Have you ever thought about dating money? I am not talking about dating for money. I am talking about dating money. Money, like everything in life, has a certain pizzaz, style and way of being. Or is it how I relate to money that adds that extra flare and stress?
I believe all aspects of life that we relate to have been shaped by our life experiences and how we relate to them. Let’s take money, for example. How much do you worry about it? How much do you pay attention to it? How much are you willing to get intimate with it?
As a young person, we grow up in a certain environment where money may be a sore point between our parents, spoken of (or not) been available more or less or barely. These experiences shape our relationship to money and how we then make life decisions. It also affects how we will respond to others in our lives. For example, some of us will get a raise and want to take our friends out to celebrate where others may even feel shame they increased their income when others did not. I remember when I was younger, and my sister and I would get an allowance. I was a saver and if I had more than her, I would share mine so we would have the same. What does that say? Was I generous, too giving, afraid or what? Whatever it was, it says something about how I felt in relation to money and others. I believe it was a little of each. Yes, I am giving. Yes, I was a little afraid to shine or have more than my sister based on other family dynamics and yes, it says something about my relationship to money.
To discover your relationship to money, take the Attachment Quiz at this link to see if you are more of a secure, avoidant, approach/avoidant or disorganized partner to money.
How did you score? Great. Whatever it was, it’s good information to start here and grow with your goals and desires.
- Keep it more organized in my wallet. Check and see if your bills are respected or thrown in and kept folded the way the last person had them.
- Feel gratitude for my earning and thanking those that gave them to me. In the old days, much less now, but I still do it, as I endorse a check, I say a gratitude statement for the person who gave it to me. This or something similar helps us feel we are in the flow of giving and receiving money.
- Stay in touch with money. Spend time caring for what you do have, be it keeping up with your bookkeeping, investing, earning, saving and/or spending. Staying connected to money in some form honors your relationship to it and can even help you expand. I have found it helps me feel organized and grounded. Also, as with any relationship, when we pay attention to it, there is opportunity for the relationship to grow.
- Talk about it with trusted ones. Money is a hard topic for people. It comes up in all our relationships. As therapists, we may shy away from it, make up stories in our heads as to what people can or can’t pay us. It can tap into our own survival instincts and how we manage that in a session. With our office mates, bosses and other business associates, it can also trigger various historical unresolved issues. Being mindful of our triggers and attending to them helps improve our relationship to our self, money and our colleagues, clients and even friends/family.
- Knowing yourself and how you are with money also helps your relationships. Do you tend to spend, save, go into debt, or invest? What do each of those characteristics say about you and your relationship to money? For example, as a spender I may feel fine about using my partner called money. But do I know whether I am taking advantage and going into debt? Or as a saver, do I hoard money and not let it out of sight or am I willing to invest it and give the relationship some opportunities to “grow?”
These are some key points to explore. And, if you are like me as a therapist, I love to expand and grow all my relationships. Have fun and let us know what you think. And, if you are really curious, come join us for the next Financial Flow every Monday from March 6 to May 15, 2023.