Turns Out My Relationship With Money is... Not Great. How About Yours?

A piggy bank - does your view of money reflect your view of your life?
Photo by Fabian Blank.

What's your relationship with money like? Mine is... controlled. Or controlling? It's definitely cautious. And I think it's holding me back.

I have always been very careful with money. Sure, I overspend from time to time and can splurge, but generally, it's all very guarded, because I truly never think I have enough. To a degree, not enough for right now, but mostly, not enough for that murky thing known as "the future."

It seems like I have always thought about money this way. I would obsess over "setting myself up" for life, adding up how much money I needed to earn to buy (for example) the $400K house down the street. (I realize that these days, for anyone who lives in a major city, that sounds like a steal of a deal, but this was the 90's in the suburbs, so that was crazy expensive. The house had a pond.)

What child does the math on how much she would need to earn at a summer job to buy a fancy house and then gets really really crestfallen that it's not going to be a thing?

Recently, some of my friends and I were talking about our future life plans and goals, and it became clear that the way I think about money is stopping me from dreaming about the future. Everything I envision is either impossible because it costs too much or because it could never earn me enough.

Just when I know that I need to put some effort into reforming my view of money, I come across this illustration by Hallie Bateman:

I truly don't know how to feel about it.

On one hand, it smells like one of these new-agey abundance mindset things that people say will just bring all the money into your life without even trying, which my practical brain can only view as hogwash.

On the other hand, the little mantras on this illustration aren't actually about creating a spiritual magnet to draw money in from the universe. They are about your attitude towards the money that both is and isn't there. A simple reminder that money is a thing that comes and goes, that you can use it for good, and that it is not a recipe for happiness in and of itself.

Those don't seem like bad lessons.

Oh boy, here's something I just realized: my beliefs about money seem to match my beliefs about what I get out of life in general, and guess what I seem to believe that I get out of life in general? That the best I can have is to struggle to keep up with the middle of the pack.

Innnnnnteresting! (And yikes!)

The middle of the pack isn't necessarily the worst place to be (after all, we don't all need to be exceptional), but the struggle to be there isn't great.

I think I may need to embrace some of these hokey-dokey money mantras for a while and see if they change my perspective!

How about you? How do you view money? Do you think your beliefs about money matter? Do you see a connection between how you look at money and how you look at your life as a whole? (Genuinely asking!)


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