How To Have Less Struggle With Money Problems

Posted on April 10, 2013 | By Mindy Crary


Back when I was having hard times and money problems, I wished daily for less struggle. More ease. A relationship with money that sustained me, instead of needing to work constantly to sustain it. What I realized—and what changed my relationship –is that the idea of less struggle and more ease starts on the inside, not the outside.

Less Struggle

I recently had an incident that reminded me of this. I experienced a setback (business related, but not money related, which is how I console myself that I initially didn’t see the connection) and I found myself thinking, “Why do I have to remain CONSTANTLY vigilant to make sure my business is on track?” I was frustrated, irritated and really feeling my inner Tyrannosaurus Rex (RAWR! I will lay waste to all that I see! RAWR!)

First, I stopped myself and got grounded. We typically have enough basic awareness to TRY and assess what is REALLY happening, but often we forget to get our brains off of the Tilt O’ Whirl of activity and just STOP. For me, I have to walk away from all electronic devices and get some fresh air.

Next, I asked myself, “What attachment did you have to this setback?” For me, success = intelligent, effective business person…but I didn’t have a positive characterization for myself if my experiment wasn’t successful, so I immediately jumped to TOTAL FAILURE, even though that’s probably a bit extreme. When I calmed down, I realized that I am allowed and REQUIRED to make mistakes to continually improve.

Then I asked myself, “What is the personal growth opportunity?” An ongoing “growth opportunity” for me is preventing isolation. I was raised in a family where you worked alone and did everything yourself. My default is “alone,” so my personal growth opportunity is ALWAYS collaboration and expansion. I realized that this setback probably wouldn’t have happened if I had not tried to do it all alone and had asked for more support.

Finally, I asked myself, “What did you learn from this setback?” I learned that I was in “overfunctioning, control freaky mode” trying to accomplish a set of business tasks, and that is NOT the kind of energy I want to bring to my business! And creating any tactics when I was in that head space would not be effective.

Once I was able to reframe the experience, I felt a lot better about it, and I was able to start planning my next experiment to incorporate all of the elements that made this last attempt fail—collaboration, expansion, support and the spirit of possibility—instead of attachment.

Money Problems

So how can this be applied to less struggle with money problems? I see the same dynamics happen when someone is having money problems:

Overwhelm – people are always trying to make money decisions when they ALREADY have 10 different things happening at once! Stop the merry-go-round (or whatever your favorite throwing-up-ride-at-the-amusement-park happens to be).

Attachment – people starting thinking, “If I can’t pay this bill now, the world falls apart.” It actually doesn’t, that is just your projection if things don’t happen perfectly (and they never do). Ask yourself, “Is that REALLY true? How can I know that it’s true?” Ala Byron Katie.

Personal Growth – You are where you are because of WHO you are. Whenever you feel struggle, there is always an opportunity to show up in a different—and ultimately better—way.

Learning – The real world learning is what you can apply from your personal growth lesson. For some, it might be “never carry credit cards in my wallet,” or “ figure out ways to show up in a better way for my family and our money.” You get to decide.

Actions This Week

If you’re in the midst of a struggle over worry over something, consider these steps:

  • STOP everything. You can’t get clarity or feel better until you “reset” yourself back to the present moment. Go outside. Walk your dog. Dance to Earth, Wind and Fire (no judgment).
  • Reinforce: NOTHING IS WRONG. This current struggle is powerful information, about yourself and how you deal with issues. Lean into it. Be willing to take the lesson.
  • Connect with a loved one. I recently read Jenny Lawson’s book Let’s Pretend This Never Happened…first of all, I laughed so hard I cried, but secondly, it reinforced for me the powerful of having someone in your life who loves you NO MATTER WHAT. This is VERY beneficial when you’re in the dregs of money struggles.

And in the comments tell me …

What causes most of your freak outs, struggles and attachment issues?

And thanks for being part of the Creative Money Community, I appreciate it!

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photo credit: Βethan via photopin cc

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28 Responses to “How To Have Less Struggle With Money Problems”

  1. amy says:

    Great article! My most daunting situation is my student loans. Finishing my master’s degree…but I still “freak out” once in a while wishing I had never borrowed a penny over what I needed for tuition. :(

  2. My freakouts happen when I forget a check is out there – or about a scheduled payment – and money I thought I still had is suddenly spoken for. I’ve started putting every payment on my calendar.

  3. Susan says:

    Wow, I particularly love #2: “Reinforce: NOTHING IS WRONG. This current struggle is powerful information, about yourself and how you deal with issues. Lean into it. Be willing to take the lesson.”

    Reflecting, my meltdowns tend to be around my relationships, especially with my kids and parenting skills, or seeming dearth thereof. Yes, there is an element of re-defining my identity at play. And they tend to come when I’m succumbing to a sense of overwhelm or fatigue and I’ve been “beating the failure drum” in my head.

    Taking a few minutes to get away physically is key for me, too, and brief journalizing can really help me focus/ sort out my swirl of concerns and confusions. Also, re-set my current intentions, and request help through spirit connections/prayer.

  4. Nadine says:

    Love these advices!

    It’s true that it’s very easy to get caught up and make decisions at an overwhelming/stressful/guilty time.

