Have you heard the phrase, “How you do one thing is how you do everything”?
It might be your outlook on life, or it might be ingrained behaviors, but whatever results or challenges you experience in “real” life might also be showing up in your money life.
For example, a person who has a positive, optimistic outlook on life not only sees the glass as “half full,” she’s also likely to see her home chores as being about blessing herself and her family with a clean, beautiful home, see work tasks as good practice for her future dream job, and see mistakes and failures as lessons toward becoming the person she wants to be.
On the other hand, a chronic pessimist is likely to dread Monday mornings, put off chores because “it will just get dirty again,” and see mistakes as evidence of her own personal failings.
Can you imagine how these basic attitudes might play out with financial events?
Either way, the outlook and subsequent decision is a choice. It may be a long-ingrained habit or set of habits that was taught to you as a child, but it’s still a choice.
And you can always make a different choice.
How I used to do everything
This certainly held true for me. Since I grew up in a codependent household, I always carried the weight of the world on my shoulders, and felt responsible for making everything “perfect” for everyone around me. Money simply became another tool to help make that happen.
I never questioned my motivations or whether or not it was the “right” thing to do with my money – when I was deep into it, and not questioning my own behavior, I felt like there was no choice (therapy eventually made my choices clear). And sure, I was taught to be organized, pay your taxes, never carry debt and to save for retirement…but those are very ambiguous objectives in the face of present-day, very real concerns—or at least, the things I perceived as problems.
And from the outside looking in, my codependency wasn’t about money; money was simply a tool to execute it. If I looked closely at my history, I have ALWAYS made the mistake of giving more than I got back, even without factoring in any money decisions.
When I used my money to solve things, people thought I was being generous–and initially, so did I. But it was a pattern of trying to get something from other people that I wasn’t giving to myself.
It was only after I realized and recognized these thoughts that I also realized I had the power to make different choices.
What choice are you making?
What is your energy dynamic between yourself and different people in your life? How are you using money to play out your overall energy dynamic?
If you find yourself constantly racking up credit card debt, ask yourself why you’re buying those things: Are you trying to keep up with the Joneses? Put on a persona of perfection? Appear a certain way to other people?
If you shop as therapy, ask yourself, what you’re avoiding? If shopping makes you happy, what makes you sad?
If you’re unable to spend money — even for things you truly need — ask yourself where you’re miserly in other areas of your life? Do you hang onto things out of a fear of lack? Are you afraid of relying on others? Are you ashamed of living a “lavish” lifestyle?
Identifying the energy that’s affecting your money decisions is the hard part — but once you do that, you’ll find that even just being aware of it opens up the possibility that you can make another choice. You don’t have to shop to be happy, you could read a book. You don’t have to pinch your pennies, you can buy those new shoes you’ve been coveting.
And as you begin to make these better choices around money, you may find it much easier to make better choices in the rest of your life.
Because how you do one thing, is how you do everything.
If you think you might need help with this, I have several free resources that talk about the interaction between your thoughts and money – you can get those here.