Have you been struggling for a long time, trying to make enough money to pay off your debts, make ends meet and realize your Million Dollar Desire? Do you somehow seem to sabotage yourself every time it looks like you might succeed?
I have. For as long as I can remember, I have been the victim of what I call Money Myths. Money Myths are conclusions, often reached in childhood, about what money is and what it means. "Money makes you unhappy," "You have no right to money when so many people have nothing," "You are no good with money." Comments like these become beliefs and are internalized as absolute truths that fly under the radar of our adult intellect and make us do things "despite" ourselves. They control our behavior at a subconscious level and affect how we act with money, what decisions we make and how we interact with the sources of money in our lives. These "truths" can reject and even repel the very wealth we seek.
How do you get rid of money myths? The best way I know to dispel them is to see them by light of day, as an adult. They then begin to lose their power. New habits and adult ways of thinking take over automatically. Many people, for instance, as children may have been told like I was that "Money is Dirty." (I remember a time when my mom caught me sucking on a mouthful of pennies. You would have thought I was eating worms.) With so many concepts and words to keep track of, children often shortcut their meaning: is it good or bad? Clean is good, dirty is bad. Money is dirty. So what does that have to say about money and how should I feel about it? What does that say about making money and about having it in your pocket?
Here's a little exercise that I've done. Answer the following questions: What were your beliefs about money when you were a child? What adjectives would you use to describe money? Was it important, trivial or of any consequence at all? What did your parents think about it? When you got gifts of money, were you excited, accepting, disappointed or angry because it wasn't a toy? Did you have a piggy bank? Did you start a collection of coins? Do you still have that collection? Do you feel differently about different groupings of money? Do you attach a different feeling to the money that you inherited than you do to your own savings? See if any other questions come to mind, and answer those.
Did you begin to get in touch with your feelings about money and your relationship to it? If you're anything like me, you'll find that your beliefs and attitudes towards money can be very complex. Intellectually, for instance, I know that money is money, that a dollar in my savings account has the same value as a dollar in my entertainment account, my retirement or a dollar from my inheritance, yet I treat and feel differently about each. As I identify my Money Myths, I am confronting and dealing with issues that hold me back from the kind of life I want to live.
I would like to have a good, comfortable relationship with money. I want to appreciate it, have a healthy respect for it, not be wasteful of it, but at the same time have no trouble spending it for good value received.
And remember, just because it's a myth, doesn't mean its false. Another Money Myth I acquired somewhere is that money doesn't like to be around people who don't like it and are not comfortable with it. That myth may or may not be true; I'm still researching.
"Money's the same, whoever gives it to you. That was the point of money, after all: crisp and clean or wrinkled or disintegrated into quarters - a dollar was always worth a hundred cents."--Scott Westerfeld, The Last Days, 2006.