Updated: Feb 15, 2020
How powerfully and completely our unconscious thoughts and assumptions rule our lives. And, please notice I did not say they CAN run our lives. They DO run our lives.
In fact, psychologists estimate that 90% of our thoughts are unconscious. 90%!!
These little nuggets of unexamined thought can throw our entire existence into chaos, creating lives that are the exact opposite of what we actually want. And, because they are operating in cloaked anonymity, we don’t even know why things are turning out so wrong.
This happens everywhere in our lives. Our romantic relationships (dating a “bad boy” because you have the belief that they are “exciting” and “sexy”), our work (“I have to work 70 hours a week! You only are successful if you work REALLY hard!”), and of course, in our relationship with money.
And, this is the one area of belief that many of us have been taught to not talk about. To not bring up with anyone else, ever. That it is “rude” to discuss finances and money. And, we have almost no financial education in our schools. So, it stays in the dark corners, uninvestigated or unlearned about. Our reticence to talk about money is so extreme that a study from Fidelity Investments found that 43% of Americans don’t even know how much their spouse earns!
Money is a tool, and only a tool; and a very ingenious and useful one at that. We invented this amazing way to allow us to easily trade all goods and services with a full understanding of the monetary value the tool is imbued with. This is truly beautiful human ingenuity. But, at the end of the day, it is not magic or evil. It is a tool. Would you be scared to talk about a hammer?? Would you be curled up in a fetal position with anxiety if someone stole your measuring tape?
However, because this wonderful tool of money is so deeply integrated into our day to day life and sense of security, we engage in a whole different set of expectations and dialogue around it. A whole different set of assumptions. We start being worried that there is not enough. That we won’t be ok. And, amazingly, it really doesn’t matter how much money you have; the fears and feelings of lack are the same, no matter the number in your bank account.
I work with women who are millionaires many times over that still have nightmares about being homeless and on the street. Or, women that don’t walk away from relationships that are no longer serving them, or are blatantly abusive mentally, emotionally, or physically, because they are convinced they can’t make it on their own. And, quite often, ironically, the woman that is scared to leave is the higher earner of the two. This is the power of unexamined beliefs and assumptions to rule, and ruin, our lives when left unchecked.
So, how do we break the hold these internal and external dialogues have on us? How do we examine the unseen thoughts and assumptions? Where do they come from in the first place?
We start by writing. Writing is the wonderful gift that brings our unconscious from obscurity into the glorious light of day. And, once something is on paper, then we have the choice to look at it and decide if it’s a belief or assumption that we want to keep around, if it’s one that we want to change, or one we want to kick to the curb completely.
Here are three writing prompts and some sample answers to help you start to discover the depths of where your money beliefs come from. Take some time and write down your answers in your journal, or even on a scrap piece of paper, but ideally, this is something you will want to refer to in the future. And, write down ALL the messages you have heard about money, without judgement. You can decide later which ones you want to keep. By answering these questions, you are merely becoming aware of what messages you are receiving internally and externally about money. And, awareness is where true change begins. Once you know something, you can’t unknow it, and your transformation has begun! Yeah!!
What do you hear about money in your daily life? From your family, community, friends. What are the messages you are hearing right now, day to day?
I never have enough money
I will never be able to retire
Money is so easy to make!Etc.
What did your family tell you about money growing up?
Girls aren’t good at math
Money is the root of all evil
Money lets me do fun things!Etc.
What did your church, religious institution, or teachers tell you about money growing up?
You can’t be close to God and have money
Debt is bad
The Universe and God provide all I need at all times!Etc.
Here’s to the start of your new relationship with money!