“It’s not the money that matters it’s how you use it.” Anonymous

 

As simple as money seems, turns out it’s rather more complicated. Money has a different meaning to each of us and potentially a different interpretation depending on which day or year it happens to be!

It can mean power, love, joy, status, fear, guilt, shame and a number of other emotions or feelings we have woven into it.

The reality is that money is not simply money and if it were I think we would have a lot less “money problems”.

And that is the crux of the matter.

Our money problems are never really just about the money. By choosing to understand what it really means to us we open the door to finding solutions to those pesky “money issues”.

 

The negative meaning of money

Growing up it seemed we did not have a lot of money when compared to my wealthier friends and how they lived.  And even though we had more than enough for the necessities of life, I developed a story of scarcity based on my perceptions of their comparatively “wonderful” lives.

For me,  money began to mean envy and shame.

This had some positive aspects as it drove me to want success.

However as I started earning my own money I created a few more meanings around it. Money began to mean status and the need to have material evidence that I was becoming successful.

And because that meant I needed “things”, I started spending A LOT. This in turn validated my original belief that money was scarce and so began a vicious cycle of living paycheck to paycheck. Never getting ahead but certainly getting a lot of meaningless possessions.

Money started meaning fear. The fear that I would never be able to pay for all the things I was acquiring, guilt that I was spending so much and shame that anyone should find out what a mess my finances were.

The thing is when money becomes tied into all these emotions it tends to override our rational thinking as it drives our irrational actions.

The turning point for me was when I was forced to become more self –aware by life events and that’s when I had the epiphany that my thinking around money was all wrong!

 

The positive meaning of money

I was thinking about money in terms of what it should mean to me, rather than what I wanted it to mean to me.

And I had created a story that money should mean  having a lot of material possessions, living a “rock star” life of excess and being the envy of everyone. Just like my rich friends had been to me.

Never had I considered that money might simply be a tool.

A tool to teach me a number of life lessons, such as patience, the benefits of delayed gratification, the experience to make intelligent choices, an understanding of the true scarce resource in my life, time, and the importance of knowing what I truly value in life.

And I realised what I truly value in life is freedom to spend my time with the people I love, doing the things that light me up and knowing that I am financially stable.

The core aspect of this is translating this value into the money habits that can build this into my life.

The surprising and unexpected side effects of learning how to manage my finances to achieve these values is feeling much less stressed about money, more confident about my finances, more in touch with what is important in my life and mostly more grateful for the life I get to live.

So I encourage you to think about your beliefs around money, what you want it to mean to you and how you can align your money habits to live congruently with what you value.


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Hey there!

Michelle here,

You want to become financially independent and grow your wealth?

You are in the right place.

I help women build their financial intelligence. This means we talk money, earning it, saving it, investing it and growing it.

 

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