For the last several weeks I’ve been going at warp speed, traveling around New England giving talks to women (and a few men) about their relationship with money.
So many people at the beginning of these talks don’t even realize they have a relationship with money. When they think “relationship” they don’t think dollars and cents they think about their husbands, boyfriends, wives or friends; certainly not money.
But here’s what they don’t realize – we have a relationship with everything.
The definition of relationship is the way in which two or more concepts, objects, or people are connected or the state of being connected.
HOW TO HAVE A HEALTHY RELATIONSHIP WITH MONEY
Money is both a concept and an object.
Most women (and men too) I’ve met in my life have an unhealthy relationship with money. And, for the most part, it’s not their fault.
Some of you have been taught to think about money in an unhealthy way since you were a child. As a result, instead of inheriting a positive relationship with money you inherited an unhealthy dysfunctional relationship with it.
Many of you have had negative experiences with money, and now you carry around with you this lousy feeling about money that you can’t shake.
Whole industries embrace this negative concept and unhealthy relationship with money. Take for example the teaching or education industry. Many of you have heard the quote, “you don’t go into teaching for the money” and “you won’t ever get wealthy as a teacher.” Saying like this have literally brainwashed an entire segment of people into scarcity thinking. They carry it around like a badge of honor and as a result, they are stuck in this framework. Everything they think about, act upon, and the decisions they make are all rooted in this negative belief.
But there is something they and you can do about it.
If you find yourself in a negative relationship with money there are a few things you can do to change your feelings and paradigm about money. You need to change the way you think, act and feel about the almighty dollar.
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Here are some concrete beliefs you can embrace so you can begin to change your view of money:
1. PAY ATTENTION TO IT
If you continuously ignore a significant relationship in your life what’s likely to happen? Something negative like they will leave you. Well, money is no different. Money almost demands it be paid attention to and when it doesn’t it gets our attention in a way that leaves negative consequence in its wake. Don’t believe me? Think about what happened the last time you ignored your bills? Late notices, shut off notifications, foreclosure notices, overdrafts and excessive fee are all a result of neglecting your money.
Stop ignoring money and give it the attention it deserves.
2. MAKE TIME FOR IT
When was the last time you balanced your checkbook or developed a monthly spending plan? These are all activities that help you spend time with your money and it’s the way in which you’ll improve your competency with money. Don’t ignore these tasks. Go make a date with your money.
3. PRIORITIZE IT
As we get older and our lives get more over-scheduled we must choose how we spend our time. When you’re living a life based on what you value, you give what you appreciate the time it deserves. And sometimes our values are in direct competition with each other unless we decide to do something that honors both conflicting values. You must make a conscious choice to make money a priority in your life thereby valuing it’s importance and helping you get what you want for your life.
Our relationship with money was formed by what we learned from our parents and other significant people in our childhood. Most of what we learned wasn’t very useful in part because our parents didn’t have great role models either. Instead of pointing blame at your parents, forgive and move on. Your money story CAN change as long as you are willing to move forward and embrace new money scripts, habits, and beliefs that will serve you better.
5. RESPECT IT
Your money is always trying to tell you something. When you ignore those messages you are disrespecting your money. In the end, your money will get your attention but it won’t give you warm and fuzzy feelings. Be warned.
6. HAVE A LONG TERM PLAN FOR IT
When you set goals and have a plan of action developed, it’s easy to stay on track. When you don’t, well, it’s more difficult because you don’t know where you’re headed. You’re just floundering around, trying to figure it out without a plan of attack. What’s your plan? The best way to embrace this habit is to write it down and review your progress regularly.
7. UNDERSTAND WHAT YOU NEED IN LIFE
Feelings of discontent, like envy, jealousy, or unhappiness lead many people to spend well above their means. If you’re always preoccupied with what others have that you don’t, and then you fuel that preoccupation with shopping, you’re in a dangerous trap because no amount of stuff is going to rid you of those feelings.Only through self-reflection and a greater understanding of what might be missing in your life, will you be able to stop using money in this way.
8. CELEBRATE THE GOOD
When you do something that shows money the attention and respect it deserves, don’t forget to give yourself a pat on the back. Changing old way of being is challenging and so when you make progress, recognize it at the moment.
9. ATTEMPT TO UNDERSTAND
When something happens in a relationship of importance, you find what happened and try to sort out all of the details before moving forward. When something happens with your money, you owe it to yourself and your cash to dig deep and find out what happened so you have the right information to make informed decisions and choices.
10. DONT’ BARTER
I know many people claim to love bartering but what I know is bartering blocks the natural flow of money and should be avoided at all costs. Plus, this kind of dynamic is bound to make you feel like you got the short end of the deal, regardless of the arrangement. It’s not too often that both parties feel they were equally compensated.
11. STAY OUT OF THE FOG
You need to know exactly how you feel about all of the different ways your money leaves your account. If you’re not happy about any one of them, you need to stop. If you’re unconscious about your money, then your relationship is on the decline, and you need to get out of “the fog” immediately.
12. HAVE FAITH IN YOUR FUTURE
Every relationship has its ups and downs; it can’t always be sunshine and roses. But it’s at those moments when you must choose to love your money anyway. By doing so, you’ll keep your commitment to stay the course, and in the end, your money will help you manifest your dreams and desires.
Developing a healthy relationship with money is so vital if you want actually to attract more money to you. Continuing down the path of an unhealthy relationship is a choice and quite honestly a bit of a cop-out. Even if you just want enough to survive and occasionally take a little vacation or buy something beautiful for your home, embracing a healthy relationship with money is imperative to achieve that. Once you and money are solidly connected, may your relationship with each other last a lifetime and be sunshine and roses!