Impact – Wealth Management


The Heartstrings Attached: Understanding the Emotions Tied to Your Money

Most of us know that money is a sticking point in so many areas of our lives. It is one of the most common reasons for divorce. The majority of people in this country do not change socioeconomic classes in their lifetimes. Most Americans are carrying debt, and the average amount of debt we carry is growing year by year.

Why? Why all of these statistics? Emotions.

Emotions are the key.

What It Means to Have Emotions Tied to Money

Each and every person has an emotional relationship to their money. We tend to feel good about ourselves when we have a lot of it. We typically feel bad about ourselves when we don’t have enough of it. Many people feel happy when they give money or something of value. Others feel happy when they receive something the giver perceives as financially valuable, whether or not it is. Even the rampant materialism in today’s global society is all based on how we feel or how we want to feel. And yes, of course, we all feel differently.

What is interesting is that it is difficult to change the way we feel about money.

Though studies show that financial success increases exponentially and decreases in the same way, we struggle to understand how our emotions are tied to that.

But if you think about it, it makes perfect sense.

If you’re down and you have just one bit of success, you tend to connect that success to something great happening. Then, because your energy has shifted around your “luck,” you are prone to see things more positively. As you see things more positively, you tend to take more positive action. As you take more positive action, even more success comes your way. Sadly, the reverse is also true. It’s no accident. It’s energy. It’s emotional.

The Brain Is on Record During Our Childhood

So, why do some people tend to be perpetually on a downswing and others perpetually on an upswing? Well, according to Dr. Bruce Lipton, the human brain is on record mode from birth until we are about eight years old. We are watching everything our parents do, everything others do around us, we are internalizing how we are treated, and we are making connections between words and actions.

And, of course, we are learning about money. We watch the way our parents make and spend money, we listen to the way they talk about money. And we learn to feel good or bad about money.

According to Dr. Lipton, from the time we are eight, we begin playback mode. From that point on, we are acting out what we learned in those first eight years. And our emotions are intrinsically tied to our actions. What is one of the biggest actions we take in our adult lives? We work. The next biggest? We spend money. Much of our lives is spent making and spending money. Of course money is emotional for us.

Habits Are Called Habits for a Reason

Now, what you have are habits. You have learned how to behave, what to do, and who to be. You spend your time on replay, living from a place of habit – your comfort zone. The tricky thing about the comfort zone is that even if you are unhappy, you are unlikely to change because your brain is insistent on maintaining homeostasis. Even a miserable homeostasis. Your brain is telling you “this is who we are. We cannot change. We must just keep doing this until we die.”

You can look back at a life of deeply ingrained habits.

This reality is not something to feel bad about. It is just objective reality. In fact, you can feel good about the fact that you are not alone.

You are in really, really good company.

Most successful people were raised to be successful. Most “unlucky” people were raised to believe that they are simply unlucky. Everyone knows that one person who just seems to have the heavens open for them, even the rain somehow misses them, they seem to have been born under a lucky start. The truth is that person likely always had positive emotions about life, love, money, you name it.

Understanding Your Emotional Relationship with Money

Having said all of this, the important point to come to is how all of this affects your relationship with money. You can have a lot or a little, and your emotions are still the most critical factor to come to terms with. If you feel good about your money, you are much more likely to make fortuitous decisions about it. If you feel bad about money, if you see it in a negative light, you are much more likely to be hoarding it, losing it, or failing to make it.

At this point in your life, it is time to come to terms with your feelings about money. In the book Think and Grow Rich, Napoleon Hill offers case after case that show how powerful our thoughts are when it comes to our lives. But before we can change our thoughts, and our emotions, we have to face them. It’s a good idea to sit with yourself and review your past, comb through your early childhood years, and come to terms with your emotional relationship with money.

Then, you can decide if you want to change that relationship.

Changing Your Habits

Next, if you do decide you want to change your habits, or help someone else change them, you first have to change your energy – your thoughts and emotions.

To do that, you can simply start trying new things.

Talk with your financial advisor.

Get experts involved.

Investigate ways you could be more positive around your money.

It could be donating more to charity, investing in companies with positive missions, or simply taking a bit more risk (or a bit less) in the market.

In the end, know that however you feel about money, and even though you may have been playing out the same habits your entire life, you can change. Dr. Lipton and many, many other experts are sure of it. It will take time, determination, and consistency, but it’s so worth it.

When you change your habits and your emotions around money, a whole world opens up around you that you may have never even imagined existed. It’s like your eyes are open for the first time.


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