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Are Your Finances a Mess? Money and Emotion

Do you want to change problem behaviours that leave you financially unstable?

People perceive, value and treat money differently.  But regardless of how you interact with it, money and your financial circumstances play a major role in your life.  Money can provide security, freedom and power and lack of it can leave you feeling inadequate and trapped in undesirable circumstances.

So why do some people seem to attract it, while others are unable to hold on to it?

Problematic patterns in how you think about and manage money are often related to painful emotions such as guilt, fear and anxiety.  Certain events related to managing your money—say opening your bank statement, paying bills or denying yourself small, but unnecessary luxuries– trigger an intense emotional reaction.

It is these overwhelming, painful emotions that lead to impulsive and destructive money behaviours.

How you do money is how you do everything.  For example, poor eating choices are typically a result of filling a hole or need with food.  People who overspend are often trying to fill that same hole with shoes or the latest video game.

Beliefs and Attitudes

Intense emotional reactions can be linked to your beliefs and attitudes about money. You may have learned from early experience the value of self-denial and self-deprivation in money matters.  Or maybe money was always taboo in your home.  Or you received messages that you should feel guilty about money (“only the poor go to heaven”) and that money was unstable and scary (“you could wake up poor in the morning”).

Escape

Attitudes that contribute to guilt, fear and anxiety about money can cause you to simply want to escape.

Money and denial typically go hand and hand.  Denial is simply refusing to recognize or acknowledge a situation.   This refusal to look at the situation has caused more people to create serious financial issues for themselves.  For example, when the bank statement comes in, instead of opening it you throw it in a pile where you will “look at it later”?   Do you often get into trouble because you don’t know how much money you have?  Or, the last time you deposited money into your savings account was when your grandma sent you money on your birthday (hint:  she’s been dead more than ten years).  These are all symptoms of money denial.”

Acceptance

Emotional intelligence– that is the adaptive regulation of emotions— is connected to a less pronounced orientation toward money and a greater sense of economic self-efficacy.

Acceptance, rather than avoidance, decrease the intensity of your emotional reaction to money, improving your emotional intelligence.  You can make a choice and turn towards, rather than away from your money problems.

Changing your financial situation requires you to be willing to look at all the ways in which you sabotage your financial stability. Being willing to look at these issues is liberating.  Because in that moment of saying, “yes, I am willing to look at this and figure it out” one becomes energized, motivated, and powerful.  You become a person standing in your power around money.  The more you are willing to go deeper and deeper, to peel back the layers of your Money BS, the greater the transformation.”

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