Money seems to have a way with us. We either have it, or we don’t. Often, live from pay check to pay check. We always want more, there’s always plenty we want to spend it on, yet on the flip side, looking at our finances can make us feel physically sick.
Yet money in an of itself isn’t emotional. It is completely neutral.
We are the emotional ones.
Did you know, that every single one of us has a unique set of financial habits?
Some good, some bad.
Yet we struggle on despite the many articles about ways to save or ways to clear our debt. Try as we might, good old willpower doesn’t cut it. Knowing the wisdom of spend less than you earn doesn’t change us.
Putting the credit cards in the freezer might help for a while, but the deeper reasons for our unwanted habits is due to our unconscious emotions we carry about it.
These unconscious emotions often conflict with conscious ones.
e.g. I want to save money ‘V’ I’m not worthy of having money.
The following exercises will help uncover some of the emotions you might carry about money, and, it can help you to change them.
But this is not for the fainthearted. You may experience some strong emotions while doing this, so do please take responsibility for yourself while doing this!
- Book out some time, and go somewhere quiet where you won’t be disturbed, for at least 30 minutes. This exercise might bring up some powerful emotions and you will need the time to process them.
- Take out a note in your local denomination. It doesn’t have to be of a large quantity.
- Hold the note in your hand and while looking at it, allow any emotions to come up. There may be several, and you need to allow them to surface. Give yourself time to do this thoroughly,
- Don’t fight the emotions, just allow. If it starts to feel uncomfortable, breathe!
- Go deeper. See if you can go a layer deeper, as there might be deeper reasons for the initial emotion you feel. One example could be of the feeling your money will be taken away from you, when experienced deeper, this is a feeling of powerlessness.
- Sit with the emotions as long as you can, until they have subsided. You will know when they have gone as you will feel a sense of relief.
- You might want to write down what you experienced and explore it further.
This realisation of your unconscious emotions regarding money can be incredibly powerful. It will uncover why you might overspend, be a hoarder or never mange to get rid of that debt.
Allowing the emotions to leave of their own accord is rather like de-cluttering, it clears out the old and leaves space for new emotions to take root.
Now that you have identified how you felt, next comes the task of changing that into how you want to feel about your finances, but consciously.
So when you feel ready, and this may not be for a day or two if the feelings raised were strong, sit with the money again. (If you still have negative emotions, do the exercise again until you feel neutral).
Sit with the money and look at it. Now create the feelings that you want to feel around money. They could be that money is your friend, that you want to feel in control of it, that you want to feel the satisfaction of money in the bank, of clearing your debts. You might want to feel excited about growing your income. The point here is to fix positive emotions to money.
Clearing the the negative unconscious means you can now consciously build the positive and change the way you manage your money. Having positive emotions towards money creates better habits. You are no longer fighting negative emotions you were unaware of.
Once cleared, all the sensible habits that people mention will become much much easier for you to implement.
The second exercise:
Darel Rutherford wrote in his book ‘So, why aren’t you rich?’, “your money is not yours”.
Just let that sink in for a moment. Your money is not yours.
What did he mean by that?
That once you get your wage check, how much of it is actually yours to spend as you want? How much do you hand over straight away to other people?
Once you have worked that out, who are you without thinking, handing the rest over to?
Yourself or someone else?
Because each transaction is giving away your money, no matter what it is for.
(If you can, do these exercises close together for a more powerful result).
These two exercise have radically changed my emotions towards money, and my spending habits. I no longer feel powerless when dealing with money, and I certainly don’t hand over my money without knowing the value I get in return. I’ve also found a new appreciation for minimalism, which is a total surprise!