Your internal relationship with money (your beliefs, emotions, and imaginings around it) forms your general attitude towards it. Even if you’ve never spoken a word to your daughter about finances, she’s still likely to adapt your money mindset, positive or negative. Her learning would be based on observing how you handle your money when paying for things, how you behave when you’re making your money, and how you react when people give you money.
Maybe you’re thinking, “Impossible, there’s not much to see here.” Perhaps there are no wild gestures, but your child notices if you wince or sigh at your grocery bill or if your body and voice tense when she asks for rollerblades.
We mistakenly think we’re protecting our children by keeping our financial lives (whether in good tack or not) to ourselves. The trouble with this thinking is that you’re not hiding it as well as you hope. And the lack of clear information and open communication harms your daughter’s exploration and understanding of her relationship to money.
A more empowering approach (for everyone involved) is to talk about money like a neutral, objective force. To do this requires that we first understand and heal our relationship to money. Start with self-inquiry around what beliefs underlie daily financial mindset. Once we know why we find money stressful, scary, or taboo, we can reframe our past experiences. Then, we can opt to build new foundations based on a more inclusive understanding of what it is to live an abundant, wealthy life.
Money Mindsets That Strangle
In simple terms, a mindset is an internal set point for approaching a particular area of our lives. A belief is a thought we think over and over again. If we want to change how we behave around our finances, we need to become aware of what we believe to be true about money.
Do you recognize any of these constricting money beliefs?
- My self worth is equal to my net worth
- I have to do something to deserve money before I can have money
- Money is stressful, and I never have enough
- Money is the root of all evil
- It’s scary, and I’m not smart enough to handle my money well
Do any of the above statements feel familiar? If yes, then the chances are good that your default internal money setpoint errs on the side of scarcity, constriction, fear, and anxiety. Not fun.
The good news is that none of those beliefs are true and it is possible to shift to feeling expansive, abundant, safe, and whole, without having the numbers in your bank account change.
We’ve all inherited money beliefs. If your inheritance is mainly negative, you can take responsibility for stopping the cycle. By internally shifting your relationship with money, you’re doing the work to support new, positive external actions. You’re taking an unconscious hand-me-down, seeing it for what it is, and transmuting it into something supportive, positive, and healthy.
You’re also clearing the way for your daughter to foster an abundance mindset and see money as a powerful, accessible tool that she’s confident to handle.
Five Steps To An Abundant Mindset
1) Identify your negative money beliefs:
To find the positive pathway, you first need to know your starting point. Do not hold back. Set a timer for 10 minutes. On a piece of paper (that no one has to ever to see), scribble down every stressful, dark, shameful thought you’ve had about money and your relationship with it. Consider, how can you observe something and also be that thing? It’s scientifically impossible for you to be the beliefs you see on your page. Notice that.
2) Inform yourself:
Ask your parents about their experiences around money while they were growing up. Not an option? Then research what was happening politically and with the economy during their childhood. Understanding the money thread that runs down to you offers a clearer insight into why you view finances the way you do. This revelation is powerful because it allows you to start dis-identifying from negative beliefs.
If your grandma always said, “money maketh the man,” it’s easy to see why you started to think that your self-worth relates to your net worth. It becomes possible to get enough distance between you and the belief to begin critically poking holes. I mean, it’s 2021. Doesn’t “money maketh the man” sound ridiculous on many levels?
Keep going like this with each belief. Find the taproot (familial or societal) and dig it out.
Once you’ve taken the time to identify your limiting beliefs and connect them to unconscious familial hand-me-downs (or insidious societal hammering of “you’re not enough”) it’s time to forgive.
Can you see the money-themed struggle and suffering of your parents or grandparents? Looking back, can you see the anxiety and disappointment they carried when telling you you couldn’t go on that school trip?
Forgiving your parents, spouse, and yourself for any past financial mistakes or struggles is a pivotal step in releasing old patterns.
A therapeutic way of doing this is letter writing. Writing a letter (that you don’t send) explaining your experience, new understanding, and why you’re choosing to forgive frees up immense psychological and emotional bandwidth within you. It’s a putting down of the heavy things you needn’t have been carrying in the first place.
4) Be full of greatness:
We’re all a little weary of being told to practice gratitude for all its positive benefits. However, when it comes to reframing your money mindset, cultivating an attitude of noticing and appreciating what already fills your life, is imperative.
A refreshing take is to look at it as a way to fill yourself with great things. Imagine that each time you’re grateful for something in your life, you’re pouring joy into a golden inner well. Eventually, that well becomes so full that you cannot help but thankfully give from it to others.
And so the cycle of great fullness and inspired giving begins to turn.
Close your eyes. Take a deep breath and bring your awareness to your heart. Imagine looking out from an inner eye situated at your heart space. What are you appreciating right now?
5) Reframe your idea of wealth:
There are many millionaires who are not wealthy. There are families who own little but are rich in connection, experience, and understanding of life.
Money is perhaps an aspect of wealth but the experience of abundant life is available to anyone who realizes the true nature of reality. Look at the stars, consider the grains of sand on a beach or countless leaves on a tree. Abundance is nature’s natural set point.
When we redefine our idea of wealth to contain money as a small aspect of it, life becomes more spacious. When we choose to see wealth in a good night’s sleep, a nourishing meal with friends, an expansive beach sunset, we start to realize how incredibly abundant we already are.
Happy Money Mindset
Shifting to an abundance mindset takes intentional work over time. Don’t be surprised if you have to re-work the same belief. Think of it like wiggling a tooth. Some require more wriggling than others before they pop out.
Also, don’t feel you have to do this work in secret. Invite your family along for the journey. Layout what you want to achieve and turn it into a game. You’ll be teaching by example, fostering a collective family mindset of abundance, and healing ancestral lines as you go. Yes, you’re that powerful.
Written by Roxana Bouwer
Top photo by Karolina Grabowska from Pexels
Second photo by rawpixel.com from Pexels
Hey Parent, It’s Time To Clean Up Your Money Mindset is part of the Girls That Create series Talking With Girls About Finances