Ok, let’s talk about a super-uncomfortable subject: Money.
Money is everywhere. Like it or not, you deal with money every single day of your life.
If you are anything like me (and since you are reading this I am going to make a presumption that at least, in some way, you ARE) you have a complicated relationship with money.
Money tends to be a lover that you secretly want to spend as much time with as possible, yet feel shame about. You and money are very much in a relationship. I am not crazy (well, ok, I am, but not on this topic) so personifying it in this manner may help improve that relationship.
Think about it this way. If you are with a person, whether friend, lover, or relative, how you treat them will impact all aspects of your relationship with them. If you are kind, caring, and empathetic towards them you invite the same in return.
However, if you are scornful, unkind, wishy-washy, and going between telling them how much you want them — but then pushing them away and telling them how much you hate them — how do you think that will go? This will certainly be a difficult relationship at best, of not outright insane.
Most people tend to treat money as I mentioned above. They push and pull in equal measure, scorning and shaming yet desiring and demanding money in their lives. Like any relationship, treating money this way will not be very inviting.
Like it or not you always have to deal with money. So why not make the relationship a good and positive one?
Take money on a date
First and foremost, treat money like any other relationship. Take money out on a date (platonic or romantic, whatever) and show money a good time.
Treat money with respect. Be kind, be generous, and don’t tell money to duck their head below the windows as you drive past your friends out of shame. Make it known you and money are hanging out and potentially painting the town!
Talk to money pleasantly. Tell them how much you enjoy their company and how good they can make you feel. Let go of any shame about wanting to be with money, because whether friend or lover, money is ever-present.
I know this is a bit out there, but that doesn’t make it any less important. Money has become less and less tangible over time. Once it was coin measured in gold, then paper and cheaper metal coins, and now often it’s digitized and never physically seen.
That, by the way, is why money is neither scarce nor lacking. Despite the notion of the “gold standard” impacting the physical amount of money that there is, that’s just not how it works anymore. It is a currency that is increasingly just intangible energy used to trade goods and services.
I still like to carry at least SOME cash on me, but more and more that is becoming increasingly unnecessary.
Even still, money as an abstract construct needs to be treated with kindness and respect just like any person would demand, no matter what relationship you have.
Taking and earning money — the ongoing relationship
Here we get into the most complicated aspect of money.
In this society, you are expected to hold some sort of job for money. You go to work for anywhere from 4–16 hours a day, up to 7 days a week, and perform some task or other for money.
For most people this involves either sitting at a desk in a cubicle surrounded by people doing much the same; or performing a service like driving a cab or truck, first responder, transportation worker, and so on; working in a warehouse, factory, or shop either making something, moving something, packing and shipping something, and so forth; or performing a more specialized duty, like medicine, law, politics., and the like.
Every single one of these jobs, from the easiest and most repetitive to the specialized and constantly unique, is done to earn money. Further, people have varying degrees of feelings towards those jobs, from loathing to loving and everything in between. You do a thing to earn the money to live, let alone live well.
When you are your own boss, whether writer, artist, freelancer, entrepreneur, and similar. You set your fees. You work on your time and recognizance to do the job to make money for living.
When it comes to charging for the work you do, especially when it’s largely subjective work, this can cause even further complications with your money relationship. Charge too little and you will feel like crap, cheated, and undervalued. Charge too much and you will feel like a cheat, a scam artist, and probably just dirty.
Finding the sweet spot where you earn what you believe you are worth is the key. But, because money is complicated, chances are finding that place will see you under and over-charging along the way.
Weathering the storms of the complex relationship with money
As I wrote recently, you deserve to get paid. Just like any more typical, standard, or “normal” job, you deserve to be paid for your work.
Yet asking for money can feel totally wrong. It feels as if you are telling people that in order to get your work they have to pay the amount you are requesting.
Which is, of course, entirely true. You are the only one who can determine what you are worth. Nobody else can set the value of the work you are doing, save you. If you believe that you are worth $10 an hour, that’s the value you set. If you believe that you are worth $50 an hour, then that is the value you have set.
How do you determine the correct amount? I’m afraid there is no single answer. It comes down to trial and error, as well as the work you do, the people you do it for, AND your relationship with money.
Consciousness creates reality. Whether you believe in this or think it’s a load of BS, it will still impact your relationships with everything in life. That includes money. If you push money away, build a wall to keep it back, or are otherwise unwelcoming to it, is it any surprise your relationship with money is complicated?
You have the power of mindfulness to be aware of what you are thinking and what and how you are feeling. With that, you also gain influence and control over the intent of your actions. This is all applicable to money and how you think, feel, and act towards it.
Living with money
I know this might seem like an odd way to view money. But if your experience with money is complicated, have you taken a new approach, perhaps like this, to change it? If not…is there any good reason not to give this a try?
When your relationship with money is particularly complex, giving money becomes an awkward topic.
Whether you are paying your bills, buying food, paying for things greater than the simple necessities of life, giving money can be difficult.
When you’re lacking money or otherwise struggling with money this can feel like each payout is dangerous. Like giving money will further disempower you.
Yet this is not true. At least, not unless you believe that it’s true.
How does that work? You get to choose how you feel about money in EVERY aspect of it. Not only does this apply to finding, receiving, and taking money — but also to giving money.
For example, there is a great amount of joy that comes in giving money to worthy causes. When you can donate to a charity you believe in or give money to a person you care about or want to help, that feels amazing.
You can choose to keep that feeling going ANY time you give money.
How? Gratitude. When you express gratitude in paying for something you dislike paying for, because you CAN make that payment, you energize the money to be empowering rather than disempowering.
The relationship you have with money is entirely up to you. You have the choice to decide if you want to make it a good relationship, a bad relationship, or a complex relationship.
Like any other friend, lover, or relative, how you treat your relationship with money matters — so be mindful of how you choose for it to be.
You are worthy and deserving of using your mindfulness to find and/or create the reality in which you desire to live. When all is said and done you matter, and so does your relationship with money.