Why we should give more than a dime on our financial self-care
Nowadays, it seems like time and money are the biggest subjects ever. Maybe because we feel we never have enough of any of these? Take note: I said feel. There is a huge difference between feeling and having. Perception plays a key role in how we feel and perception is based on so many things that when a person wants to take an honest look at their finances one can only glance at the financial tips we can find in magazines and online. Yes this information is great because we are not all experts at everything. When we moved from Canada, I was glad to find some information online about how credits scores worked as it was different here than in my country of origin. However, beyond the obvious financial plan as well as the more specific advice we can get from professionals there is one crucial area of our finances that we can be accountable for: our mental and emotional relationship to money.
Maybe you wonder why I added this aspect into a wellness wheel. Well, have you noticed how much living in poverty or beyond your means can negatively impact your health? Can you find any other aspect of the wellness wheel not affected when the financial health part is not under control? Chances are there are nutrition decisions made that are less desirable when there is not enough money to buy fresh produce or organic meat, let’s say. What about stress or lack of sleep, maybe even arguments with a spouse or loved one? Working a second job to make ends meet effects the occupational realm. It also has been proven if we look more on a global scale that poverty leads ultimately to violence. Convinced? Let’s get busy then!
The real deep work starts not as much as in how much we make but how much we keep. And how much we keep is partly related to our belief system. What we really avoid emotionally can be found when going beyond the ‘’skip Starbucks and put the coffee money aside for family vacation’’. If a person is unable to manage his or her first out of school income of, let’s say $25,000.00 a year, chances are the issue will be the same even if this person’s income doubles, triples, or quadruples unless there is a shift.
It is said that people experiencing financial wellness may have these habits:
- Managing their money and establishing a personal budget.
- Not living beyond their means.
- Learning to not let money be the driving force of their life.
- Donating some of their money to a cause they believe in.
- Making plans to payback their loans.
- Not getting into credit card debt. Paying off the entire balance each month to avoid interest.
- Thinking long term – emergency fund, savings account, retirement plan, etc.
- This is not at all an exhaustive list but just a basic one and my aim here is not to play the financial advisor either.
If we are honest, we can all take a look at this brief list and see where we can make improvements. Without a deep hard look at how we relate to money we won’t be able to sustain any noble new habits. If there is an emotional tie to money management (and who does not have any? I wonder…) this is what we need to address first. Here comes clarity again!
We all have habits that are detrimental to our financial health, even if we can pay our bills on time without any interest. Think about what people call shopping therapy. This is a false sense of indulgence . This is NOT self-care I can assure you! This society has been good to create the sense of us not being enough for a lot of reasons. If you add your personal story to it, which includes probably guilt or shame, this could be an interesting web to detangle, but not impossible.
The idea is to really mindfully observe our spending behavior, our earning behavior and in between see how we hold onto things for the wrong reasons. Somewhere in my life I had been guilty of all three! Hopefully not at the same time, but it would not be surprising either. Consumption has become an addiction and a coping mechanism to a lot of us. This is also a way to numb and avoid what hurts, pretty much like entertainment too. I was shocked to witness how many people were attending a hockey game knowing the ticket price. Some are regulars…We got free tickets and even though this was a great evening for us all, I cannot see myself doing any type of entertainment at this price point regularly. It would skim the savings account for sure!
Get back in the driver’s seat!
The first step with anything we need to change or transform, is to name it. I always say to my clients: Name it to tame it! This is one huge step as when this is identified well we can direct our efforts in the right direction.
It is interesting to look back at our parents’ lives, our childhood and past years in general to identify where we have picked up some of these habits and what is the emotional correlation that was created.
Once a financial destructive habit has been named it is time to target to dissolve the emotional tie. Sadness, grief and forgiveness can all be part of this process depending on how impactful this event had or still has on our lives. Do not try to skip a step, as we all know this will not make us go any faster. Honor each and every step of the way for the learning lesson you are gaining. There are tools one can use to remove these emotional ties. Whatever type of mind body and emotional help I get, I always pair it up with my essential oils, used aromatically. It gives me real empowerment and I can attest definite progress in between sessions; as some of you may know, essential oils have vibrations, which in turn, help us stay in a better state of wellness).
If earning money is easy for you, great! It is not for me yet. On the other hand, I have attracted a man that has no difficulty in earning a good income whatsoever. So I tend to believe that maybe there was a good reason for this, like the vocation to be a mother at home or I needed to support his vocation by having a more involved role when the kids were little and he was building his career. I have been in the workforce again for the last 3-4 years and I know that being away from the workplace for a long time has had an impact on my self-confidence.
