Today we talk about money, because if one thing is for sure, we all have different stories and feelings about the stuff and it can be a really difficult relationship to navigate. If you already have a positive relationship with money then I’d love to know how that came about! Drop a comment and share your thoughts at the bottom.
In the spirit of transparency, my relationship with money is still a work in progress, but it’s certainly turning into a positive relationship, and that’s what I hope for you too.
Note: It is very hard to talk about money without seemingly ignoring folks that are in a very financially difficult/survival situation, if this is you then know that I see you and that I have been in that place. Things are very different in your circumstances and I am not going to pretend that the same advice or ideas will be helpful for you in this time. Take what feels helpful, leave what does not. I keep two pro-bono coaching spots open per quarter for creative freelancers who are in a really challenging financial situation and are looking for some help with their business. Hop over to my contact page and send me a message if that is you.
There are so many strong messages that we hear about money; it makes the world go round, it’s the root of all evil, it doesn’t grow on trees, it’s greedy to want, it’s essential to have, it provides security, it makes life meaningless.
Here are five points that have helped me to develop a more positive relationship with schmoney:
Money is not inherently good or evil
What we do with money can be good or bad, ditto how we get it. I am not saying our systems are not a bit screwed. I am saying it’s possible to have money and do mainly positive things with it.
Learning to hold money in a state of emotional neutrality has helped me to find it less shaming/triggering/angering/worrying/confusing and created space and distance to be more analytical about its practicality and possibility in my life and business.
How much you charge has nothing to do with your inherent worth
Knowing the value of your work, and “knowing your worth” are two different things. Not everybody has the privilege of feeling positive about themselves all or most of the time, so why should we link the value of our knowledge, experience, and creative capacity to our inherent sense of worthiness. I often feel like this is one of the biggest blocks standing between a person and their ability to get paid properly for the service they deliver in the world. How we feel about ourselves should not limit our ability to charge for our skills and experience!
Learning to detach any personal sense of worthiness from the value of our work is tricky because it is so embedded, but again it helps us to become objective, strategic and practical about this resource.
We are in a relationship with money, let’s make it a healthy one
I don’t know about you, but I’m all about healthy boundaries and cultivating positive relationships. Money is a resource that we cannot disengage with, therefore cultivating a positive relationship with it is vital for our mental wellbeing. This can look different for everyone. For you it may be about cultivating love and joy at this resource. For others it may simply be reaching a place of neutrality, where boundaries can be exercised and it does not fill you with unnecessary feelings of shame and uuuurgghhhh.
Money is abundant
Growing up poor and then spending years as a single parent on a horribly low income made me feel like there was a lack of money it available, and at that point it was certainly out of my reach. A fundamental shift I made was to understand that money is in fact very abundant, and the more you understand its abundance, the easier it becomes to make it flow in your direction. (Just to be clear, I am NOT talking about Law of Attraction – I find so much of the LOA and manifestation culture wrong and toxic – but that’s another conversation). I am talking about developing enough detachment to our fears about money that there is space to think strategically about it without the emotional triggers getting in the way. I fully believe that our system of inequality partly relies on people with less access to resources being kept at bay by strong internalised messages of shame and scarcity. Money is in fact much easier to come across than we are made to believe, especially when we are in a position to detach from that space of fear.
Having space to detach from financial fear is a huge privilege, one I hold now (I have a steady income, my bills are paid), and one I did not previously hold. However, the small amount of this mental space I did manage to create when I was in more of a survival situation did ultimately help me to get strategic, and therefore get out of that trap.
More power in the hands of the marginalised
I am busy stamping all over the idea that money is just for big bad people. In our current iteration of the world, having money allows more agency and safety, and this is something I want for marginalised people. Chances are if you feel concerned about money being used for bad things, you’re probably not that likely to be irresponsible with it. Money spent well can empower communities, create opportunities and growth in underserved areas and boost local and micro-economies that have positive outputs. I am not judging you if you spend some of it on a fancy milk-frother that both heats AND whisks. Yes I did buy one, and yes I am looking for your validation.
Phew! How was that? Let me know what resonates and what feels weird. It totally want to unpick this money stuff with you, and I am going to be talking about it a lot! What is your relationship with money like? Lemme know.