Emotions and finances

I’ve been on hiatus for a little while because the end of the semester becomes so hectic and emotional, I feel like I sort of lose my grip on my schedule. I’ve been trying to manage end-of-semester responsibilities like grading and writing papers with all the excitement that is coming from my newfound self-awareness and the anticipation about the choice to do a life coach certification program and everything that entails. Needless to say, my thoughts have been jumbled.

One goal I have for myself, a goal I’ve been able to dig out of the chaos in my brain in the last few weeks, is that I want to change my relationship to money. Now that I’ve realized that I have power over my spending, and I cut back on all the nonessentials that were essentially anesthetics for my own pain, and now that I am cutting my usual monthly budget in half to pay for this certification program, I realize I need to change my mindset.

Money has always been very emotional for me. Growing up, I watched my parents argue about money all the time: there was never enough, they disagreed about how to spend it, my sister and I were liabilities, etc. Then, coming out of college with student debt, working as a public school teacher and then as a grad student, I began to see myself as “not having enough money.” There was never enough, I had to be careful about what to spend it on, the world wasn’t fair, etc.

This mindset is no longer working for me.

I’m going to use an exercise I found from Danielle LaPorte to get clear about my emotions driving my money decisions. I think she’s absolutely right (and Louise Hay would agree) that the way we think about money needs to come from a place of positive energy and value-based intentions. It’s the same for everything else in our lives, as I’ve been realizing over the past few months. If we act from our principled center, from good energy, from intentions, the universe flows those things back to us. I hope that doesn’t sound too woo-woo.

For the past few weeks, I have been mired in anxiety about money. I’m clear that I want to do this program, and then after, I want to pay down debt and have a financial plan. But I’ve been freaking out about how I will feel as I live on half my usual budget. I made the budget. I see that it’s doable. It’s not a question of ability. It’s a question of emotions.

So here we go. Danielle LaPorte’s Step One to build awareness of how we feel about money:

Answer the following questions as honestly as you can. How do you feel:

  • About your debt? Anxious, frustrated, afraid, weighed down, like I’ll never pay it off
  • About your income? It’s too little for what I need, it’s not fair
  • About your savings and assets? I have none but I wish I did
  • About anyone who owes you money? No one does
  • When you pay for experiences and outings? Guilty, afraid
  • When you go grocery shopping? It’s a necessity but I wish I didn’t have to eat (yeah, literally)
  • When you shop for gifts? I want to give to this person because I love them but I can’t really afford this
  • When you shop for clothes? I stopped, but when I did, or if I do in the future, guilty
  • When you shop for decor, art, or collectibles? Guilty. Not necessities.

Step Two

Identify what pure positivity with money would feel like. If you have negative feelings that showed up in some of the above answers, think of the positive feelings that counter those. For example, if how you feel about your debt is heavy, burdened, or resentful, perhaps the positive contrast would be promising, empowered, and grateful.

  • About your debt? Empowered, courageous, free; I will pay it off when I can
  • About your income? It’s what I need to live on, I’m lucky to do what I do and be paid for it; money flows to me
  • About your savings and assets? I will build up savings to empower my future
  • About anyone who owes you money? No one does
  • When you pay for experiences and outings? Empowered and grateful; I have the ability and I like to have fun once in a while
  • When you go grocery shopping? Grateful, food enriches my soul
  • When you shop for gifts? I give from a place of abundance and love
  • When you shop for clothes? Beautiful, privieleged
  • When you shop for decor, art, or collectibles? Peaceful, comfort in the home

(Wow, that was really hard! It felt counterintuitive. Probably because I’m going against emotions and feelings I’ve had basically since I can remember.)

Step Three
Choose just one positive money emotion — the one that feels the most vital and exciting to you — and think of one action you can take in each of the money areas below that will help you feel that way:

(I think I’d like to feel two emotions: empowered and peaceful. I have the power to choose my financial plan and I am at peace with what I have and give.)

  • How you spend money: I choose what to spend my money on and I can be at peace with what I spend it on. I spend on things that give me vitality and nourishment, joy and comfort.
  • How you save money: I have the power to save some money each month and I feel peaceful knowing I am planning for the future me.
  • How you give money: I can give to those I love and feel peaceful knowing I have abundance to share.
  • How you receive money: I am empowered to be paid for what I do, and I am at peace accepting gifts from loving family members.
  • How you manage money: I make good choices based on my values and I am at peace with those choices because they come from my center.

Okay. Now all I have to do is practice these emotions on a daily basis! Haha. I really am going to try. I will update on my progress as we really get into the thick of things in January.

For now, back to writing and grading.

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