Let’s say you try saving money, but there’s always some ‘emergency’ that comes up and you use it. Or as soon as your paycheck comes in, you spend it. Or if only you can earn more than what you’re making now.
You could just be missing the tools or knowledge to improve your situation.
Let’s say you try saving money, but then your car breaks down. Or your fur kid needs emergency surgery.
Perhaps your paycheck just seems to evaporate the moment it hits your bank account.
Maybe you’re just not MEANT to have money…
Or, maybe it’s not your fault, and you’re suffering from unhealed money wounds.
What Are Money Wounds?
Money wounds are your beliefs, thoughts, behaviors, or feelings that limit you from achieving financial abundance.
How you think and feel about money originates from your beliefs about it. Most of your beliefs stem from your childhood, more than likely from your parents — how they felt about money, how they handled their money, and their opinions about people who have or didn’t have money.
In this age of social media sharing, you’re constantly bombarded with things you should have but don’t. It creates a world of want (or what the kids nowadays call F.O.M.O., also known as ‘fear of missing out’), causing you to fall into feelings of anxiety, fear, envy, and even doubt.
“Your money — and hence your life — is a reflection of your beliefs about money,” explains Ken Honda, Japan’s Zen Millionaire and bestselling author of Happy Money: The Japanese Art of Making Peace with Your Money.
These negative money beliefs get imprinted subconsciously on our mindset way into adulthood, creating the money wounds we suffer from today.
Money Wounds You May Hold
Many make the assumption that to stop suffering from money problems, they need to change their financial habits. But there’s more to it than that.
“Regardless of the amount of money that you receive, it can give you different feelings,” Ken explains.
Money wounds stem from traumatic experiences that make you associate money with pain. For example, it can be your parents fighting over their divorce settlement or your boss not paying your salary. And as with all triggers, you tell yourself negative stories, or money scripts, that (although not necessarily true) become your truth.
The money scripts
Have you ever thought to yourself:
- “If only I had more money, it would make everything better.”
- “Money is evil.”
- “Money doesn’t grow on trees.”
- “I don’t deserve money.”
- “There will never be enough money.”
- “I only live once, splurge.”
- “It’s not nice to talk about money.”
These are the money scripts you tell yourself that limit your beliefs and keep you stuck in a financial rut. They are perspectives you’ve latched onto, either guided by people or society or ones you’ve chosen to embrace on your own.
The term ‘money scripts’ was coined by two psychologists, Ted and Brad Klontz, who are known to be the first to combine the fields of psychotherapy and financial planning. They identified a number of common money scripts, including those previously mentioned, that can negatively impact your emotions and therefore, your life.
When you tell yourself money scripts that are negative in nature, it has toxic effects on your emotions and hinders your capacity to welcome abundance and prosperity into your life.
Ken says, “healing the wounds and pain around your negative emotions associated with money is crucial because they will subconsciously keep you away from receiving more and taking the right opportunities in life.”
Some of the more common negative emotions associated with money and abundance, according to Ken, are:
- Fear. You worry about anything and everything — you don’t earn enough and don’t know how you’ll pay your bills, you earn too much and you may lose what you have, or you’re unsure of how to manage it well. You worry so much that it becomes so stressful, you avoid your finances.
- Shame. Although you may have a great career and a good salary, you still think you don’t make enough money. So, you cover that shame by buying things.
- Unworthiness. You think you’re unworthy because you may have had a childhood that lacked love and security. This wound compromises your career where you don’t feel like you’re worthy of your dreams.
- Embarrassment. Society tells us that we have to look a certain way or have certain things, but you don’t want to admit your financial situation isn’t looking that great. You may have made a bad investment or spent beyond your means. And now you’re embarrassed to admit your mistake on the chance that someone will judge you.
- Shyness. You have a hard time about receiving, charging, or giving money. For example, the person who wants to hire you can’t afford your charges, so you decrease your rate instead of upholding your worth.
- Guilt. You feel guilty when you make money or when you receive it.
A 2020 survey by the National Financial Educators Council (NFEC) shows a connection between people’s finances and their emotional state. According to Vince Shorb, CEO of the NFEC, his clients’ “stress, shame, and lack of confidence often led to worsening financial problems and spilled over to negatively affect many other areas of their lives.”
Because your negative emotions are often subconscious, they have an influence on your decisions and actions. They put you in situations of self-sabotage and block the path to abundance. That’s why it’s important to identify your money wounds and learn how to heal them.
