Few topics of conversation tend to provoke more stress than money and financial issues. From an early age, we are taught that talking about our finances is taboo and somehow shameful. The majority of people would never dream of confessing to others how much they earn, unless their income is really something to brag about. Couples are apt to argue more about their cash flow and where their money gets spent than about any other issue. For many people, thoughts about money consume much of their time: “How can I generate more of it?” “Can I really afford my car payment?” “How will I pay off my credit card bills?”
The media also constantly feed us a message of scarcity. We hear about unemployment rates, the struggling economy, inflation, and the high cost of living. We are continually competing with one another for fear that there is not enough to go around. Many people live from paycheck to paycheck, with “shortages” and “lack” making up a big part of their daily vocabulary, and yet never before have we lived in such a world of abundance.
Understanding Our Feelings Toward Money
So where do such deep-seated beliefs come from? Our feelings around money are often closely intertwined with our own sense of self-worth. The lower our self-esteem, the less we feel that we deserve a life of abundance. On a deep level, most people believe that they are unworthy of living the life they truly desire and therefore settle for an ordinary life, although they may dream of someday hitting the jackpot or winning the lottery. Often they fear that they would be criticized or ridiculed if they truly put themselves in the spotlight by following their inner calling and becoming a light for others to follow. Another common fear is failure, so many spend their lives regretting what could have been, if only they had taken a chance and tried. “Better safe than sorry” tends to be a common motto in today’s society.
Our relationship with money is tenuous at best. We say we desire more of it, yet we perpetuate the notion of lack rather than visualizing the possibility of prosperity. We fear that we may become corrupt if we become rich instead of considering all the good we could do in the world if we were wealthy. We hold onto our funds as tightly as possible, saving up for a rainy day, when we could be putting it to better use by investing in our future.
Reducing Money-Related Stress
So how do we go about changing our love-hate relationship with money and begin to open ourselves to a life of abundance instead? First and foremost, we need to stop perpetuating the notion of scarcity by constantly dwelling on that which we feel we are lacking. A better approach is to start focusing on all that we are grateful for and to bring our awareness instead to all of the abundance that already exists in our lives: the air we breathe, our amazing bodies, our families and friends, and the beauty of nature all around us. Try making a gratitude list of your own and thinking of at least one new thing to be thankful for every day.
Another way to reduce your stress about money and begin to expand your wealth consciousness is to become more conscientious about the vocabulary that you use. Start to notice how many times during the day you are speaking or thinking of lack: “My paycheck is spent before I even get it.” “I’ll never be able to afford that.” “I don’t have enough to invest in the things I need.” After taking note for a couple of days, try to change your thoughts and words to a more positive outlook: “I earn enough to cover all of my expenses.” “The universe provides for all of my needs.” “I am attracting wealth into my life.” Start to visualize the life that you would like to attract, imagining every detail of what it would look like and how wonderful it would make you feel.
First and foremost, we need to stop perpetuating the notion of scarcity by constantly dwelling on that which we feel we are lacking. A better approach is to start focusing on all that we are grateful for and to bring our awareness instead to all of the abundance that already exists in our lives: the air we breathe, our amazing bodies, our families and friends, and the beauty of nature all around us.
Please note that this is not about denying your current monetary situation or turning a blind eye to any debt that you may have incurred. In fact, you may need to sit down and come up with a budget to determine your actual monthly expenditures to help relieve any stress that you may be dealing with. As money tends to be such a delicate subject, many people just try to ignore it and are therefore totally unaware of their expenses, which can create very stressful situations. Finding ways to cut back and live within one’s means can be a first step to dealing with money in a healthier way.
As money is closely connected with our sense of self-worth, working to improve your self-esteem can also help to improve your relationship with money. Some ways in which this can be done is by means of a spiritual or meditation practice, by uncovering your underlying beliefs and challenging them, or by working with a therapist to help heal your inner wounds.
Choosing to transform our relationship with money begins by learning to count our blessings for all that we already have and changing the stories that we tell others and ourselves on a daily basis. When we start to convey a more expansive tale of prosperity, rather than one of scarcity and lack, we begin to attract greater wealth into our lives. We then come to realize that we are the creators of our own universe and that it is up to us to manifest the life of abundance that we truly desire.
© Copyright 2014 GoodTherapy.org. All rights reserved. Permission to publish granted by Wendy Salazar, MFT, therapist in San Diego, California
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