Deconstructing your individual money story, your unique flavour of hangups and hurdles along with triumphs, is something you’re probably going to eventually come up against (if you haven’t already) and is the key to sustaining next-level success.
Buuuuuut when we really get down to it… what does that mean?
Let’s make it real, let’s get raw with some tangible examples as I walk you through some of my shit.
My mistrust of cash
I love money but actual physical cash? Not so much. I can probably trace this back to what I think might be my earliest money-related memory, in which I was dispatched to the dairy to buy milk but lost the coins along the way (and was never trusted with that errand again).
My struggle with boundaries
My tendency to entertain any request, put up with unreasonable demands, give and give and give some more. This shows up financially and in other areas – though I’ve come a long way. Stems from parents who had poor boundaries and unreasonable expectations.
My problems with spending on myself
I don’t really have issues with buying experiences (food and travel) but when it comes to buying physical stuff? That’s a whole ‘nother thing.
We rarely got gifts. I can probably count on one hand how many birthday gifts I remember getting; I think it was partly at the whims of parental moods. Sometimes from extended family too, but rarely. Ditto Christmas; I remember trying to dodge the question “What did you get this year” every year. And there was definitely a weird story around presents being for needs, not wants.
As an adult, I’m relearning how to embrace the concept of pleasure. This probably also ties in with my difficulty receiving – I’m just not used to it, I feel really uncomfortable being given anything, as being the recipient of generosity is so … foreign.
Little wonder it’s hard to receive anything. Even now, I receive cash every year for my birthday, and it’s not something I fully feel comfortable about.
And that definitely links up with the drive to earn (that’s a whole thing of its own!), through hard work and hustle, and prove myself. It’s all connected.
My problems with having and trusting
Also – even just having stuff is difficult for me. It could be taken away (like my treasured Westlife CD, uplifted, given to someone who was visiting us, and never replaced despite the promise to do so).
How does this manifest? Honestly, I often don’t take great care of my stuff. I was also burgled many times in my 20s, further cementing this wound. Feeling I can’t relax and have nice things. Feeling I can’t trust/rely on others financially; pocket money was inconsistent and the whole endeavour probably lasted less than a year.
Yeah, there’s a recurring pattern here. Things suggested or started and then never heard of or mentioned again.
My problems with underearning
I’ve been anchored, pegged to my knowledge of the hourly rate my parents earned way back last century. Internalised that benchmark and operated with that knowledge in the background. Feeling like it’s good enough and I should be grateful to be beating that (despite, you know, inflation and other things…)
As I mentioned before, it’s been deeply ingrained in me that I need to work hard for money. I need to achieve, to prove my worth. And subconsciously, probably to make up/atone for the brief phase in my teens when I shoplifted makeup. Not my finest hour.
Soooo…. what are we supposed to do with all this?
Acknowledge these root experiences and memories. Accept them, difficult as they might be and uncomfortable to admit to.
Recognise you learned from what was imprinted on you and deeply encoded in your subconscious. It’s empowering to realise you’re not broken, there’s nothing wrong with you.
And that now you can start to choose differently, day by day, step by steap.
Start to build new conscious patterns for yourself. Actively. Deliberately.
Question your instinct and consider whether the alternative might serve you better. Practice trying on new choices and see how they feel.
I think about all the times I HAVE managed money well, upheld boundaries and honoured myself, spent well on myself, relied on others, enjoyed what I have, and grown my income.
Find evidence to support your success and keep building on it.
That’s how we start to exorcise these demons. That’s the work I’ve done over the years to beat them.