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Uncovering The Story You Tell Yourself About Money
We’re digging in deep, and some of what you’ll uncover is going to be hard. Of course, I never said the lessons would be easy, but believe me, when I tell you that the more you learn to understand where your thoughts, feelings, and behaviors around money come from, the better off you will be in ridding yourself of what no longer serves you.
We learn everything about money when we’re children. Just like everything else in life, how we see money and our relationship to it are formed early on in our development. And of course, these lessons typically come from our parents or other important figures in our lives.
Unfortunately, as children, we don’t have the ability to discern external factors in a way that doesn’t leave a negative impact.
For example, as a child my parents were unable to purchase things I wanted; we were poor by all standards. Even at Christmas, I was often disappointed in the gifts they would give me, mainly because they weren’t what I really wanted. This left a deep scar in me because I believed that because I didn’t get what I wanted, then I must be unworthy. Those feelings then spurred my over-shopping and over-indulgent behaviors resulting in my credit card debt.
Because what we learn is formed in our mind as a child, we are not able to fully appreciate the complexities of life, and we develop money scripts and stories that are oversimplified generalizations that are not always true.
The tricky part of uncovering your money story is that although some of it lives in your conscious mind, most of it lives just below the surface in your subconscious mind. No matter where it lives, both types affect your financial life and the decisions you make.
If a certain money script imparts a money rule or belief that makes good financial sense in your current circumstances, then, by all means, keep it. But if it’s leading you to be overly emotional or to think in all or nothing terms, it may be a script that requires some modifying or disregarding altogether.
To successfully change and rewrite your money story and your relationship to money, you need to discover your money scripts and how each of these beliefs impacts your financial behaviors. The goal is to bring it all out into the open, so you can decide whether or not a belief serves you well or not and if not, how to adopt a new belief that will serve you better. Until you uncover these beliefs, you will find making a permanent change in your financial habits challenging.
I speak from experience when I say this. I tried many times to get out of debt and change my behavior. But it wasn’t until I went through the exercises I’m sharing with you in this No Spend Challenge, that my relationship and behavior changed permanently.
Let’s uncover your money story.
Complete the following sentences with the first thought that comes to your mind.
Don’t over think this or censor your responses or worry that your answers are politically correct. Go with your initial gut reaction and don’t judge your answers. Just notice the thoughts and beliefs that surface as you are completing this exercise.
- Wealthy people are
- Poor People are
- What my mother taught me about money is
- What my father taught me about money is
- The reason I don’t have more money is
- Asking people for money is
- Talking about money is
- The relationship between love and money is
- The relationship between religion/spirituality and money is
- People who pay retail prices are
- People who will only buy items on sale are
- Financial freedom means
- Retirement means
- The biggest financial lessons I want to teach my children is
- My current relationship with money can be described as
- My partner’s current relationship with money can be described as
- When I pay bills I
- When I save money I
- People who ask what things cost and other people’s salaries are
- The biggest lie I tell myself about money is
Now take a moment and read your answers. How does each of these answers influence your current spending, saving, charitable giving and investing habits? Take the time to jot down your feelings that come to the surface. Remember no one will see what you write unless you want to share it with them. Just be honest.
Once you’re done, keep this information as we’ll be using it again during the Challenge.
You just did some awesome work and uncovering and looking at your money scripts and the story you tell yourself.