As a teenager, I dated someone who didn’t manage money well. For a long time, he was unemployed. I worked two jobs - a trainee at a dental practice during the day and a waitress at Hog’s Breath Café at night - supporting both of us financially. Despite paying two lots of rent plus bills, and earning a very low hourly rate, I managed to save several thousand dollars. It seems an impossible thing to have done, but I had a dream I was completely dedicated to: my very first overseas trip.
Yet the longer my boyfriend was unemployed, the more challenging keeping up with all our expenses got. While I covered our rent, bills and joint loan repayments, he was supposedly making his car loan repayments.
It wasn’t long until the car was repossessed.
The overdue repayments plus additional fees to release the car from the impound lot was thousands of dollars. But he “needed” that sports car “to get to job interviews”; and I was unconditionally supportive and assisting him in every way I could.
To get his car back, I had to withdraw most of the money I had saved for my trip. We went into the bank together for me to get the money out. As we left, I gently mentioned that I’d rather have not had to withdraw that money because I’d been earning interest on it. I recall the exact look on his face, the way he scoffed as he told me that was a dumb thing to consider because the interest was “fuck all” anyway and I was wasting my time saving.
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We all have stories. Not stories in the sense of a recount of events, a tale; but “stories” that we create because of events. In the incident above, I let the way I felt in that moment leaving the bank define my subconscious beliefs about money and myself for the next 15 fucking years. Sounds ridiculous, but I guarantee you are doing the same, in so many areas of your life.
The facts of the story above are that I loaned someone money to assist them; someone who happened to have different ideas and behaviours related to money than what I did.
But the conclusions I subconsciously drew from that situation were things like this:
‘It’s uncool/shameful/embarrassing to care about your finances’
‘When it comes to money, I’m stupid and know nothing’
When the relationship ended without me receiving even a cent back, despite my patience and generosity, I drew more conclusions:
‘Being financially responsible means I get hurt’
‘Having money is unsafe because it leads to betrayal’
The conclusions that we’ve drawn often seem silly and illogical when we bring our awareness to them, but they are very, very real to our subconscious minds. Those conclusions became our beliefs, which become our thoughts, that result in feelings and behaviours, creating the external circumstances we have in our lives today.
The conclusions I drew in this case resulted in years and years of financial stress for me, stuck in ‘the struggle cycle’, living pay to pay, never quite having enough money to make ends meet – let alone save. Money blocks are something I’m still working to clear and move beyond today.
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So, is there an area of your life that isn’t working the way you want it to; that doesn’t feel easy, flowing and joyous? For me it was my finances, but for you it may be your love life, your health, your career.
Think back to a pivotal moment, a memory you have that’s related to that aspect of your life. If you have a memory of something, it’s likely significant, so trust what comes to mind for you.
Take a moment to sit in stillness and really tune into it, and write down your answers to the below:
1. What conclusions did you draw from the incident?
2. What were the facts of the situation?
3. What else could it mean? What new possible conclusions could you draw?
You are the master of your destiny, and most definitely master of how you let your past affect you and define your present. So rewrite your story.
This could involve a bit of an identity shift – we become so attached to our stories. It can be scary to let go of beliefs we’ve held for so long, even if they’re not helpful beliefs. Remind yourself that what got you here won't get you there, to where you want to go. Something has to change in order for you to get different results.
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