The worst pickup line I've ever received was "I make more money here than every guy combined." Needless to say, on behalf of women everywhere, I was obligated to shut him down. And I did so with great pleasure.
But something about it stuck with me. I started to wonder, "Why do issues relating to money evoke such emotional responses?" Whether it's good, bad, uncomfortable, or arousing, money makes us feel things. And that's why we tend never to discuss it.
With the New Year just around the corner, I'm setting my intentions and setting myself up to receive abundance instead of lame pickup lines. With that, I think it's time that each of us get honest about our not-so-romantic relationship with money.
For many years, I viewed money as an indicator of value and self-worth. It's no different from using a relationship, dress size, or jar of Nutella to seek fulfillment. Like any fear-based mentality, our ego can keep us in an addictive hold, convincing us that we never have enough. When I have X amount of money, then I'll be happy we think. And what happens when we attain the amount we want?
Nothing. We strive for more, continuing the vicious and cyclical curse.
Imagine, as insane as this may sound, having a healthy relationship with money. Imagine viewing it not as an obstacle, but as a source of creating, giving, and enjoying life. The difference in how you view money is what's blocking your financial freedom.
But before we bust through that roadblock, let's take a look at the five most common beliefs that can obstruct our path to abundance:
1. "There's never enough."
This is the most common financial belief I see with my clients. It's the fear that convinces you there's no way you'll get a new job, that you'll never be able to afford what you need, or that there's simply not enough to go around. This fear lives in the land of comparison. It thrives on pointing out the differences between where we are and where we perceive others to be.
2. "Making money is suffering."
If I had been the good Indian girl my parents had hoped for, I would have been a doctor or lawyer. But seeing as how they had two other kids, I decided to say "f*ck it!" It wasn't that they thought I'd like those careers, they just wanted me to be "secure" in life. Still, I often struggled with the belief that it's a mutually exclusive choice: you can either do what you love OR make money. Not surprisingly, this caused considerable roadblocks to starting my own company. The "I can't make money doing what I love" is common among those who believe more readily in lack than abundance.
3. "I should 'get' rather than 'give.'"
As a former fundraiser, I've dealt with altruistic donors with net-worths in the billions and those who struggle to afford their children's medical expenses. No matter what they had or didn't have, they all focused on what they had to offer. It's all about perception. When we're focusing on "getting more," giving becomes an afterthought. Ironically, this blocks us from receiving and bringing more into our lives.
4. "Money separates people."
Our fears like to disconnect us and rank us against other people. Our beliefs around money are no exception. When you're living with a separation mentality, you believe that having money makes you better than others while not having it makes you worse. It may sound cheesy or cliché to say "we're all equal," until you look at the way we treat the ultrarich vs. those suffering from homelessness. It's an idea we believe in principle, but not in our everyday fear-driven lives.
5. "If I don't have X amount of money, what will I do?!?"
Do you obsess on what you need to have, rather than look at what you do have already, and what you can do with it? In other words, you can focus on how you don't have money, or you can get creative — you can focus on your own resourcefulness within, rather than just resources themselves.
But what haven't you tried? I recently worked with a health coach who was super anxious about the money it would take to start her business. She stressed the importance of a fancy website, an office space, and swag that she thought would make her seem legit. Here's my answer: WordPress, Skype, and no one wants another water bottle.
If one (or more) of these beliefs reflects your money mentality, it's time to witness your financial fears in action …
1. Get super cozy and intimate with your fear.
When you notice a fear come up, out it. For example, you might delay opening a bill that comes in the mail. You might assign more value to someone who looks super fancy. Or, my personal favorite, you procrastinate taking new action that could bring in more money.
2. Notice what details you're dwelling on.
Are you creating an image of what you'd like or what you'd like to avoid? There's a huge difference between opening my rent bill thinking "I'm grateful that I live in a place I love" and "ugh, why am I paying so much? I don't have enough money to do the things I want." When we're focused on what we are trying to avoid, we unconsciously bring more of it into our lives. However, if we're focused on gratitude and what we want to move toward, we bring in more of the good stuff. Are you focused on lack or abundance?
3. Recognize the gift of choice.
Specifically, realize that from that space of awareness comes the gift of choice. The choice to self-sabotage and believe in the fears you've created, or, the better option: to stop playing small and take new action. Because ultimately, your relationship with money and the meaning you assign to it shapes whether or not money flows in or out.
The choice is yours. You can continue placing your faith in your fear or you can get out of your own way and receive the abundance that's waiting for you. What will you choose?