A number of weeks ago I watched Suze Orman on the Oprah show. She addressed a number of people in the audience head on with no holds barred truth. These were people who were struggling with everything from dodging creditors because they couldn’t make payments to facing the wrath of a mortgage payment that was set to double or triple due to earlier “creative” financing. Suze looked each one of them in the eye and told them to Admit the Truth.
So much of the agony we can experience in our financial world has to do with telling ourselves stories. You know the kind:
- I’ll worry about it later
- I’m only a little late (or only late on certain bills)
- I can afford it, after all I have a good job
- Assuming your partner has their own financial ducks in a row and that you share the same money values
- I can’t do anything about it – that is just the way it is.
- Sure, I know where my money goes (when in fact you haven’t tracked it dollar for dollar
All these stories do are disempower us and leave us stuck for years or decades all because we don’t want to admit to what is really going on. After all, what would it mean about you if you fessed up to the reality of your finances? I don’t mean the facts like you have $X debt or are Z days late on a payment. Those are just facts of a situation and are extremely important. What I am referring to is the reality that is even more powerful than the facts — what you make it MEAN about you. When our money stories are at play we have given the interpretations ultimate power over us and we are at the mercy of a force far more powerful than reason – emotions.
For example, one person might have $50,000 in savings yet feel like they have no money or that they couldn’t possibly start their business because they don’t have enough money to do so. Another person might have $5,000 in savings and feel totally cool with ditching it all for a chance to become an entrepreneur. While I totally believe you need to look at the facts (if you haven’t check out the Queercents Expense Tracker, no amount of facts could ever help the first person in this example. No amount of dollars, cents, or advice will help her make the inner shift necessary to take a risk unless she admits the truth to herself and moves through it. The truth being — there is more going on with her relationship to money than meets the eye. No amount of financial strategies can shift a mindset or emotional story that runs contrary to what IS. If you are stuck in a mindset of lack or “not enough” no amount will EVER be enough. Unless you first shift the mindset.
Do you recognize yourself in this story? If so, you might wonder, what can I do about it? Here are a few steps you can take to start admitting the truth to yourself and moving forward more powerfully in your relationship to money. Ask yourself the following questions and be fully truthful with your answers. If need be, pretend you have Suze barking at you “Get Real!” or something equally intimidating yet motivating.
- What does money represent to me? (hint: it is an emotion or state of being, not a new house in Malibu)
- How did my family handle finances? How did my earliest memories about money make me feel back then? Now?
- How do I react when I have more than enough money? Do I spend? Save? Hoard? Enjoy? Or worry that it’ll all vanish?
- How do I behave when I don’t have enough money or things are tight? Do I panic? Do I get creative and go with the flow trusting more money is just around the corner? Do I freak out and tighten all the reigns spending money on nothing and acting like it is the middle of the Great Depression?
- How much money would be “enough” for you to feel fully financially free?
I certainly don’t have the right answers for you….heck I am still working on unearthing all my own personal truths because circumstances always highlight what we most need to deal with next. It is an evolutionary process. What I DO know is that these questions are guaranteed to lead you to a real understanding of what your relationship to money is like. And, awareness is always the first step toward positive change and an inspiring future.