I have had a dysfunctional relationship with money for much of my life…….our weird history goes back as far as primary school. I can clearly remember certain circumstances that caused me stress, even though I was only 8 or 9, an age at which one would think money would be meaningless. I still remember my mother asking to borrow the one shilling and three old pennies pocket money my father would give me, when he called round to make his weekly maintenence payment…….and my heart would sink, knowing I wouldn’t be seeing it again. I don’t remember ever being hungry, but I do remember being routinely humiliated in front of the whole school, most monday mornings, because I didn’t have my dinner money. We’d all have to gather and be called up, one by one, to hand over the week’s fee……and more often than not I’d be shaking with dread, knowing what was coming. “YOU again…..I’m going to report you to the council!” was one of the regular threats. Of course, that didn’t happen…..or maybe it did, but the council certainly didn’t show up to take me away or arrest me! Nevertheless, the feeling of being less worthy than others, and the feeling that money was ‘bad’ (because of all the pain it appeared to create), began to take root. And, as I was to discover as I grew older, those roots ran deep!
We had the electricity disconnected, through lack of payment, and eventually did a ‘runner’ from our council house, early one morning. I was 10 years old, and had become unconsciously but effectively programmed to relate to money in a particular way…..a way that led to many, many more painful and distressing experiences over the years. I went to live with my father and stepmother when I was 11, and their attitude towards money was at the opposite end of the spectrum to my mother’s. They were incredibly tight, and controlled money with a pair of iron fists. As a young teenager, I did not have a warm relationship with my stepmother, and I was too self conscious to ask for sanitary protection….and she didn’t go out of her way to make sure I was okay. So, I would need to purchase towels for myself, out of my meagre weekly pocket money….and often I couldn’t afford them. One more nail in the coffin of my incredibly ailing relationship with money and self worth.
But you see, this programming was personal to ME. Others, having faced similar or worse circumstances, processed the experience differently and vowed never to struggle with money again. We all make choices, based on our beliefs and perceptions, and our choices always lead to outcomes. The trick lies in recognising where our beliefs are hurting rather than helping us, and doing something about it!
My weird, uncomfortable relationship with money eventually led me to seek out a better way of being. I have had some amazing people in my life who have been more than willing to help me…..people with a healthier, happier attitude than my own toward money and abundance. But I had to learn to take responsibility for my own deep seated, irrational beliefs (such as: what right do I have to want more money when there are people on the planet who are starving to death?). I have always worked hard, and have always had enthusiasm, passion and a desire to learn……but I really struggled to get beyond that particular road block, time after time. I have read a zillion self help books, know all about the law of attraction, and have advised others……whilst still struggling to get one step ahead. I have watched endless ‘gurus’ on Youtube telling me I can have all the stuff I want…..I just have to believe it, and visualise it….and it will all show up.
But I recognised that I was uncomfortable with the idea of just having things, having more cash……without healing the inner damage. I wanted to make friends with money, to heal the old injuries, and be at peace with financial success and comfort. It was never about stuff…..it was about my own inner world, and my sense of personal worth. I researched lottery winners, and found that a large number of people who ‘strike it rich’ end up blowing the lot, finding themselves worse off than they were before the win. People killed others over lottery wins, and spouses left partners, without revealing their new found wealth. However, some made their millions work for them, buying and developing properties, starting businesses…..investing in the future. And I understood that money is not about metal, paper or electronic figures….it is about mindset. A poor abundance mentality is probably the most crippling condition a human being can afflicted by. The world doesn’t need more poor people, and there is no glory in being skint, or just having enough to scrape by. It is NEVER going to be a spiritually, mentally or emotionally healthy way to live.
And here is a quote that put it all into perspective for me, and made it possible for me to begin the healing process. If you can relate to what I have expressed, you may find it useful. It kind of spoke to me in my own language, and to my desire to continually re – define and improve myself. In short, it gave me ‘permission’ to embrace abundance, without the need for guilt. And by the way, I went to a Catholic primary school. To quote Billy Connolly, I gained an A level in guilt! Anyway, here are the words that made a world of difference to my thinking:
The true meaning of prosperity doesn’t lie in having more things. It means that you begin to advance mentally, spiritually and intellectually, as well as socially and financially.
Dr. Joseph Murphy.