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Are you allowing money to bully you?

Redefining your relationship with money

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Given the current scenario in the world, it is only understandable that people are overcome with fear, anxiety and overwhelm. A lot of people have lost jobs across industries and employees are being laid off left, right and centre while the biggest of businesses have gone crashing down. At times like these, it is easy to be led into skepticism and question the reliability of the ‘safety net’ we’ve worked so hard to build all our lives – having a secure job, investing in the stock market or real estate – making all the ‘right’ choices so we can lead the lifestyle of our dreams. Yet, at times like these, we find ourselves overcome with stress and anxiety as the future seems uncertain and our idea of stability and security is put to question. It is also however precisely at times like these, that the results of the litmus test of our resilience and our relationship with money are brought to the fore.

Yes, you heard that right – our relationship with money. Do you feel that you have one? Each one of us does, whether or not we acknowledge it or are willing to look at it that way. We share a relationship with money just as we share a relationship with the people around us, and just as our relationships with people have patterns that show up over and over again (unless we consciously change them), so does our relationship with money. 

Basically, we have an automatic response system that kicks in every time we’re dealing with money – it’s management, creation, generation, growth. These auto responders are usually a reflection of the patterns that our primary caregivers had with money. Your relationship pattern with money could be that of persistent debt or exorbitant expenses. It could be that of difficulty in creation itself or even absolute ease with creation and complete lack of money problems. Or it could be that of ease with creation but relative difficulty in having it stay put or perhaps even a struggle to make ends meet. Whatever that pattern is, it is likely that you’re duplicating the patterns that your primary caregivers had with money. 

If you have memories of the adults around you lacking the emotional intelligence of navigating themselves effectively through times of financial chaos, it is possible that your auto-pilot response at chaotic times like the ones that we’re living through would mirror theirs. This may show up in the form of unhealthy psychological and behavioural patterns like:

  • Pressing stress and anxiety 
  • Substance abuse
  • Obsessive compulsive behaviours
  • Playing the blame game 
  • Whining and complaining

If on the other hand however, your memories are that of the adults around you being willing to be vulnerable and maintain an authentic emotional connect instead of abusive codependency dynamics, it is highly likely that your auto-pilot response system will mirror that during these seemingly tough times. An authentic emotional expression might look like:

  • Having healthy discussions around how to deal with the current chaos
  • Taking actionable steps together that’d invite new possibilities into your lives
  • Being able to voice your concerns without excessive guilt or fear

This is not about blaming your caregivers or making them wrong. They were doing the best they could, with their levels of awareness or lack thereof. This is about knowing that if you’re willing in this moment to choose differently, you can breakthrough those patterns – one step at a time. The former category of caregivers who were weighed down by the negative repercussions of the ‘external’ financial situation, allowed money to bully them; while the latter turned the same situation into an impetus for their long term financial growth. Same situation, different response, therefore creating a different result. 

Interestingly, even in the current financial mayhem that we’re experiencing in the world, we can see these two categories of people at play – one that seem to be too stressed to even begin to find a solution to their financial ‘problems’ and the other that though stressed, are looking at this as an opportunity to create their lives in a bigger and grander way – well aware that it is a process that may not bear immediate fruits but would be a rewarding one in the long run nonetheless. This is not to say that you should be disregarding the stress you’re feeling or that your emotions aren’t valid. This is just to make you aware of your auto-pilot responders; because that awareness accompanied with subsequent action, will liberate you from the past, so you may be able to create a better financial future for yourself. 

According to neuroplasticity, what we practice grows stronger. If the financial response systems that you duplicated from the adults around you have made you practice worry, stress and anxiety, those are the emotions that have been wired into your nervous system and have become part of your body’s memory at a cellular level. If the financial response systems that you duplicated from the adults around you helped you tune into feelings of joy, gratitude and possibilities, those are the emotions that have been wired into your nervous system and have over a period of time, become stronger. 

A phenomenal characteristic of the human brain is that it has the capacity to unlearn existing patterns and learn new ones that serve you better. It always begins with awareness and acknowledgement of your current pattern with regards to your relationship with money. And with that, the ball gets rolling and your relationship with money starts changing for the better one conscious choice at a time. The choice though, is always yours to make – are you going to allow yourself to be bullied by money? Or are you going to allow money to become an impetus for your continual expansion and growth? 

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