I’ve been working a lot with my money issues lately. I’ve suddenly got more money that I’ve ever had before so yay. But instead of fixing my money problems, it’s actually just shining a brighter light on all the ways me and money don’t get along.
I want to fix that before I do something astronomically stupid, like fritter all of it away senselessly. I decided that I wanted to immerse myself in finance, really figure it all out in my head. I figured it’d be the same as if I wanted to learn about gravity – get a ton of physics books and go to town.
Ehhh, not quite.
I went to the library and ravaged their personal finance section (my librarian now thinks I’m going to be an accountant). As I scoured the shelves, I realized that the actual financial investment books bored me to tears just by their titles. However, the psychology of money? That piqued my interest. It made me realize that for me, I need to sort out the way I thought about money before I could ever learn to take care of it properly.
Two books are really making an impact – Barbara Stanny’s “Overcoming Underearning” and Lynne Twist’s “The Soul of Money.” Both excellent books. One makes me examine my relationship with money and the other presents to me a new world view, a world wherein there is enough. They work really well together.
Several things have been brought to my attention – one, I don’t value myself or my work. This isn’t exactly a shock, but it’s really forced me to examine just how connected those things are with money, and how much I live in self deprivation mode. I have been living in PEI for 5 months now and I can count on one hand the number of things I’ve bought for myself – 2 hats (which I actually needed – it’s cold here), 2 bags of cookies, some fudge, $15 worth of oil paint, a $2 book, and a snack sized bag of Two Bite Brownies.
Everything else I’ve bought has been needed – food, medication, rent, bills etc. I’ve been trying to decide whether to take the leap and buy bubble bath since the beginning of September.
Another thing I’ve noticed is how much I live in “there isn’t enough” mode. For my fear, there will never, ever be enough. I’ve come to realize that I could have a million dollars in the bank and my fear would still run around going, “But what if there isn’t enough?!” (I believe this is called Bag Lady Syndrome, or something like that. Apparently even Oprah worries that all of her money will disappear and she’ll end up destitute on the street.)
As an experiment, every time I feel the fear creeping up on me, I’ve been firmly telling myself – no, there is enough. The universe will provide. There’s enough. There’s just enough.
An odd occurence.
I tried this yesterday – the fear was in full swing over Christmas and Jesse’s 21st birthday (which are 4 days apart – December leaves me broke). What if we don’t have enough? How are we going to buy groceries? What if we can’t get anyone presents? What are we going to do?!
I decided to bring myself back to the point of Christmas for me – which is giving to people who I really love. And if I focused on that, then it didn’t matter how much I gave, it was about the spirit and love with which it was given that was important. I calmed down. And then I told myself – there is enough. There will be enough. Everything is going to work out, everything I need will be provided.
I turned on my computer to find out that my disability tax credit had come through and that my mother was sending it to me in 2 installments, plus my Christmas money from various relatives – it was a subtantial amount. And that was the sound of my jaw hitting the floor.
I never actually expected more money to show up. Essentially I was soothing myself, and learning to appreciate what I did have, instead of just focusing on what I didn’t have. I was getting tired of living in self deprivation, in constant worrying and fearing. I wanted to focus on the good stuff that I did have.
I don’t have any conclusions yet.
I’m still figuring all this stuff out. So far, I’m feeling better about money and more able to use it wisely, which is my goal. I mostly just wanted to share what I was learning and see if it resonated with anyone else.
Notes on comments – yeahh, money is a sticky topic. I get that. I’m definitely still making my way through the swamp of personal finance. I’d love to hear how you deal with money, or what your fears are, or even books that you found were super helpful for shifting your relationship with money.
However, I’d like it if we could leave the shoulds, psychoanalysis and reality theories at the door. This is about gentle self-exploration, not a guilt trip or attempt to find a formula for financial success. 🙂