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Understanding Money & Abundance

Photo by Eduardo Izquierdo
Prosperity depends more on wanting what you have than having what you want. ~Geoffrey F. Abert

Any sense of physical security I have felt from the time that I was 18 onward, has, for the most part, been a direct reflection of how much I have in my bank account. It’s always an arbitrary number that I shoot for, an amount that I believe will completely cover anything unexpected with plenty of room left over.

However, for a money hoarder like me, this sense of security is always superficial and never long lasting. It’s leaning heavily on something physical to mask a festering internal issue.

Much like one might inherit a certain eye or hair color, I believe that my money issues are ingrained in my family line, spanning through generations of outwardly negative spending habits to equally damaging behaviors like my own.

In fact, if we really stop to reflect on our own relationship with money, we can learn multitudes about how we show up in the world, what we believe our worth is and how much we respect ourselves.

Regardless of how the behaviors play out, many center around one common theme: fear.

I’m afraid that I will never have enough to live comfortably; that if I do achieve financial success, I will lose it all; that I will never be able to reach a place of financial freedom while doing what I love; that if I allow money to flow out, it will never come back in.

While there are different types of baggage we carry that can make everyday life difficult, I know that my feelings and attitude towards money is something that affects almost everything I do.

I select the food I eat in a restaurant based solely off the price, I avoid making essential repairs to my car in order to avoid the expense and I pass up invitations to go on trips because I choose saving over treating myself.

Quite simply, I allow money to interfere in my attempts to be fully present in the moment, and I tend to overlook what money actually is — a sense of currency, spiritual and physical, that is suppose to flow in and out of our experience.

As I left my chiropractors office this morning, my body calm and suddenly free from the stress and strains of everyday life, I noticed my mind wandering to the cost of the visit itself.

Then I stopped.

The amount in my bank account had diminished, but I had something monumental in exchange for it — hips and knees that were no longer aching and a miraculously tension-free neck. What I received in return was more important than the money I had handed over for it.

No matter what negative or positive connotations society has placed on money, in many ways it is simply something that can bring to light our issues and serve as a path towards greater understanding of ourselves and the world around us.

Here are a few ways I’ve attempted to get to the root of my relationship with money.

#1 – Explore Family Beliefs Towards Money

Words, especially those that are repeated over and over, have a way of shaping who we are and what we believe. If you grew up hearing “money doesn’t grow on trees,” or “you know we can’t afford that,” chances are you have a sense that no matter how much is there it’s never enough.

Or maybe for you it was a lack of words that formed your ideas and beliefs surrounding money — if you grew up in a family that didn’t directly address money issues because it was a taboo subject, you might not feel comfortable reaching out for help when you need it.

When I dove into my first relationship where money was something we shared, it helped immensely to take both of our upbringings surrounding money into account. While he was more prone to spend and I was more prone to save, I was at least able to understand why that was and address any issues from that place.

#2 – Notice Spending Patterns

Notice spending patterns in your spending habits, then take money out of the equation.

Often times we address money issues using strictly superficial means — attempting to make more money to cover expenses, trying to budget better, working to curb shopping trips, etc. All of these are important, but most money issues that show up in our lives are actually symptoms of a bigger problem.

I know that I wrestle with an intense fear of the unknown and control issues on a regular basis, thus the reason why I pinch pennies to the extreme and struggle with panic attacks when unexpected expenses arise.

Others might spend money in an attempt to squelch emotions that they don’t want to or don’t know how to work through.

These are problems that need to be addressed first, and most likely the money issues will begin to diminish as a result.

#3 – Determine Your Definition of Abundance

Abundance for many conjures us visions of dollars and cents, lottery tickets and overflowing bank accounts. If that’s the place you are operating from, the chances of you feeling abundant in your life are greatly diminished.

I believe that our feelings about our financial life are a direct reflection of the abundance we are feeling in other areas of our life. When I tap into the abundance I have in my personal relationships, for instance, I notice a lightening of the tension I feel around the amount of money I have.

