Money itself isn't good or bad. It's paper - money is not consciously making decisions on it's own. Therefore, it's neutral. Money is energy. It's the energy that we choose to use money with that determines whether it feels "good" or "bad." Our ability to obtain, retain, multiply and give money is based on much more than our money management skills. Money is a physical manifestation of our emotional, mental, and spiritual lives. Many of us try to get a grip on our finances by creating savings accounts, making budgets and even hiring financial planners. Although these things can be helpful, creating financial peace is about much more.
Speaking of financial peace, I took Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace class and it was a wonderful experience (If you don't know who Dave Ramsey is, in a quick summary, he is the "debt free" guy). I think Dave has a lot of great ideas about doing whatever it takes to get rid of debt. He makes some extreme suggestions, and people get excited about it. In my class, I watched folks cut up their credit cards, make budgets, and place all of their cash for the month in envelops. There was a lot of positive energy around getting rid of financial weight. I liked it. But! As an Integrative Wellness & Life Coach, I really struggled with some holes in the curriculum.
Dave suggests, "If you live like no one else, later you can live like no one else." Which means you should drive a beat-up car that you can pay for in cash, so that after you pay off all your debt you can go purchase your dream car, and you can purchase it with cash. But there is a major missing piece. The course never asks people to explore this important question: How did I get here in the first place? What were the behaviors, beliefs, feelings, and histories that created all this brokenness?
The reason people finance cars, and live beyond their means is largely based on their spiritual, mental and emotional state (and the financial peace class fails to address these critical issues). These are the issues that I want to briefly address in this e-blast, and that I will address in more detail in our upcoming workshop:
Emotional Health and Money:
Your ability to drive a beat-up car is contingent upon your level of self-esteem. Knowing that you have worth no matter what you drive, is the only thing that will enable you to drive an older car. Those who have to prove that they are worthy will over-extend themselves financially. They will buy clothes, cars, memberships, and even donate to causes to create an image of abundance. I have had several clients who have created the illusion of being financially well-off. They loan money to their friends and family, they donate to causes; yet, they struggle to make ends meet for themselves each month. I have met several "middle class" students who live in nice homes and their parents drive luxury cars, who have to face the reality that no one saved for their college education. The same kid that gets dropped off in a new BMW is faced with the harsh reality that they have to find a way to pay for college. Something is wrong here....and it's not really about money.
You think you have a money problem because it seems easier to make this about money. The truth is you lack self-esteem, self-worth, and self-discipline. Your financial state is a result of your emotional life...it just manifests in your pocket.
Spiritual Health and Money:
As a spiritual being, you are completely abundant. Your spirit is wealthy! And because you are your spirit, you're inherently wealthy, too. It's beautiful, really. However, we come from families and families are filled with people, and people have stuff and often their stuff becomes our stuff. Many of us are fighting the spirit of poverty, lack, or fear. Again, the spiritual aspect of money isn't about cashflow. Several professional athletes come from families in spiritual poverty; even though they make millions, they somehow manage to make themselves broke. Others who come from families in spiritual poverty hoard money; they cannot give because they do not trust that money is cyclical and that it will come back. People use money to control and manipulate others because of their fear that they are inherently unlovable. Though these issues manifest in our pocket, these are all issues of the spirit.
Mental Health and Money:
It is difficult to make good decisions when the mind and body are distressed. Stressed people don't eat well. Stressed people struggle in relationships. Stressed people can't even sleep. Therefore, it is not surprising that stressed-out people have money problems. People buy stuff because it makes them feel good to have things that they want. Often spending can be a major stress reliever, and for many can be an addiction. If we don't have the mental capacity to process our emotions we use money to help us cope. We spend when we are happy, sad, lonely, depressed, in love, or just bored. Thus, we create our own stress and anxiety around money because we create financial situations that we have to stress about.
Financial peace starts with changing your relationship with you...thus, giving you the ability to change your relationship with money. In The Soul of Money: Transforming your Relationship with Money and with Life, Lynn Twist writes:
“Money is like water. It can be a conduit for commitment, a currency of love. Money moving in the direction of our highest commitments nourishes our world and ourselves. What you appreciate appreciates. When you make a difference with what you have, it expands. Collaboration creates prosperity. True abundance flows from enough; never from more. Money carries our intention. If we use it with integrity, then it carries integrity forward. Know the flow—take responsibility for the way your money moves in the world. Let your soul inform your money and your money express your soul. Access your assets—not only money but also your own character and capabilities, your relationships and other non-money resources.”
My prayer is that you might know the joys of financial peace. Changing your relationship with money means changing your life. Are you willing to do the work to get from where you are to where you want to be? Remember, you can heal yourself. B. Well is here to support you as you create a rich and abundant life.
Dr. Adrianne R. Pinkney,
Integrative Wellness & Life Coach