The last few weeks have been insane, made more so by my emotions of anger and guilt that have surfaced around money.
I went to South Africa for 3 weeks and toured the country to my heart’s content.
I got back to South Korea on Saturday, and am now packing to leave for Sri Lanka to go get some tantric body work done.
But somewhere in the midst of all this, something happened to me – anger!
I thought my anger would drown me, especially when I looked at my bank account and saw just how much I’d spent in the last month.
I felt like I’d wasted money on all these travels and could have used most of that to invest or do something substantial.
And then there was the intense guilt that this is my life; I just keep travelling and chasing every dream and passion when my mom lives alone.
Even though my mom's okay financially and I don't have to help out, my guilt about her aloneness and my travels sometimes often stifles me.
The fact that money makes all this possible causes tension in my relationship with money.
I had to sit with my guilt for the last 3 weeks and as I sat with it I saw how often I contract and make myself small just so I can stop feeling guilty.
Sitting with my own guilt was difficult because my natural state is to contract and reject all opportunities.
My rational mind plays tricks on me and convinces me that if I had less resources then I could settle down and stay with my mom or move back to my apartment in Cape Town, which is only 2 hour flight from her.
Of course that’s the righteous part of my guilt.
There’s also the guilt-anger combo that makes me want to cut ties with my mother so I can stop feeling all this s*** and just live my life as I pretend to be Buddha incarnated.
But, alas I’m not Buddha and in an effort to adult holistically I’ve decided to spend the month of February tackling the family and money issue in depth in the Wealthy Money Magicians Group.
Most of us have been tempted to cut family ties over money.
The problem isn’t with the family members but with us and our issues with money.
Our relationship with our parents and families impacts our relationship with money
I have a good relationship with my dad. We’re close, and in all my years of coaching and therapy he’s been a non-issue for me (probably why he never features in my writing).
He barely comes up in the father work I do, because if I have an issue with him, I let him know then and there and we resolve it.
But my dad has impacted my relationship with money - he never spends money willingly on anything, except education and travel.
He believes in saving and traveling widely and far (he sees travelling as education).
I get my nomadic genes from him. As a child I understood this and learned to only ask him for money for my education.
I often had the sense that spending money (even on groceries) caused my dad physical pain.
And every now and then, I can see that trait within myself - spending money can sometimes cause me the worst physical pain in my tailbone and my womb.
My desire for my father’s approval led me to make a vow of loyalty to my father and to take on some of his financial traits.
Releasing the need to have my father's approval has helped relieve some of my guilt and anxiety about spending money - because approval and loyalty tend to go hand in hand.
Our most intense family relationship holds the key to our financial blocks
My relationship with my mom is different - she comes up in all the work I do and in almost all my therapy and coaching sessions.
My relationship with my mom has always been a tumultuous one, since birth.
It’s been the most challenging and defining relationship of my life, especially around money and romance.
Added to that fact - I also grew up desperately longing for my mother's approval.
My mother was the first person to tell me that it was shameful not to have money and that not having money made a person a laughing stock.
And I believed it.
And because I wanted my mother's approval I put lots of pressure on myself to avoid this shame.
That's why shame was one of the key emotions that affected me when I was in debt - it invaded every cell of my body, constantly reminding me that being in debt and unemployed made me the very thing my mother had warned me against.
In order to win my mother’s approval, I hid my financial situation from everyone, sank deeper into debt and spiraled into deeper shame until eventually all I could see was a failure whenever I looked in the mirror.
The need for approval can damage our finances & relationships
When I was little, I watched my mother make lots of money and get respect from her friends, family and the community.
When I was 13 all that changed - my mom gave everything to her brother, my uncle; because she believed his education and global citizenship (and maybe his gender) made him a better money manager.
It didn't. My uncle had no money management skills; within a year my mom lost everything and went broke.
When she lost her money, she also lost everyone's respect and found herself alone. Her family abandoned her and she was no longer of any use to people.
I learned some key lessons from all this and it changed my view of money.
I turned money into an enemy and it took me years to forgive money.
To me money was the lover that loved you, made others fall in love with and just when you agree to marry him, he ditches you at the altar, shames you, embarrasses you and leaves you to face the storm alone.
How could I trust such a lover?
In my eyes my mom was the victim and money was the perpetrator.
I made a vow to remain loyal to my mom and to protect myself from this lover and punishing money by rejecting money and refusing to deal with money in any way.
I was loyal to this vow to the point where dealing with money would cause me panic attacks and lead to acid reflux.
The only way to move forward financially is to forgive money and validate yourself
I’ve spent years working on my need for approval.
All that anger and rejection in my teens wasn’t just at money but at my mom too for making the decisions she made.
The adult me had to parent and guide my inner child to honor my mom's decision and respect that she was doing what she knew to be best at that time.
Forgiving money helped me forgive my mother.
For the first time I started to see her as human – a soul on her own journey, with her own struggles.
Perhaps her decision stemmed from her inability to see herself as worthy of that success or maybe she truly believed my uncle could do better for the family than she could or maybe she was exhausted from being the sole breadwinner in her family and just wanted to pass the baton.
So why am I sharing all this?
Because we all need to understand the way our relationship with our parents is affecting our relationship with money.
I wanted my parents’ approval so badly that I chose to take on vows of loyalty to them by emulating their behaviour with money or rejecting money.
Some people do the opposite - they make the decision to be different to their parents when it comes to money and make a vow to reject everything, even the good aspects, about their parents.
Until we acknowledge the memories that are causing these emotions and the emotions that are causing these behaviours (no matter how painful) it can be difficult to move forward financially.
This is why a huge part of the Creating Money Magic course (registration opens February 21st) is focused on meditations to release memories and emotions about money that are still in our bodies and holding us back.
The money meditations in the course helped me build a relationship with money and start having a conversation with money so I could talk to money often.
Through these meditations, I got to feel the pain I carried in my body, scream at money, shout at money and forgive money at a subconscious level.
As I built this relationship with money, I started to trust myself. Even when it feels like money isn’t showing up the way I want it to, I know I’ll be fine and that I’m powerful enough to get the things I want and desire.
How has your relationship with your parents or family impacted your relationship with money?