Noticing other areas where you are abundant and expressing gratitude on a regular basis actually puts you in a place where you are open to ushering in more monetary wealth.

#4 – Being Fully Present Now

Take stock of your ability to be fully present in the now.

The majority of money anxiety I feel can be blamed on one thing — future-oriented thinking.

The truth is, if I were to be fully focused on this moment I would know that I am completely taken care of and everything is fine. All of the worry comes from the fire of “what-if’s” that I seem to be attempting to extinguish every couple of minutes.

Are you fully present in this moment? Are you able to distinguish what actually is from your mind’s rendition of what could be? This could be at the root of many of your money worries and relationship mishaps.

How about you? What money patterns and beliefs are you observing in your life?

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About the author

Kayla Albert is freelance writer intent on living life deliberately. You can follow her at Confessions of a Perfectionist. If there's a writing project you'd like for her to tackle, visit her website at kaylaalbert.com

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7 thoughts on Understanding Money & Abundance

  1. cj

    When we explored familial money beliefs it made an incredible impact on our lives. It’s been revealing to say the least to discover what no longer has any meaning simply because we do not need it. Now we only invest in each other and what we love and what we absolutely need. We rejected our families beliefs about money wholesale, although they have not, and have never looked back and never will.

    Exhilarating post, Kayla!!!! Thank you.

  2. I remember at 18 having around $2000 saved up and thinking I could never move out… it wasn’t enough in my mind. (Funny now)

    I think how you handle your money is just another big life lesson.

    A few months ago I read an article about someone who “holds loosely” onto their money. I never read such a statement and it really took me back. At first I thought she was crazy… but now I know what she meant. Money comes and goes, and she doesn’t want to be that person who has her fists clinched. She wants to be a giver. She doesn’t want to live in fear, and money is suppose to come and GO.

    Recently, I’ve been scared to send all my information to a lender for a pre-approval for a house… my first time ever. I’m scared of rejection, but I have to push forward and at least try. I remember being 20 thinking since I had no credit I could never get an apartment… HA! The things we learn over time :)

    I think I’ll mail those pre-approval documents today.
    Thanks for the push :)

  3. And I heard the statements “we can’t afford that” and “money doesn’t grow on trees” more times than I can count. So thank you for making me aware… also, aside from those statements- my parents NEVER spoke of money.

    I want to raise my sons differently and hopefully they can learn from my mistakes and learn how to really handle and feel about money.

    ps. Sorry for writing a book! I think I had too much coffee. LOL

  4. Great post, Kayla. I like how you linked our relationship to money with fear. We read a book several years back which was actually about work and how your relationship to work stems from family history, upbringing, etc. We have come to terms with a lot about money, but we it is funny how I have to fight myself on the “If only we had ______, we would ______.” Reminder to self: Live every day!

  5. Our relationship with money is so complicated! I’ve done so much clearing work over the years to do with my relationship with money and I STILL come up with new unhelpful beliefs that get in the way.
    Money is connected to fear for so many of us – fear of not having enough, having too much and not being grateful, wasting it, losing it, hoarding it – the list is so long! And all of it means we don’t live in the moment. Your article’s full of great tips and reminders of of how to put the money baggage down.

  6. Jeff Kim

    Tough subject, indeed. Almost always, our fear is about the future. While I worry about tomorrow, I loose courage to deal with today. I heard it somewhere. Yet, I believe the Power of Now is often over-weighed. Now is almost always gone, no?

    Money and financial security seem completely two separate thing. I guess the trick is to learn how to separate them. Thank you.

  7. I remember when a college tuition was at a “fair price” now its 3 times more and 5 times more in some schools! insane I have friends and family who are already done with masters and suffering with school loans. Education cost to students should be lowered so our future wont pay the price, so sad how a lot of our money problems are due to health and education issues when it shouldn’t be like this

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