Too many of us have an unhealthy relationship with money, and that misalignment with our heart and soul can have serious consequences.
This “Let’s Get Right With Money” free e-course was published originally in May, 2012 by Dr. Cyndi Briggs, a writing colleague whose course disappeared from the online space when she discontinued her blog and became a faculty member in Clinical Mental Health Counseling at Walden University.
Believing that a healthy relationship with money can contribute greatly to the #HeartspokenLife—and remembering what an impact this course had on me when she first wrote it—I asked Cyndi about letting me share it again. She graciously gave me permission to use it here. She was inspired by reading The Soul of Money: Transforming Your Relationship with Money and Life by Lynne Twist. [*See affiliate disclosure below.] ~ Elizabeth
What a tiny, powerful word.
Stop everything. Stop reading. Right now, grab a pen and piece a paper and write down everything that came up for you when you read the word “money.” What feelings, what thoughts? What fears, what hopes?
Seriously. Go. I’ll wait.
Yay! You’re back. What did you write down? Feel free to comment below or use the Heartspoken contact form to share your thoughts and continue the conversation privately with Elizabeth.
At the start of 2012, I decided it was time to get right with money. In the waning days of my 39th year, I felt fatigued by the unhealthy dynamic I shared with money, the fear and anxiety money always seemed to elicit from me. So I embarked on a reading/journaling/excavation process around the dysfunctional way I perceived and treated money. I’m a long way from done, but I’ve made some progress over the past five months. I’d like to share my journey with you here.
One thing I’ve learned is that if we’re to get right with money, we need to start talking openly and honestly about our relationship with it. Money, like politics, is a topic often left out of dinner table conversation. We’re taught not to talk about what we earn or what we owe. This veil of secrecy keeps us trapped assuming always that others are doing better than we are with regard to money, comparing ourselves to a standard that doesn’t exist.
My money story in brief
My mom and dad are solidly middle class: my mom a teacher, my dad a small business owner, both retired. We always had enough growing up, but in the materialistic 1980s, it was so easy for me to compare myself to those around me and find my family lacking. My public high school drew from the richest and poorest neighborhoods in my hometown: I was right in the middle. So I parked my dad’s Oldsmobile next to BMWs and Mercedes in the school parking lot. It was easy to feel inferior.
As a grown-up, I chose to enter two chronically underpaid professions: counseling and teaching. The mentality is “We’re here to help, not to make money.” I think this belief system is deeply flawed and, frankly, stupid. The idea that in order to do good we must sacrifice making a decent living is sick. It buys into the basest of our cultural values: that intangibles such as compassion, personal growth, self-actualization, and spiritual self-awareness are without monetary value. They don’t contribute to the gross domestic product, so why should we pay for them?
Balance my books and I’ll pay you like an accountant. Balance my heart and soul and I’ll pay you like a pauper.
Anybody spot the flawed thinking here?
As a woman, I also struggle with gender-specific cultural baggage around money: across the board, women in the United States are paid 76-78 cents on the dollar compared to men; women gravitate toward lower paying professions (like teaching, counseling, and nursing); women earn less over their lifetime yet live longer, often in poverty by the end of life; and women are less willing and able to negotiate for a livable wage or raises in pay.
The more I excavated my own understanding about money, the angrier I became. I began to feel like someone hypnotized for 40 years, taught to repeat messages that served to support the continuing dysfunctional cultural norms around money.
I’m tired of this victim thinking. I am ready to create a new paradigm for myself.
Want to come along with me?
For these four course segments, I want us to have a frank discussion about money. To facilitate the conversation, I’ll rely on Lynne Twist’s book The Soul of Money as my foundation. This book is a conversation about the fundamental myths and misperceptions we have about money, sufficiency, and what it means to have “enough”. I hope you’ll consider buying a copy for yourself and reading along. I promise it’s worth it.
In each subsequent lesson, we’ll focus on one of the three toxic myths about money Lynne describes in her book: 1) There’s not enough; 2) More is better; and 3) That’s just the way it is. As you can see, these myths can apply to all areas of life.
So here’s a hint: this conversation isn’t just about money. It’s about evolving your soul.
Your first assignment is to answer this question:
What is your own history with money? What does money mean to you, to your family, to your family of origin? Do you feel you have enough? Did you feel you had enough when you were growing up?
And also: What kind of relationship would you like to have with money? What would it mean for you to feel as though you were earning enough, saving enough? What does it mean to you to be wealthy?
I’m excited to have this conversation with you, and I look forward to hearing your thoughts!
PS ” It’s probably important to remind you that I am NOT a financial expert, financial planner, or certified financial person of any kind. I’m just a gal who earns money and spends it and wants to do better with her resources. That is all. So please consult a financial expert about questions regarding investing, saving, or paying off debt.
Teacher, writer, documentarian
Cyndi is the primary coordinator of a veterans’ oral history project in conjunction with the New Winston Museum of Winston-Salem, NC, Hospice and Palliative Care, Wake Forest University, and area retirement communities. From these interviews, she has created a podcast called “Soldiers Heart.”
[*Elizabeth’s Affiliate Disclosure: When you make a purchase using my Amazon affiliate links, you will pay the same price as if you’d gone directly to Amazon, but I will receive a small affiliate fee that helps defray the cost of this blog. Thank you for using my links to make your Amazon purchases.]