    Thank you for sharing these precious advices with us Mindy :)

    – Nadine

  5. Maureen says:

    I love that you mentioned Byron Katie’s “Is it true? ” question from The I downloaded her worksheet and just poured out my meltdown into it in answering the 4 questions. Then leaning into the lessons as you say with Byron Katie’s “turnarounds” to learn the lesson. Now my meltdowns come much less often because I have pulled off it’s mask so I can recognize the real truth comming at me now.
    I also use the journaling tool found on the website to help with my Morning Pages (from the book The Artist’s Way). This website has help me clarify intentions and plan the next steps in my goals. It is a great way for me to make things happen in my life. I accomplish so much more now since using this online journingly tool.
    Yesterday I even used it to prepare myself for a tricky meeting by outlining what I was a most afraid would happen and ideas on what I could say, what attitude I would bring to the meeting and how I would leave it. I must say it worked like a charm.

  6. Donn says:

    My biggest money challenge is that we have, in effect, a cap on our income and savings. If we save anything, our disabled daughter loses her insurance until the bills wipe out the savings, at which point we can get back on the insurance. So each month, we are forced to live hand-to-mouth. There have been months we have had to skip meals. Although the insurance covers our daughter’s medical expenses, both my wife and I avoid doctor visits (even though we also have good insurance) because we don’t have the money for co-pays. It feels like we are stuck–I can’t do what I’ve always done, which is go out and get a second job, because that will raise the income, the insurance will stop, and the bills will just take everything extra I earned anyway. I can’t figure a way out of the vicious circle without winning the lottery.

    I’m very much aware of Byron Katie, and things like that help a great deal with the stress. I’m mainly looking at it in practical terms. I can’t figure a way to responsibly build a safety net without violating regulations, and so it puts us in a situation where all it will take is the transmission breaking in the car or the air conditioning going out to tip us over the edge.
    Donn recently posted..Two tips for using humor in speechesMy Profile

    • Mindy Crary says:

      Hey Donn,

      Thanks for commenting. I hear that you’re in a tough practical spot, so that needs practical action. A special needs attorney and a tax accountant could tell you how to create more entity “separation” so that your daughter gets the support she needs and you and your wife can create the life you want. I encourage you to talk with professionals who can lay out some options for you. Good luck.

  7. cathy says:

    It doesn’t matter whether you have a little or a lot, I think a lot of us struggle with money and we don’t need to. I struggle with all the reporting forms…my accountant keeps me in line with those…but I always, always, am right down to the very last minute…and if I would just do them sooner…I wouldn’t have to dread them.
    cathy recently posted..Beyond Time Management in a Moment of ClarityMy Profile

  8. I’ve been there before and this is such valuable and pertinent information that you shared Mindy. Your willingness to share this struggle is admirable and the action steps are so important for expansion. The way you shared the questions you asked yourself and recognizing that it all starts on the inside – key! I totally agree with reinforcing that nothing is wrong and of course connecting with a loved one(s). We can always learn from struggle and we can move forward even stronger.
    ashley taylor recently posted..don’t stopMy Profile

  9. Renee says:

    Mindy, you are right about it starting from the inside. Money is just an energy that comes from within. You willingness to share your woes and how you dealt with it through inner stillness is a wonderful model when life becomes overwhelming. As my grad school loans soon loom over me in a few months, I will return to your questions and look within myself for some answers.

  10. Pam Pearson says:

    Ironically before I read your post I had to get away from all technology, go outside, breathe some fresh air and take a walk with the dog! Detaching from my challenges and realizing they ARE not me – that I am separate from them is a way I bring myself back. Sometimes it takes completely stopping and then going back to crawl mode. Such key suggestions you make. Thank you!
    Pam Pearson recently posted..Choosing a Quality Nutritional SupplementMy Profile

  11. Awesome article! I loved how you broke it down into those 4 steps with the reflection questions. Reflection questions are VITAL. I know that whenever I encounter a speed bump with money, I get way too overwhelmed that I forget at the beginning to pause and STOP. I discovered that there’s a lot of empowerment when you actually do take that pause and assess your situation.
    Bianca Filoteo | Video For Shy People recently posted..How To Structure Your Video BlogsMy Profile

  12. Jenn Morgan says:

    I love the clarity of your writing and the perfect image you chose. What makes me freak out about money? December… It is like the moment of truth month.. How did I do? what did I spend my money on? I found that working with someone to get over my judgement, has helped me be non-emotional about this reflection time. And, that has helped me freak out less and be more pro-active. I highly recommend working with someone like you, who is organized and clear about money… because not only does it reduce stress, but it has helped me create more money with less effort 😉

    • Mindy Crary says:

      Thanks Jenn! I also just told someone today that if he really wanted to reach his income goal, he could tell me how much he had already made this year (he didn’t know). I’m the type that has to get on the scale daily or I don’t make progress, AND I tend to judge myself if I’ve gone a long time without measurement, so I totally get where you’re coming from. Thanks for stopping by!
      Mindy Crary recently posted..How To Have Less Struggle With Money ProblemsMy Profile

  13. Thank you Mindy!
    I really appreciate this post. Vital tools to stop pause and reflect in these hyper disturbing moments of financial freak out! I have less than I ever had, but as you know, it IS a constant and finding new ways to grow myself financially is vital for business and life. I have jotted these down and posted them on my desk.
    Kathleen Prophet recently posted..The Cocoon – Sacred PassagewaysMy Profile

  14. Attachment to perfection can certainly be a challenge for me. Once I forgot to pay the car insurance and was so upset and crying I couldn’t even calm down enough to call the insurance co. to see what to do. So my hubby made the call and what do you know…they had a week grace period, which we were well within. I should have taken a walk and chilled out enough that I could call them! :)
    Christie Halmick | Jewels Branch Creative recently posted..Women Branching Out: Megan FlattMy Profile

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