, the positive thing is that you’re starting to become aware of some of the beliefs that have been holding you back from enjoying true prosperity. The next step is to begin to consciously start replacing these thoughts with more constructive ones. Below are some core constructive beliefs about money to at least begin your reprogramming:
Constructive Belief #1: It’s okay to be wealthy
If you want to improve your financial well being, you must first consciously give your permission and be at peace with doing so – otherwise, you will be fighting a continuous uphill battle with your unconscious mind. If you are part of a family or group that would actually ostracize you should you seek to move beyond their SES status, are you at peace with coping with the possible consequences of doing so? Has you own conscience given you “permission” to fully pursue financial abundance realizing that it is part of your inherent purpose to do so? Or is there still part of you that questions the morality of doing so. Fully adopting the belief that pursuing financial abundance is a natural and healthy aspect to fulfilling your potential is an important step in improving your relationship with money.
Constructive Belief #2: You’re Capable of Accumulating Wealth – it is within your control
One of the key differences in how wealthy people tend to think about money versus those of other financial classes is that they tend to have what we call an internal locus of control meaning that they believe they have the ability to take the necessary actions to increase the level of wealth in their lives. People from the poor or middle class tend to have more of an external locus of control which implies that forces outside themselves – the economy, being born in the “right” family or not, luck or being in the “right place at the right time” etc. are more responsible for their financial well being then they are.
If you really wish to improve your financial situation, you need to understand that the power to do so is within your control. You must believe you are capable of learning the necessary skills and knowledge to acquire wealth and you must be willing to take the necessary actions for making things happen to increase your financial well being. So many people either don’t believe they are capable of doing certain things (so they don’t even try) or are simply unwilling to take the actions needed to positively transform their finances.
Constructive Belief #3: Developing your gifts and talents and sharing your abundance with the world is part of your life’s purpose
The more you are able to free yourself from the trap of your ego and connect with your unique consciousness (who you truly are), the more a sense of positive energy, growth and expansion will flow into your life. The more connected to your unique consciousness you become, the more you will be passionately driven to develop your talents and gifts then share them with the world. Many times financial abundance becomes a natural byproduct of doing just that. Some of the most financially successful people in the world today have become wealthy not by chasing their self worth through the ego, but simply by continuously developing themselves and their talents and gifts then sharing them with the world in some way share or form. That is the path to true abundance. Once someone has achieved this type of abundance you will also notice that they are typically the greatest philanthropists seeking only to empower others as well.
Beliefs Are Necessary But Not Sufficient
One you have begun to change your dysfunctional beliefs regarding money and consciously replaced them with more constructive one, you’ve taken a key step toward improving your relationship with money. However, in order to make genuine enduring progress changing our beliefs is a necessary but not sufficient step. We must infuse our beliefs with emotion. Think about your beliefs as the tracks for a train. The locomotive will follow whatever beliefs or tracks you lay out for it. But the fuel that actually powers the engine of the locomotive is our emotions.
In order to generate strong emotions for anything we want in our lives, we must have a true and enduring desire for whatever we are envisioning (Hill, 2005). It is desire that fuels our emotions. Desire is much more than simply a want we might have. Desire comes from our deepest core – our unique consciousness. Our egos can generate plenty of wants but only our unique consciousness can generate true desires.
It is our emotions which strengthen the pathways (tracks) along which are minds operate. It is important to understand that you must infuse your beliefs or expectations with strong desire or emotion and be willing to take actions consistent with your expectations in order to create the financial reality you are seeking.
Once you have consciously engaged more constructive beliefs around money and tapped into your true desires coming from your unique consciousness, the final step in reality creation is taking action on a consistent basis to help manifest your goals. Every action you take, even small steps, that are consistent with your constructive beliefs reinforce those neural networks in your mind and help develop habits that help create a financial reality for you that is consistent with your ideal life.
As we have discussed previously, many times when someone is trying to take action outside their comfort zone or typical patterns, the ego will generate fear and doubt to try and sabotage such attempts at change. This phenomenon is all the more reason it is necessary to tap into and stay connected to one’s true passions and desires. It is the power associated with our true passions and desires that helps us maintain our focus and persevere towards our goals in spite of adversity. Without the power of our passions and true desires, the fears and doubts of the ego all too often win out and halt our manifestation process.
In addition to the power of true desire, a coach can also be key to helping you work past the fears and doubts of the ego and take the consistent action you need to create abundance in your life.
Lisa Lentino and Tim Dingle
Eker, T.H. (2005). Secrets of the millionaire mind: mastering the inner game of wealth. New York, NH: HarperCollins Publishers, Inc.
Hill, N. (2005). Think and grow rich: the landmark bestseller – now revised and updated for the 21st century. New York, NY: Penguin Group, Inc.
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