I’ve been sort of running away from discussing money topics for a while now because I’ve been having trouble understanding why was it that after figuring out how to make more money and being familiar with lots and lots of money saving methods and having saved so successfully in the past, I still managed to return to zero savings on a somewhat regular basis. It was a cycle: I’d make money, save for a while, say 6 months, and then blow it all on random things. I could not figure out why this was or how to get out of this cycle so staying true to my geeky self I decided that this year I was going to figure it out and I did just that.
Making more money doesn’t automatically guarantee you’ll save more. Most people have this bad habit of increasing our spendings when we increase our income. We feel that because we make more we are allowed to spend more or “reward” ourselves more often. People who are financially successful tend to increase their savings when their income increases and the rest of us increase our expenses which isn’t always the best way to go about it (specially if your aim is being not just comfortable but wealthy).
We’ve discussed the importance of saving and a few methods you can use to start saving more HERE so if you haven’t seen those I’d suggest you take a second and get yourself caught up. Today, we’re diving into some internal reasons we sabotage ourselves from our financial goals.
Emotional blockages often play a huge role in our relationships with money. I think at some point or another we’ve all heard about mental limits on how much we think we can make. Growing up we might have heard things like “money doesn’t grow on trees” and maybe had parents who didn’t really discuss money with us or whenever those discussions happened they were always in the tone of “there’s never enough money”. It might just be that our parents didn’t make much so we internalized things like “a good and honest person works hard and doesn’t make much and that’s just the way life is”.
I’m going to share with you a personal story. Becoming aware of this put an immediate stop to my unhealthy saving-spending cycle. The change might not be as dramatic or immediate to you but this is what happened to me.
My personal blockage was feeling like one of my parents didn’t take care of me enough so I would self-sabotage in order to have to ask them for help (financially) – in other words, asking them to take care of me. Sounds crazy right?? I share this experience to show you that sometimes, a few deep rooted issues tend to manifest in unexpected ways. I was harboring resentment towards a parent (resentment I wasn’t aware of) and that manifested itself in my relationship with money as a means to take care of myself.
It’s important to confront these issues head on. If they involve another person it’s important to talk it out with them to complete the healing cycle. You might not know it now but conversation might help heal them as well. In my case, there’s a possibility that that parent bailed me out every time because on a subconscious level they might have felt guilty for not having taken care of me as much as they wanted to, maybe because they couldn’t, maybe because they felt I didn’t need it as much as my other siblings. Talking it out usually helps both sides, not just the side that realizes the issue.
Another scenario I wanted to share with you of how emotional blockages can interfere with growth or progress is how a person who grew up not having money can make a good living for themselves but is hesitant about spending money, even for something they’d consider a necessity (or they tend to be very stingy with money), because they fear not having enough for “tomorrow”. They fear that if they spend it, they won’t be able to make it back.
Now, you could say that their issue is a poverty mentality or the remnants of days in their childhood when they didn’t have enough but what if I told you that the real issue is that they don’t believe in their ability to make more money in the future? They don’t trust that their professional skills, the skills that enabled them to make the money they currently have, are really trustworthy.
The first scenario (fear of not having enough for tomorrow) is hard to correct. What do you do when you’re afraid of not having enough (a very real possibility)? Which leads me to believe it’s not the root of the problem because from my experience, the root of a problem is always something you can fix. If we go by the premise that they don’t trust their ability to make more money in the future, it boils down to a lack of confidence and that we can tackle.
To fix this issue the person might start by taking a look at their professional lives and they might realize that they’ve been able to maintain a job and execute their tasks consistently so they obviously have a skill and they are good enough at that skill that it’s allowed them to survive and provide a living for themselves and their families. Realizing this usually increases confidence in yourself immediately. If you’ve ever been promoted in a job you start realizing that you’ve been promoted because someone obviously believes that you can not only do your job and do it well, but that you also have the ability to do more, hence they entrusted you with more responsibility, automatically boosting confidence.
If the person still feels like their skills aren’t enough it’s still fixable. Where do you feel like you could be better? Is there a skill you can improve on? Is there someone who can teach you or you can learn from to improve on that skill? Is there a course you can take? Usually there is and if this is the case, as soon as you start to feel more confident in your skills, in your ability to make money, you’ll be less attached to the money you make because you now know you’re definitely capable of making more tomorrow.
The point of all of this is to make assessments on your feelings towards money and resolve them so that you can move on to financial stability. I tried writing down a “how to assess your feelings about money” guide but I think I need to do a couple more experiments on myself and do a bit more research to come up with a concise step-by-step plan and when I do, I’ll definitely let you guys know 🙂
And that’s it for today! Hopefully this was enough of an introductory guide to being a better saver and healing emotional issues in regards to money and hope it helps you assess your blockages and start making better financial decisions.
How do you assess your issues? Do you write your problems down? Meditate? Talk to someone (friend, psychologist) to help you work through it? What are some emotional blockages that might be keeping you from achieving your financial goals? And if you’ve been through the process of dealing with these blockages, share your story! What were the issues and how did you solve them? Questions? Comments? Suggestions? Leave them all below!
Also, if you feel like you have a comment but would like to share it privately feel free to email me through the contact form on the blog! I’d love to hear your stories and help out in any way I can 🙂