My childhood was by far the biggest contributor to this income issue thing. I wanted to end the cycle of poverty, and stop choosing fear as a foundation for my decisions. In some ways, I have been able to change the course of my family generational DNA when it comes to financial health. In other instances, wanting so much to change this part of my past has led me on the wrong path. I became obsessed with making a better income and I did a lot of things that were not my passion or calling thinking that once I had created an nice income I could go on and live my dream life. The Universe has showed me that I need to build the dream and serve first and then the money will come. Not everyone has the same historical timeline and this is why there is not one person with the same story or associated emotional trauma or pain related to money.
I know I need to learn to value myself more in my work and ask for a fair amount of money for my services. This is part of my journey at this present moment. I strongly believe that we oftentimes have a sense of not being enough and this vibration tends to resonate and it changes how people perceive you and thus react to your offering. Authenticity and integrity have each played a big role in this as well.
MJ’s confessions on…
Oh my! I can be good at spending money for the wrong reasons at times! I think it was even more the case when I became a mother. The insecurity I felt inside made me buy tons of unnecessary things. I wanted to give such a different childhood too, one of caring…and even though I did a lot of free caring, because we add the income to support it, the spending habits could have been a bit less. Same here when it comes to make belief that we are living our dream and acting on it. Like all the accessories and scrapbooking stickers to match each and every step my first child did! I still, to this day, have yet to finish her first year from birth (she is 13!). At some point I realized that I should forgive myself for what was a good intention and embrace each and every moment live, rather than be part of moments I could not even remember due to lack of genuine presence while taking pictures.
At least this childhood of mine and probably my personality as well, has made me act positively too! I would rather spend money on organic food than a flat screen TV. I do like a great working car but I can make do with the color I did not want (of all!) because we found a hybrid second hand small SUV so I can use it for my work. This is part of my value system. I am famous around the house to be amazing at creatively finding ways to save money. And if something needs to be done, I will put it into action and not deter from it until I get what I had in mind. Thanks to my parents who had it hard in their childhoods and to some of their good and bad habits based on their past, I was able to learn the value and sacredness of each possession.
Managing money and what money can buy
This is also a deep dig into our emotional being when we realize we cannot let go of possessions of any size because of emotional ties or false beliefs. If you knew how many magazines have done both trips California-Canada and again Canada-California for this reason…. to finally end up in a recycling bin without having been read at all. Ridiculous!
At the time I had left everything behind to follow my soon to be husband, just a few months right after deciding to go back to school full time to finish my degree. I had to abandon my dream and even though I was excited by the idea of living here in California, part of me felt it was painful. I then took a few business class in a State University where they suggested I read a certain business magazine. So I took a subscription. We were anxiously waiting to get pregnant as well and it was not that easy. So when I was in my late twenties, with no kids and no legal right to work, with a husband who usually did two weeks worth of work every five days, I needed to read some magazines to distract myself from my not so busy life! Talk about living vicariously!
This can be the same for items people gave us that have no sentimental value whatsoever, but we feel bad for discarding them in case our family members or friends would notice the item was missing when visiting. There are also those objects that have a sentimental value but are kept hidden in the back of a far away closet. We only see them when we make the big once a year declutter. All of this is stagnant energy. It keeps us distracted from what we can really enjoy from the money we worked so hard to earn.
Sometimes we keep even bigger items, like furniture or small appliances because we feel bad that we bought them and never used them. Same with those too-small sized clothes. In those circumstances we cannot face the fact that we may never use them again. Guilt comes in and we avoid dealing with the fact that we did not make a sound decision at the time. The worst thing is to keep those belongings even after we have discovered the truth as now they are also taking some space in our subconscious mind.
Please if you are using oils, get the diffuser out right away and use lemongrass and lemon and do a big huge session. I remember doing this last summer and feeling a deep sadness inside of me. I was finally letting go of long held ideas of the things I could do without, including all of that accumulated stuff that I paid for and never used. I broke up with the past and forgave myself and others. It was a bit painful but in the end it was so liberating!
Rule of thumb: Anything that created heaviness, no joy, or discord between you and someone else as you share ownership, anything that has a negative balance when you look at your checkbook should be revisited, discussed and hopefully discarded. Try it and let me know…This has powerful effects, beyond what you can imagine.