What was our first memory of money? Our caretakers from 0-14 were formative in our current day money mindset. If our first memory was being scared because our family couldn’t buy groceries, we likely hoard, cut coupons and save each penny we earn. If our first memory was getting anything and everything we wanted, we likely practice excessive spending placing us into debt. We didn’t develop our money habits overnight, and we can expect to change them overnight either.
We put so much weight on money because of its association with our survival, security, and safety.
For a new neural pathway to take hold, we need to practice the action and mindset with a conscious mind. Think of it like driving to and from work every day. Are there days you get to work and can’t remember driving to get there? We have driven it so many times it is second nature. Next time, take a different way to work. We are alert, checking both ways at intersections, and thinking ahead to our next turn. To reinforce a new route, a new mindset, we must practice it every day until it becomes second nature.
Below are some questions related to our money mindset to start the process of digging deep.* I encourage you to think about these questions, and come back to them a few times and write some more. I once had a money flashback while on the bus home from work two days after I journaled through these questions. Things can take time to come back, and each time we peel away one layer, a new one appears.
Until we master fear, shame, and judgment over our money, it will own us.
What was your caretaker’s relationship with money like when you were 0-14 years old? What was their mindset? Are you living with the same relationship or mindset now?
What was the economic state of the community you grew up in? Were your relatives in a similar state?
What were the conversations around money like in your family? Positive or Negative? Non-existent or Every day?
If your family grew up with a lot of money, did you grow up trying to hide it, or was it flaunted through luxury products and extravagant trips? Did you feel judged? What if you grew up poor?
Were you encouraged or forced to do things for money that felt shameful?
Was love bought through money and gifts?
What was money used for? Survival? External Validation? Control? Status? Manipulation? Perfectionism?
What is a belief around money we are holding onto that we want to change?
Reframe above – what is our new money belief?
What action step can we take today to move in the direction of that new belief?
Once we identify our feelings and mindset around money, we can start letting go of those mindsets that no longer serve us, and make room for new ones that do.
*this is not meant to take the place of licensed therapy - if you have experienced trauma surrounding money, such as payment for sexual actions, please consider reaching out to a licensed therapist who can help navigate in a safe space.