Money and Emotions

No one is entirely rational when it comes to money.

Often creating and following a budget, or saving part of every pay-check, seems like an uncomfortable and complicated task. Though we all believe that intelligent rationing would be in our best interest.

Our relationship with money is a very complex data system that is largely influenced by our emotions, behaviours and beliefs.

As our emotions wildly vary (and much of our emotional world is unconscious), often we take actions and make decisions out of impulse. Our unresolved money behaviour can sometimes cause us a lot of anxiety, guilt and shame. We tend to spend too much carelessly, or too little out of guilt.

And we have all been there.

You had a bad day at work and you feel incompetent, disrespected or unlovable (emotion); your self esteem is low (beliefs); you impulsively buy those beautiful red stilettos (behaviour) because you believe they will make you feel better. We think that maybe they will bring back our self esteem, even if they are way out of our budget.

Though in the end you don’t wear those pumps more than once. You feel guilty and anxious about that screaming minus balance in your account. You have done it again.

Our society is constantly instructing us what will make us happy, and what we need in order to be respected. This daily education is silently imbedded deep in our belief system.

We all have a different conditioning and preferences when it comes to spending money. Our socialisation since a young age is very powerful in shaping who we become in society. We are bombarded with both direct and indirect messages our entire lives, about how we should behave, and ideas concerning what will make us happy. We receive these messages through our parents, family members, friends, teachers, coaches, media, and even the toys we play with.

Boys are raised to be competitive, confident, assertive, decisive and even aggressive. They are taught about social hierarchy, and trained that winning is the most important thing.

Girls receive very different messages in their childhoods. Girls are raised to be nurturing, care about others, show emotions, get along, and be empathetic. We women continue to receive these messages while growing up and carry these behaviours and believes into our adulthood.

The key to gaining greater control and confidence over your financial situation is self awareness and mindfulness. To understand and recognise the factors we can control when it comes to our relationship with money. Taking control over our behaviours and emotions is not always easy. We often feel paralysed by important changes in our lives because we don’t know what to do, or have uncomfortable feelings about changing.

One of the first steps towards financial stability is understanding what is actually within our control. By using simple mindfulness meditation techniques we can create awareness in our beliefs, emotions and behaviours.

By taking care of our emotional world we can enact control over our finances. We can understand what our current situation actually is. We can examine our financial history. We independently decide how we want to move forward in the future.

When we are in greater authority and mindful about our money management we can live with less fear towards pursing our goals. When we can truly accept what it is in the moment, and create a clear space for whatever is arising, we can take more skilful actions toward our financial freedom.