It’s hard for all of us to release our stories–especially our own personal money story. I recently had a personal release with a family story, that I realized the process I experienced could be applied to anyone’s money story for a better release.
I’ve had a tough road with my father. Not because of anything he actively did; I was just never as close to him as I was to my mother. He’s always been a workaholic, so he was never around when I was growing up. We didn’t really get to know each other until he realized he enjoyed chatting with me during the time I earned my MBA. And if you read about my holiday irritations, you know that he has some habits that just annoy the hell out of me. All family members do.
But I just had an interesting long weekend with him. He came up to help me work on some home projects which involved packing and unpacking some boxes, moving furniture, assembling some IKEA purchases, fixing stuff—essentially, he agreed to be my handyman for 5 days. And by the end of our time together, I had a whole new perception of our relationship.
Deeper Appreciation & Understanding
Whenever dad helps me, I always make sure I actively appreciate his efforts through taking him to special dinners, verbally thanking him throughout the day, bringing him cookies and treats and being as supportive as I possibly can be of whatever project we’re currently executing. Because I DO appreciate his help. But for some reason, something really struck me this trip:
This guy really loves me. In spite of all of the stories I tell myself about my childhood, and all of the arguments we have about how life works, I can’t question my father’s love for me. But sometimes I have used those stories to avoid loving him as much as I was capable of. We can certainly behave lovingly without actively feeling the emotion.
But I really saw my dad’s “active” loving of me this weekend. He refused to let me carry out trash or recycling the entire time he was here. He refused to let me help assemble the IKEA stuff I purchased (which was also a smart move). He made sure my bathroom vents were sparklingly clean. He put himself in charge of carrying anything over 20 pounds.
It’s crazy, but I became SO clear these past few days that when it comes to a man like my father, he is in his element when he is doing something for me—versus sitting around and talking like we did during the holidays. He can’t fully express his love for me sitting around and chatting. Can any of us? And for some reason, I could receive what he was willing to give me more easily than ever before.
When we just sit around and chat, my old stories about him tend to come up. I find myself judging what comes out of his mouth, thinking things like, “Hmm, typical.” And yet this weekend, I didn’t judge him once. We were too busy working, and I was too busy appreciating him.
I remember times in the past when he’s helped me—he built a catio for my balcony, and he always hangs my pictures perfectly straight—and I have always appreciated his help and been grateful. Today my appreciation runs deeper. I now understand his handyman efforts are pure expressions of his love for me. And I am starting to wonder if loving other people—or pets, or life situations—can ever be a passive endeavor.
Active Appreciation For Your Money Story
My newfound understanding doesn’t mean I won’t backslide into my stories; already I was irritated when I pulled something out of a box he packed and he used about 10,000 sheets of paper to pad something that couldn’t break if I threw it out my window! But I was able to recover my good feelings about him much more quickly.
There are a lot of people out there who have a money story because of their family of origin, me included. Sometimes it’s difficult to forgive and release your resentment over how family members behaved (and taught YOU to behave) around money. Or maybe you’re not feeling the love with your life partner because of current challenges.
And it’s awesome to have a scapegoat. I was just telling someone the other day that I’m actually a little sorry that my relationship with my sister is improving, because now I don’t have someone that I can automatically blame for everything that goes wrong!
If I don’t have my dad or my sister to hold responsible for things not going as well as I hoped—be it the holidays, money or something else—then I have to acknowledge that I need to step up and take responsibility. That the past no longer informs my current reality.
After my experience this weekend, I have realized several things about my stories and your money story in general:
Only the present counts. If you’re willing to let go of what has happened already, you can experience the present much more fully. For some reason, this weekend I was able to dismiss my old stories about my dad and REALLY see him for who he is today. If you release your old money story, what do you see in front of you?
Get comfortable with duality. The only time I get irritated with my father is when I am telling myself a story (like he “shouldn’t” use so much packing paper to wrap plastic jugs). Or if he loved me, he “should” do X . . . after appreciating my father so much this weekend, I can say, my father loves me without reservation and he’d rather eat live ants than chose a restaurant for us to go to. One doesn’t inform the other. I can live with that. Your money relationship may be both good and bad, expanding and contracting, ebbing and flowing—the duality can exist to serve you if you stop telling stories about it. It just IS.
Release your scapegoat. If you still have someone or something “on call” that you use as the reason why you’re not doing as well as you could be, let that scapegoat go. Decide that s/he is no longer the reason for anything in your life, and that today starts with your choice. My dad probably never knew he was one of my scapegoats, but I can be sure he’ll notice our deeper relationship.
True understanding comes from action. I’m amazed at the insight into my father that I gained this weekend. But I didn’t go in thinking that I was going to improve my relationship with him—that was simply a revelation and a by-product. With your money story, you have to take action before you’ll gain insight—but if you stick with it, it will come!
Love is a choice. “I love you” gets flung around pretty regularly, but I can count on one hand the people who I can ask, “Hey, would you be able to help me move 20 boxes to my storage unit this weekend?” and who would show up to do it. If love is a behavior that produces the emotion of appreciation, what behaviors can you engage in to produce more money love and appreciation? What would you do, knowing that sometimes love comes more slowly?
Actions This Week
- Identify your scapegoats. I wasn’t consciously aware that I was still using my father as an excuse. Who do you blame in your life when things don’t go the way you hope? You can identify them by the resentment you feel.
- Review loved ones. Who do you know who would drop everything for you to come help you do whatever you needed? Who has the potential? Are you “actively” loving these people? If not, maybe you should start. And if we’re talking money, what are you willing to do to get some love back?
- Schedule some action. Do you want to get closer to your money or another person? Book the time to DO something…intellectual thought and conversation are overrated.
And if you want some help releasing your story, I find my free ebook Money Chakras helps a lot – it gets down to the energetic reasons why you do the things you do. You can download that here.