And, when we do, then why is it even harder to feel good about it?
Mmm, hard, cold, inquisitive type of Qs that could whip our superficial and unoriginal money beliefs into order, no?
To be honest, these questions have plagued my mind for a longest time, and it took me a while to even understand them, leave alone try to answer them. Why? Because these questions exist in layers, and every time I peel one layer, and try to answer it, I am confronted with another. And then, the answer to the previous layer just doesn’t cut it but I still have to deal with yet another layer.
Basically, I am in tears with this onion like conundrum. *sniff sniff*
So, here’s what I did.
Over a period of a week, I noticed my habits, thoughts and actions related to money. Anytime I had to make a monetary decision, like pay a bill or purchase grocery or sign up kids for a class, I stopped myself and observed where that thinking was coming from – was it based on facts or assumptions or conditioning? Then I noticed the feels. Was I feeling constricted/frustrated/angered by the situation? Or was I thriving on peace/happiness/openness about making that monetary decision? This simple yet powerful exercise gave me a ninja status…kinda’…and I was able to slice through the layered question dilemma (as mentioned above) with the neatness and calmness of a sensei.
There are a few other ways that we can come over the mental blocks about money, and I will discuss those later. But first, let’s talk about why it is hard to make good money decisions
- There is confusion about the relationship between self-worth and financial standing. Truly these two attributes should be mutually exclusive because you can attain either of these without being subjected to the limitations of the other. When we doubt our self-worth, we assume we should not be financially free. And, when we are in financial hell hole, then we automatically bring down our self-worth. So, our money decisions become harder because we create unnecessary dependencies and relations, without truly knowing why we are doing this.
- We rely too much on approval and appreciation of others, and hence subject ourselves to being paralyzed with making a sound judgement on our monetary choices. In an effort to please, we fool ourselves into believing we are doing ourselves a favor, when infact we couldn’t be further from the truth
- Conditioning passed down from family and not being educated about money and finances from an early age. This lack of exposure to making sound financial decisions from young age hangs on to us like a shadow, popping up as soon as words such as “investments” “purchases” “mortgages” or “retirement” are mouthed
- We think money is evil and consider any decision related to as one step closer to the fiery world. What we fail to understand is that money is not the solution, it is not the destination. It is the resource/tool that takes us on our journey and so like we need air to breathe, we need money to live. And, it is perfectly fine to love or to want money
Hopefully there was enough clarity on the issue at hand, because honestly, personal finance blogs usually don’t get down to this basic emotional level. But until you have cleared out the cobwebs here, how can you attain FIRE or FF or any Financial nirvana status. Nope, not going to happen without some soul searchin’ first because you will end up making the same mistakes over and over, in different ways.
And, now that we know the reasons causing financial asphyxiation (sorta’), let’s explore simple tricks to work out our money dilemmas.
For starters, here is a simple exercise.
- Take a deeeeep breath through your nose.
- Hold your breath to the count of 1-2-3
- And, breathe out through your nose
** Repeat three times **
Now do the deep breathing exercise mentioned above, and when you hold your breath this time, just say the word Money – three times. You can say it out loud or quietly. Observe your feelings, right in this moment, when you say money. Without any harshness or judgement towards yourself. Just ‘look’ at your feelings. Do you feel any one of these:
- light hearted
- heavy chested
Your feelings will allow you to become aware of your inherent relationship with money. It will force you to come face to face with whatever it is, and the best part is, from this point on, things just have to get better.
This works. Try it once.
Another simple trick is to keep a notes log on your phone. One app that works amazingly, in addition to the simple ‘Notes’ one is Evernote. All you have to do is for one month, jot down all the money conversations you had. Don’t worry about the length of the conversation – even if it is a passing comment, just log it. Soon you will see a trend forming. That trend will be your live data interpretation, which will be unique and personal to you, and will give you a very good overview of the type of money (or wealth) beliefs you hold. Unlocking this knowledge will be akin to unlocking the mental blocks.
freak-on evernote on! Holla!
Enlist the help of your really really close friend or sibling to be your accountability partner. As you start heading down the path of financial freedom (and you don’t have to announce to the world until after you have reached it), it is ok to allow one person to be your sounding board as you hit roadblocks. The key factor is that you have to be absolutely close to this person, and he/she should know you from inside out so that they don’t offer support out of their own assumptions and judgement of you. It has to come from a place of understanding, and patience. Explore the wide horizons of money love, and as you do, have a partner who can ride along the glory with you, without taking you off the road.
While really awesome blogs like this, this and this can give you the exact mathematical and analytical steps on how to grow your financial nest. I hope this lil’ blogpost of mine will show you how to grow your financial well being so you can then implement the tips and tricks you learn from these technical blogs.
Ps. Drop in a lil’ note and let me know if you tried any of the tricks and what your experience was with it.