Most people have dysfunctional ideas about money stemming from childhood and society.
If your parents said, “I’m not sending you to soccer camp. You don’t practice enough during the off-season, so it’s a waste of money,” the message that you might have heard is, “I’m not worthy.”
If your parents complained about the expense of child raising, you might think, “I’m a waste of money” or “I’m an obstacle.”
These ideas stick with us in adulthood. We’re afraid to ask for a raise or promotion, because we still think we’re not worthy. We’re afraid to start our own business or speak up for our needs within a relationship, because we still think we’re an obstacle.
We soothe ourselves by projecting negative emotions onto money itself.
We think money corrupts, money is evil, money is greed. We think people who have money are “sharks” or that they acquired it through corrupt, diabolical or nefarious means. We think that transactions are win-lose, and that life is a zero-sum game; your own riches are built on the backs of the poor. We think that wealth requires taking advantage of others.
None of these ideas are true, and clinging to these beliefs is limiting and unhealthy.
Here’s a different lens on money:
#1: Money flows.
When you receive money, you’re in the path of this flow.
Money flows from someone else to you, and eventually, it’ll flow from you to someone else, either in the form of a purchase or an investment.
A healthy relationship with money is to feel gratitude when money flows towards you, and to release your money without attachment or resentment when it flows away from you.
#2: Every anxiety about money is actually an anxiety about something else.
Let’s imagine that you’re anxious about running out of money. What would happen? Let’s say that you lost your home. Then what?
You must have a few friends or family member who would let you crash on their couch for a maximum of one week. How many of these people are in your life? Five people? Ten people? Great, that’s five to ten weeks of crashing on peoples’ couches. That’s five to ten weeks of having the ability to figure something out.
You must have some skills that you can sell. Can you walk dogs? Babysit? Great, then while you’re crashing on your friends’ couch, you can babysit in order to come up with enough money for groceries and gas.
You’ll be okay. And when you internalize this idea, you find peace.
If you’re still anxious about money, then your real anxiety is not about the digits in your bank account. It’s an anxiety around the idea that perhaps your friends and family won’t be there in your time of need. It’s an anxiety that people might betray you, reject you, disappoint you. It’s an anxiety that you might not have the skills and talents to pull through.
You’re not worried about money. You’re worried about your relationships and your abilities.
#3: What you appreciate, appreciates.
Imagine approaching every financial transaction with a spirit of gratitude.
When you receive money, you’re grateful for the opportunity to earn and grow.
When you pay your bills, you’re grateful for the fact that you have enough money to make those payments. You’re grateful for everything that those payments brought you, like electricity and food and socks and toothpaste. Paying bills becomes a joyous practice.
When you approach money with a sense of appreciation, you’re more likely to earn and grow more. What you appreciate, appreciates.
Today’s podcast guest, Ken Honda, is known as the “Zen Millionaire” of Japan. He’s sold more than seven million books in Japan about the intersection between wealth and happiness.
We discuss these concepts in today’s podcast episode. Plus, we learn four core principles for developing a healthy emotional relationship with money.
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