When I ask people if they have a good relationship with money, the answer is generally ‘yes’ or ‘no’, however, the answer is never quite a simple as this. Even when we think we have our money under control, the reality may actually be very different.
One of the key areas I work on with people is MONEY BLOCKS because everyone has them, the problem is they don’t always know it.
So, what are money blocks, and why are they so important?
Everybody’s relationship with money is different, and this is because everyones experience with is unique.
A money block is a negative belief, or beliefs, that prevent you from being the best you can be. They can reduce your opportunities for financial growth and personal development; they can lower your self esteem and reduce creativity.
There are two key times when money blocks can be created; the majority come from childhood, because this is when our brain is at it’s most open for storing memories, and most importantly, connecting emotions, both good and bad, to those memories.
A child’s brain develops very quickly; at birth it is 25% of adult size; at 3 years it is 80% of adult size. During this period of rapid growth we start to take on learned experiences which will become our future beliefs. The experiences that are repeated the most will remain in the brain, those not used or repeated will begin to disappear during adolescence.
“It’s the repetition of affirmations that leads to belief. And once that belief becomes a deep conviction, things begin to happen.” – Muhammad Ali
During childhood, a child will make decisions using incomplete or incorrect logic or reasoning. They will have a very simplistic view of the world around them, especially where money is concerned, including understanding the value of an item or why they can’t get something they really want because it’s too expensive. It is instructions and encouragement from prominent figures such as parents and teachers that help children develop.
It’s important for children to learn about the money, but we need to be careful what we say, and how we act with money when children are around, especially at this particular time when there is more stress than normal where finances are concerned.
If a child hears and sees repeated, negative messages about money then this will be stored and taken into adulthood, and become their beliefs, which can then hinder them in the future.
“Every negative belief weakens the partnership between mind and body.” – Deepak Chopra
Any of these phrases seem familiar?
The second key time for money blocks to become ingrained in our minds is more random, and harder to control, because they can come from trauma, which can occur at any time and at any age. Being a victim of fraud or losing large amounts in failed investments can have a far greater, and longer reaching effect on the brain than it can on the pocket.
Trauma can affect your confidence, and can literally paralyse you from taking future action; the results can also take a very long time to overcome, and you may need professional help to deal them.
Here are two exercises to help you highlight possible money blocks that you may have, and where they potentially came from.
EXERCISE 1: get a pen and a note book, sit quietly for a while and see if you can come up with an honest list of your thoughts about money. Seeing your thoughts written down is the start to taking action and becoming more aware.
EXERCISE 2: who were your biggest influencers during your childhood (parents, guardian, teachers, peer group)? Can you remember what they said, or how they acted about money? Write down their names and under each name list any money memories you have about those individuals. Were they always negative about money? Did they impose restrictions? Were they careless with money? Try, if you can, to remember the exact words or phrases they used.
These exercises are the first, positive steps to Making Peace with Money; once you have highlighted your potential money blocks, you can then start to work on changing them; even memories created in childhood can be changed, it’s a case of rewiring the brain by swapping negative associations with positive ones.
Learning money mindfulness enables you to transform your money habits; it also helps you to take more control of your own life. By learning to clear and heal your money blocks you give yourself the opportunity to create space for new opportunities in your life.
The most exciting part of this process for me is seeing people who have created new, empowering money beliefs and witnessing the changes in their lives both personally and professionally.
It doesn’t mean that you will have no financial worries or problems, and unfortunately it won’t make you a millionaire (although the possibility is out there); what it does do is to give you a stronger, unwavering faith that in the long run things will be ok, that you have more control than you think you do and you are more comfortable with, and able to deal with change.