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March 2, 2020
Word of the Week: Rewrite
Life Lesson: Notes From Camp 004 (our Dear Abby/Dear Sugar advice column: accepting applications here)
Your article [Monday Vibes: How Much Are You Willing to Sacrifice?] hit me hard today in a good way – I’ve grown up with less money and fought for what I have. My go to has always been a poverty mindset because that’s how my dad openly viewed our lives. This is definitely something I want to change or improve to the best of my ability. Any tips recommended?
I want to first honor your courage for stepping boldly into arguably one of the most difficult terrains on anyone’s healing journey (especially for women): money. Recognizing that there is something about your relationship with money that you’d like to change is the first step, one that many people are too afraid to take.
Poverty mindset is 100% something that gets passed down through generations. That’s why it can be so tricky to shift. Usually, our money stories are tied to unspoken family or cultural “rules” that have less to do with money specifically and more to do with what it means to be a “good” or worthy person. For example, did you learn that people with a lot of money are evil? Is it selfish to want to be wealthy? Is being labeled cheap the worst insult? Is hard work a badge of honor? Is productivity the definition of success? Are people who make less money lazy? Are you always supposed to put your family needs first? Is it expected that you self-sacrifice? Does your family praise martyr behavior?
Oftentimes our beliefs around money are so entangled with our family’s that it can be hard to even form our own opinions about it. So I’d start by asking yourself: What are you most afraid people are going to judge about you and your situation with money? Like, if someone were to say, “Erica, you are so _________________,” what would they say? For me, it’s “selfish,” “entitled,” “stuck up,” “ungrateful,” “petty,” “stupid,” and “irresponsible.” We usually craft our entire lives (and therefore our money mindsets) around not being whatever it is you are terrified of being (which is usually something we pick up from our parents and how they judged others).
The good news is we can absolutely disrupt these patterns and rewrite our money stories. The key is to first get to the bottom of where the stories we are telling ourselves are coming from. Usually, there are good, survival-based reasons why our lineages initially developed a poverty mindset. However, it’s important to examine if these reasons are still valid or if perhaps your current situation reflects a different reality. It reminds me of this Ted Talk I saw the other day by Tabitha Mpamira-Kaguri about intergenerational trauma. To illustrate how families often pass unresolved trauma from one generation to the next like a baton, Tabitha shared a story about a little girl who saw her mom cooking a turkey one day. The little girl asked, “Mom, why do you cut off the legs and wings before putting it in the oven?” Her mom said, “I don’t know, that’s just how my mom did it.” So they asked grandma, “Why do you cut off the legs and wings before putting the turkey in the oven?” She replied, “I don’t know, that’s just how my mom did it.” So they asked great-grandma and learned the only reason she did it was because she didn’t have a big enough pan at the time! Just goes to show how easily these stories can get passed down, even when times have changed.
And it sounds like you’ve realized times have changed for you. So, now you get to decide: What’s the new story about money that you would like to tell?
If you are wanting guidance on how to uncover the roots of your poverty mindset and change your relationship with money so you can live life with more joy and ease, here is where to register for my upcoming class: Rewrite Your Money Story. You can find all the details here.
Here are the themes we will be talking about:
Ask Yourself: What are you most afraid people are going to judge about you and your situation with money? What names are you terrified of being called?
Weekly Mantra: I have the power to rewrite my money story.