Everyone Has a Money Story
You may have to look closely to find the money thread in your own story, but it is there and it has meaning. You can begin the process of examination, and transform the mystery of money, and the field of play that money represents, into a different kind of place.
The Soul of Money
Our attitudes and beliefs about money have their roots in value-laden messages we have picked up along life’s journey. These money messages are not only clothed in the words of others, but in their behaviors as well.
To discover the roots of your money attitudes and actions, look first to your childhood experiences. In your home, was there an atmosphere of plenty or scarcity? How did your parents and grandparents treat money? Was money a source of conflict between your parents and/or between generations? Was money a taboo subject or a matter of open discussion? Was money used as a reward? Did the adults in your life demonstrate responsible or irresponsible money management behavior? Was generosity encouraged?
Next, reflect on relationships with your peers. As children approach their preteen and teenage years, the opinions and behaviors of others their own age become more influential than those of their parents. What was the financial status of your closest friends? Did your closest friends have after school or summer jobs? Did they save money or did they spend everything immediately? Did you ever try to “buy” friendship? Did you ever feel rejected by your peers because of your financial status?
As you continue to seek the roots of money beliefs and behaviors, also think about your most significant relationships. Was money a source of conflict? Were personal finances a taboo topic or discussed openly. Was money used as a way to exercise control? Was there a spirt of trust related to each other’s spending choices and saving habits?
In The Soul of Money, author Lynne Twist explained that money is not the problem and money itself does not have power. She goes on to explain:
It is our interpretation of money, our interaction with it, where the real mischief is and where we find the real opportunity for self discovery and personal transformation…Your relationship with money can be a place where you bring your strengths and skills, your highest aspirations and your deepest and most profound qualities.
A review of your money history will give you tremendous insight into the money messages that consciously and subconsciously influence how you navigate financial choices on a day-to-day basis. These revelations are not intended to give you the opportunity to place blame, but rather to help you recognize what has contributed to your financial well-being and what has been a hinderance. Remember, awareness is the first step to positive change.