To permanently change our relationship with money, we have to be willing to open our eyes. We need to know - in detail - where we stand financially. We need to take responsibility for our past and present behaviors. And, most importantly, we need to understand why we have created this financial reality in the first place. As you can probably imagine, unveiling these truths and digging through our money beliefs can be difficult, time consuming, scary, disappointing, and exhausting.
But the alternative is so much worse. Believe me. I know because I’ve done it.
Pretending that we know where we really stand. Keeping ourselves in the dark from the truth. Hiding from our own money. Trying to fudge the details, guessing, estimating, or fantasizing, only prolongs our dysfunctional relationship with money.
I was the queen of denial when it came to my finances. I always felt like I had a ‘pretty good’ idea of what was going on financially. To placate my anxiety, I’d minimize my spending and exaggerate my earning. I’d tell myself that the details really weren’t that important. I thought I knew the basics, the general idea. I had a hazy idea of what I made, what I owed and what I spent.
At least that’s what I told myself.
And it was a total lie.
A healthy relationship with money is vital to creating lasting abundance. The way we treat it, if we respect it, how we value it, what we do with it. Just like any other relationship in our life, our relationship with money can only be healthy if it’s based on honesty, authenticity, and trust.
And money always tells the truth.
So the dysfunction in this relationship – is always our own.
Recognizing my part in this dysfunctional relationship was daunting but freeing. Daunting because I knew I could no longer blame my divorce, my job, the economy, special circumstances, or bad luck. Freeing because I knew I could no longer blame my divorce, my job, etc. Freeing because I realized that I could turn the dysfunction around. I could create a better relationship with money. But I knew it would take work, practice and consistency.
Now, I know every minute detail. I know where my money goes and where it comes from. I know why I spend what I spend and I know why I earn what I earn. My relationship with money is grounded in reality. I’m no longer spinning stories or trying to sell myself my own cheap propaganda.
At our first session, I tell my clients that the entire first week is devoted to getting prepared to do the work ahead. Getting prepared to know the truth about where they really are. Preparing them emotionally for the challenges of this work. We don’t just dive into the hard cold facts. They prepare for what they are about to learn about themselves, their past, and their beliefs.
I tell them, “There’s a reason you are where you are. There’s a reason why you have money – or you don’t. There’s a reason why you’re in debt – or not. There’s a reason that you’re earning what you’re earning and spending what you’re spending.”
Most of us have avoided looking at the truth of our financial situation. We avoid our bank statements, our bills, our credit card balances, our pay-off amounts. We avoid checking our accounts and live with the panic and anxiety of the not-knowing. We swipe our credit cards and secretly cross our fingers hoping that the purchase is authorized.
We tell ourselves little lies.
It’s no big deal.
I’m sure its fine.
I’ll deal with it later.
We avoid the details. The truth. We don’t want to know what’s really going on. We are kind of like that little two-year-old who covers her eyes and thinks she’s invisible. But, the numbers exists whether or not we’re looking.
Numbers are just numbers. They aren’t personal. They aren't judging who you are - and neither am I.
I don't care how well-behaved you’ve been, how smart, stupid, naughty or kind you’ve been. I care that you find the truth. For your own sake.
I've done it. My clients have done it. And now it's time for you to do it.
This post is part of my ongoing book project. I'm posting parts of chapters and would love to have your feedback, questions, insights, comments, etc. 'Like' it, share it, or tell me why you hate it. Stay tuned for the follow up to this: "Common Beliefs That Justify Avoiding the Truth" will post next week.