Have you ever thought about dating money? I am not talking about dating for money. I am talking about dating Money. Money like everything in life has a certain pazas, style and way of being. Or is it how I relate to Money that adds that extra flare and stress?
I believe all aspects of life that we relate to have been shaped by our life experiences and the way we relate to them. Let’s take money for example. How much do you worry about it? How much do you pay attention to it? How much are you willing to get intimate with it?
Just like any other relationship it varies depending on where and how I give it attention.
As a young person we grow up in a certain environment where money may be a sore point between our parents, spoken of (or not) been available more or less or barely. These experiences shape our relationship to it and how we then make life decisions. It also effects how we will respond to others in our lives. For example, some of us will get a raise and want to take our friends out to celebrate where others may even feel shame that they increased their income when others did not. I remember when I was younger and my sister and I would get an allowance. I was a saver and if I had more than her I would share mine so we would have the same. What does that say, was I generous, too giving, afraid or what? Whatever it was it says something about how I felt in relation to money and others. I believe it was a little of each. Yes, I am giving. Yes I was a little afraid to shine our more than my sister based on other family dynamics and yes it says something about my relationship to money.
For start take the Attachment Quiz below to see if you are more of a secure, avoidant, approach/avoidant or disorganized partner to money.
How did you score? Great. Whatever it was it is good information to start here and grow with your goals and desires.
Some helpful exercises I have done to help me become more mindful of my relationship to money include:
1. Keep it more organized in my wallet. Check and see are your bills respected or thrown in and kept folding the way the last person had them.
2. Feel gratitude for my earning and thanking those that gave them to me. In the old days, much less now but I still do it, as I endorse a check I received before I deposit it I say a gratitude statement for the person that gave it to me. This or something similar helps us to feel we are in the flow of giving and receiving money.
3. Stay in touch with money. Spend time caring for what you do have be it keeping up with your bookkeeping, investing, earning, saving and/or spending. Staying connected to money in some form is honors your relationship to it and can even help you expand. I have found it helps me feel organized and grounded.
Also, as with any relationship when we pay attention to it there is opportunity for the relationship to grow.
4. Talk about it with trusted ones. Money is a hard topic for people. It comes up in all our relationships. As therapists we may shy away from it, make up stories in our heads as to what people can or can’t pay us, it can tap into our own survival instincts and then how do we manage that in a session. With our office mates, bosses and other business associates it can also trigger various historical unresolved issues. Being mindful to our triggers and attending to them helps improve our relationship to our self, money and our colleagues, clients and even friends/family.
5. Know yourself and how you are with money also helps your relationships. Do you tend to spend, save, go into debt, or an investor. What do each of those characteristics say about you and your relationship to money? For example, as a spender I may feel fine about using my partner called money. But do I know whether I am taking advantage and going into debt? Or as a saver do I hoard money and not let it out of sight or am I willing to invest it and give the relationship some opportunities to “grow”.
These are some key points to explore. And, if you are like me as a therapist, I love to expand and grow all my relationships. Have fun and let us know what you think. And, if you are really curious come join us for the Embodying Financial Flow October 10-December 12. Details here