3 Steps to Heal Your Money Wounds & Gain Financial Freedom

8 minutes read -
AI-generated image of a wallet with money on a table
Table of Contents
Summary: Money wounds holding you back? Learn to create a life of financial abundance with Japan’s Zen Millionaire, Ken Honda’s “Happy Money” method.
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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.

You could just be missing the tools or knowledge to improve your situation. 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.

Knowing how to attract 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 don’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 your mindset way into adulthood, creating the money wounds you suffer from today.

How are money wounds created?

Money wounds stem from traumatic experiences that make you associate them 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.

Many make the assumption that to stop suffering from blocks, they need to change their financial habits. But there’s more to it than that—it’s really about your money mindset.

Regardless of the amount of money that you receive, it can give you different feelings,” Ken explains.

AI-generated image of a man looking into the window of a store

Types of Money Wounds

When it comes to our finances, many of us are stuck in cycles we don’t even recognize. Now, these aren’t just whims like splurging on a fancy coffee; these money blocks run deeper. 

But once you’re able to identify the types, you can start healing money wounds and head towards financial freedom.

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. You’ve latched onto these perspectives, guided either by people, society, or choices you’ve made 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 them, including those previously mentioned, that can negatively impact your emotions and, therefore, your life.

The emotions

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. 

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. — @KenHondaHappy Share on X

Some of the more common negative emotions associated with financial abundance, according to him, are:

  • Fear. You worry so much that it becomes stressful, and you avoid your finances.
  • Shame. Despite a successful career, you feel you don’t earn enough and mask that insecurity by making unnecessary purchases.
  • Unworthiness. A love-deprived childhood makes you feel unworthy, hindering your pursuit of career dreams.
  • Embarrassment. Society pressures us to fit an ideal, but admitting financial missteps, like bad investments or overspending, feels daunting for fear of judgment.
  • Guilt. You feel guilty when you make or receive money.
  • Shyness. You struggle with valuing your worth, often reducing charges when someone can’t meet your original rate.
Common negative emotions associated with money wounds

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’s “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.

The family

Growing up, you might have noticed certain patterns. Did your parents always discuss money in hushed tones, or perhaps argue about it? 

These memories, whether you consciously remember them or not, can leave an indelible mark. Here’s how:

  • Childhood environment. The energy and feelings around money in your formative years can deeply influence how you use it and your beliefs in it as an adult.
  • Reaction of siblings to the same financial environment. One might react to it by seeking control. Another might distance themselves from financial matters. Yet another might shy away from any financial responsibility.
  • Single-parent households. Growing up without a parent can lead to feelings of lack, and the childhood narratives you craft about missing resources can deeply shape your adult financial behaviors.
  • Impact of past generations. Your financial behaviors often mirror the struggles and patterns of past generations.

At the heart of it all is the choice you have as an adult. You can either blame past generations for your money wounds or approach them with understanding. 

Recognizing that your parents and grandparents did their best, even if it wasn’t perfect, is a step towards healing. The ball is in your court to either perpetuate these blocks or learn how money works to rewrite your financial story.

How to Identify Money Wounds

Pinpointing what’s blocking you financially is the first step in manifesting money in a healthy way. Let’s break down how you can spot these wounds, based on your potential money type:

  • Saver. If you’re constantly in saving mode, accumulating every penny.
  • Spender. You love the thrill of shopping and spending freely. However, this behavior is a mask, perhaps hiding a need for validation or to fill an emotional void.
  • Gambler. You find yourself swinging between extremes, taking financial risks one moment and then being overly cautious the next. You might be trying to escape feelings of stagnation or seek excitement.
  • Worrier. You’re the one who can’t stop stressing about money. You’re persistently anxious about finances, even when things seem fine.

By recognizing and understanding these money types, you get a clearer picture of the issues that might be influencing your financial behaviors.

Ken Honda, Japan's Zen Millionaire and trainer of Mindvalley's Money EQ Quest
Ken Honda, trainer of Mindvalley’s Money EQ Quest

How to Heal Money Wounds, According to Ken Honda

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 toward money and abundance.

Here are steps you can take to change your money wounds into money wins:

1. Understand your current relationship with money

First thing 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’s 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 the card in your wallet. Feel the emotion (or multiple emotions) that rises 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.

This relationship with money has been there for many years and it has its history, so whatever you might feel, forgive yourself. — @KenHondaHappy Share on X

Being aware of your emotions when it comes to money can be the start of opening yourself up to abundance.

2. 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 $ 1,000 check 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

3. 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” in your life is to rewire your relationship with money.

Think of the money in your wallet. If you earn that money sincerely, it 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 into your life. The more you “maro up,” the more “happy money” you get.

Make Peace With Your Money

Here’s a penny for your thoughts: can you envision your life enriched by “happy money”? Better yet, are you ready to turn this vision into reality?

As Ken says, “If you heal the pain you have about money, your financial situation will absolutely change, and dramatically so.” And you can start that process at Mindvalley.

Welcome in.


Images generated on Midjourney except for the one of the Mindvalley trainer.

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The Japanese Art of Healing Your Money Wounds

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Tatiana Azman

Tatiana Azman

Tatiana Azman is the SEO content editor for Mindvalley and a certified life coach. With a background in spa and wellness as well as having gone through a cancer experience, she's constantly on the lookout for natural, effective ways that help with one's overall well-being.
Written by

Tatiana Azman

Tatiana Azman is the SEO content editor for Mindvalley and a certified life coach. With a background in spa and wellness as well as having gone through a cancer experience, she's constantly on the lookout for natural, effective ways that help with one's overall well-being.
Ken Honda - Trainer
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Ken Honda is the trainer of Mindvalley’s Money EQ Quest. He is Japan’s most recognizable and influential money teacher. Fondly known as the ‘Zen Millionaire’ in his home country, Ken has penned 58 books (including his first major publication in English “Happy Money”), been translated in 15 languages, and sold over 8 million copies and counting.

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Mindvalley is committed to providing reliable and trustworthy content. We rely heavily on evidence-based sources, including peer-reviewed studies and insights from recognized experts in various personal growth fields. Our goal is to keep the information we share both current and factual. To learn more about our dedication to reliable reporting, you can read our detailed editorial standards.
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Mindvalley is committed to providing reliable and trustworthy content. 

We rely heavily on evidence-based sources, including peer-reviewed studies and insights from recognized experts in various personal growth fields. Our goal is to keep the information we share both current and factual. 

The Mindvalley fact-checking guidelines are based on:

To learn more about our dedication to reliable reporting, you can read our detailed editorial standards.