Abundance You Can Attract
It can be challenging to change deep-seated beliefs about money, especially when there are emotions attached to them. Warren Buffet once said, “until you can manage your emotions, don’t expect to manage money.”
But the good news is that you don’t have to remain in the never-ending story of your money scripts. According to Ken, you can make peace with your wealth and have happiness in your life by shifting, what he calls, your Money EQ — your emotions towards money and abundance.
Here are steps you can take to change your money wounds to money wins:
Understand your current relationship with money
First thing’s first: understand your relationship with money.
Get to the root of your money wounds — if possible, trace it back to a specific event or time in your life, like your parents’ divorce or when your boss first delayed your salary payment. When you get to the root of why you started believing your money scripts, you’re in a much better position to counter them.
Ken suggests taking a look at the money or your card in your wallet. Feel the emotion (or multiple emotions) that rise up when you do. Ask yourself:
- Is it a positive or negative emotion?
- Do you treat your money well?
- Is your money happy or unhappy?
- Will it thank you or complain?
If you’re identifying positive emotions, you’re doing great! Keep going. If you’re feeling negative emotions, don’t worry. Allow yourself forgiveness and the opportunity to make things right with your wealth. As Ken says, “this relationship with money has been there for many years and it has its history, so whatever you might feel, forgive yourself.”
Being aware of your emotions when it comes to money can be the start of opening yourself up to abundance.
Determine what you really want
The word ‘wealth’ means different things to different people. For some, it means good education, a successful career, status, and a luxury lifestyle. For others, it’s good health, family, and fulfilling relationships.
Based on Ken’s research, people want money for a sense of security, to feel powerful, and as recognition.
But what does it mean to you?
If you have a job that you love and a life filled with beautiful relationships, you may consider yourself a wealthy person. On the other hand, if you hate your job or feel that you’re not making enough, all the money in the world won’t make you happy.
When it comes to wealth, there are no limits. A $1000 cheque could be an incredible amount for one person, but hardly a dent for another. So, the question you may want to ask yourself is, how much money is enough to be considered wealthy? Define what wealth means to you, otherwise, you may just find yourself continuously working to chase ‘wealth’ without ever reaching it.
Take a pointer or two from rich people, like Ken. They view wealth in such a completely different way than the rest of us. What does wealth mean to a Zen Millionaire? He looks at it as:
- Loving who you are
- Enjoying where you are
- Enjoying what you have
From ‘sad money’ to ‘happy money’
Ken’s book is called Happy Money: The Japanese Art of Making Peace with Your Money for a reason. His theory goes like this: you either have ‘happy money’ or ‘sad money.’ Regardless of how much you have, the concept is based on your conscious perception of it. The bottom line to go from ‘sad money’ to ‘happy money’ into your life is to rewire your relationship with money.
Think of the money in your wallet. If you earned that money sincerely, the money is considered ‘happy money.’ If you expressed gratitude when you received it, that can also be considered ‘happy money.’ However, if you stole the money or took advantage of someone’s shortcomings, then it’s ‘sad money.’ Or if you received it ashamedly, that can also be held as ‘sad money.’
“In order to attract money to you and have a deeply happy relationship with money, you have to make it smile,” Ken explains.
One way to make it smile? Appreciation.
Now here’s a little secret you may not know: when you appreciate, things appreciate you back.
There’s an approach Ken uses called ‘maro up,’ which simply means when you’re generous with those around you, it will come back to you as abundance or opportunities. Derived from the Japanese word ‘margoroko,’ meaning sincerity, this concept encourages you to raise your consciousness of abundance and generosity in order to attract wealth in your life. The more you ‘maro up,’ the more ‘happy money’ you get.
Make Peace With Your Money
Money is energy, according to Ken. And in the realm of science, energy cannot be destroyed or created, but instead, it flows. He explains, “if money is energy, and is in constant flow, then it is currently flowing all around us right now in our homes, our communities, and our social circles.”
And because money is energy, any and all money wounds and negative money scripts will cause blockages in your energy flow and wreak havoc in your life. So, it’s time to let go of any beliefs that no longer serve you and make peace with your money.
“[People] have become so indoctrinated with the idea that having money is important, that they no longer question why. They are unaware that perhaps what they are truly seeking is an increase in self-respect, or security, or freedom, or love, or power,” Herb Goldberg and Robert T. Lewis wrote in their book, Money Madne$$: The Psychology of Saving, Spending, Loving, and Hating Money.
Now here’s a penny for your thoughts: can you imagine your life with ‘happy money’?