"If you want to feel rich, just count the things you have that money can`t buy."
Although I have dedicated a blog post to not check your phone in the morning, I caught myself having done exactly so today this morning. I knew that this would affect my mood as your phone would just fuel your mind chatter, although I didn`t check my messages per se and news not at all, but checking my online banking was already enough. Don`t ask me why I checked my bank account, I think I just wanted to finish some items (i.e. transfers) off my list early in the morning. But I remained mindful and was aware of what checking my bank account did to me - my limiting beliefs about money were triggered and continued through my morning routine.
Money has always fascinated me, as a concept and myth in society that triggers so many views, emotions, and even life circumstances. Having grown up in an Asian culture, where lots of focus is on wealth, status, material possessions, I soon came in touch with money and its power. Money attracted, everyone wanted more money. Money made happy, because we could buy more things or we felt validated. But money also brought sorrow, because we either lost money or didn`t have enough or it meant we had to work harder. This was definitely one of main beliefs that money was rarely enough and linked to hard work. Money should be spent wisely and, dare we think, for leisure, pleasure, or luxury.
When I grew up, I was aware that shopping for new jeans, to catch up with the latest fashion trends in my class, was a luxury thing to do. I could tell that it somehow ached my mum to spent her hard-earned money on another pair of jeans, that I would soon outgrow. When we shopped for groceries or went for vacation, we would always look for the best deals and greatest discounts. It was actually fun and felt good when you successfully nailed down a limited deal. I also remembered that we didn`t have enough money to spend on additional school books or learning materials, so that`s why I was so upset when another classmate, because she got better grades, got a subsidy, although her parents were better off. I remembered that having tutors was something barely we could afford, so I had to study even harder to not bring my parents into a dilemma.
All of this, I knew. I knew of my limiting beliefs (intensified by working in a competitive corporate environment), cultural perceptions (our tendency to think more in lack than abundance), and gap of knowledge (making me read "Think and Grow Rich", "Rich Dad, Poor Dad", "Madame Moneypenny"). I have also worked on feeling gratitude and abundance, on spending consciously, and on structuring my investments, savings, and giving. I have now a much more aware and connected sense and relationship towards money, but, of course, it is still a "work in progress". This is what I have esp. realized this morning when I looked at my bank account and felt a sense of lack, of not having enough - although it is a lot, it is more than enough for my current situation, and it is more than before the pandemic with the usual expenses (going out, eating out, shopping out).
Having reflected on this, here are my three tips to improve our relationship with money (that will ultimately help to earn more as everything starts with us and our mindset):
1. Appreciate what you currently have - it may be even more than what you had years before.
Even though your head may think you don`t have enough to do this or that, or have less than others, appreciate what you currently have. You may now earn more than you were a student (even if you are now indebted). I also once read that money is energy. If it gets in touch with yours, but you exude in return, even if unconsciously, beliefs that say, "I don`t have enough", "Money is evil", "I have to work harder to earn more money", then what would this energy, just like any other person do if faced with these negative judgments? It would leave! So try out a different perspective and appreciate that money is here. You have nothing to lose if you experiment with another perception, even if it feels odd and unusual at first. So explore with "I have enough money", "I appreciate money", "Money comes to me with ease", whatever feels right and also true to you.
2. Observe any limiting beliefs and negative emotions with curiosity, and shift to a perspective that supports you.
As we have learned with positive affirmations, it may be only half the mile to think positively, we, of course, also have to acknowledge our current limiting beliefs, even if we don`t want to go through our negative emotions or may even think (with esp. such an ever-present concept like money in our capitalist society) that there seems to be no other way than to feel that restrained, limited, and triggered by money. That`s why - as with anything in life - this can be an opportunity to strengthen our muscles of mindfulness and compassion. Mindfulness to acknowledge our negative thoughts and emotions, without adding further judgments for gentle curiosity to come in. Compassion to take care of ourselves, who didn`t know better as a child and naturally adopted our parents` and society`s views of money (similar trends can be seen for topics around death or sex). Now as adults, we can decide which thoughts are truly supporting our wellbeing, so whenever a thought like "I don`t have enough money" comes in, ask yourself "Is this thought helpful?", and if not, gently invite - whatever feels true to you - a more loving thought, such as "I am grateful for the money I have" or "I look forward to money coming in".
3. Establish a conscious awareness of your money behavior, replacing judgments with gratitude.
This was probably one of the most game-changing tools I have introduced in my life, although this concept is so simple - to be aware of your money inflows and outflows. Often we are aware of our inflows in the form of our salary, but not always of our outflows, whatever reasons there may be. It could be that because of our limiting beliefs and negative emotions, we don`t like looking at our bank account regularly and check our money movements (I was one of those). It could also be that we think we have enough and are actually in a lucky position to buy lots of things without having to think twice (I was also one of those). But even if both are true, it remains important to have a conscious awareness of your money movements. Why? Not because this would make monitoring easier and potentially reduce unnecessary expenses (although this is definitely a huge benefit), but more because we can then really improve our relationship with money and gain ownership over our own money. As long as we are aware of what is going on, we also feel empowered and can act confidently in changing situations. Moreover, linked to the metaphor of money as an energy or a person - if we take care of money, money will also take care of ourselves. It is not something that we get and then put at the back corner of our room, but something we can appreciate, hold dear, and cherish regularly. It is not only a tool, although many spiritual leaders claim this to be, but more a life force, an energy that supports us and our lives.
How is your relationship with money? Let me know by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org – I very look forward to hearing from you! :) PS: Subscribe to my #mindfulmagic Newsletter to stay in touch for upcoming posts, free offers, and news :)