Lets Get Emotional

We have all been working on  taxes.  We get everything into nicely ordered piles and fill out the organizer our accountants send us.  It looks so neat on paper – the dollars and cents laid out on financial statements.  Assets line one side, liabilities on the other. You can cleanly lay out income versus expenses.  Spreadsheets are precise and orderly.  Money looks like it should be a logical, clear-cut part of our lives.  NOT!

Money involves emotion, and lots of it.  This is why our financial realities are never going to be tidy or easily calculated.   It is what money represents that brings the heart felt, gut wrenching, heady high roller coaster of emotions out. There is a disconnect between the numbers laid out on a piece of paper and the hopes, dreams, aspirations, challenges and hurdles that are reflected in real life.

We need to understand and embrace that the numbers that fit in the box and in our heads don’t fit as neatly into our hearts and intimate conversations. However, for us to experience true financial health in our lives, these two components need to blend in harmony.

From 30,000 feet it is easy to talk about money. We talk about the markets – what your return was or wasn’t.  We pontificate about the problems with our economy or government, the programs that are or are not working.  We look at others and prognosticate why their lives are better or worse than our own.  What happens when we bring it back to earth, looking deeper inside ourselves?

What isn’t working?  More often than not, feelings associated around money lean toward the negative.  There are attitudes and mindsets around scarcity, fear, guilt, greed, distrust, resentment or despair.  Yes, there are real problems out there and solutions need to be worked towards, but this negativity is not the answer.  It starts with looking at ourselves and what are we personally willing to change. We need to capture and transform the unconstructive talk in our own minds and with each other.

Thought leaders around the world are coming to agreement on what will work. What constructive emotions and feelings around money need to be planted, cultivated and nurtured? The list starts with grateful, optimistic, empowered, pleasurable, content, inspired, secure, confident, and blessed.  Take it from here and add more.

There are four primary areas of financial connection in your life.  First, money comes into your world in a myriad of contexts and quantities.  Next, you can give of your financial resources.  You can also save and invest your money. Finally, you make decisions on your financial expenditures.   How do you feel about each of these areas?  Are there positive or negative sentiments involved?  Would you like to shift and include or build on more positive feelings in these areas?   If something needs to change, what do you want to do about it?  When and where do you want to start?  Who do you want to include?  What do you see as a productive outcome?

It may be as simple as feeling grateful for having food in the cabinets instead of  dreading going to the grocery again.  It may entail some soul searching as you look at your career choice, in place of drudgingly going to work each day.  You may rethink how you want your investments positioned as an expression of your intentions for supporting healthy corporate cultures.  You could vet your giving choices to discern what really speaks to your heart and leave the guilt behind of not being able to help everyone.

If you have not finished your taxes, hopefully you have filed for an extension and you can keep putting numbers in the nice boxes. You want to look at your income and your expenses and make sure the former is greater than the latter.  The logical, neat side is vital.  Take a risk to venture to the emotional side.   I encourage you to look at the feeling side of your financial life and choose one area to create a new positive monetary moniker for yourself.

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