Sunday, January 15, 2012

The Monday Confessional: I'm Afraid of Money

We can navigate by Resistance, letting it guide us to that calling or action that we must follow before all others.- Steven Pressfield, The War of Art

If you had told me this yesterday, I would not have believed it. Not having money was my problem. Not having money has led to my great fears of poverty and helplessness. But if I respond to the question of "What's your greatest fear?" without thinking, the answer is "money". And I think I know why now.

What I am really afraid of at the deepest part of my being, is disappointment. And I have felt like money, like people sometimes do, has let me down. And if you never expect much from people or let them in your life too much, they can't disappoint you. I have this pattern of bailing on things or shooting myself in the foot so I can't be successful, because if I get successful, then the inevitable low will come and I will be disappointed, and I see it the most with money.

When I was a kid, there were good times when we went out to eat with every paycheck and then there were bad times when the only thing to eat in the house was Bisquick and white sugar and I would have given any possession I had for a bite of a brown banana. Obviously, this money character was very suspect and could not be trusted. So, I decided to steer clear of him. Sure, I would miss out on some good times, but, I reasoned, I would miss out on the bad as well and be none the worse off. But it hasn't worked out that way. Being terrified of money has brought me nothing but anxiety, worry, misery, depression, and sheer panic.

Financial writer Suze Orman has talked about making money your friend and thinking of it like a person and I'm starting to see why that works. Humans tend to think of things in personified terms. Some women are terrified of men, or sex, or relationships because they're afraid of being hurt. In my desperation to feel loved, I've never had a problem with finding someone to become enamored with, but for most of my life I have been running like hell from money. But I think I can finally start to deal with my fear because I've named it. I'm hoping that money and I can start to become good friends.

1 comment:

  1. About a year and a half ago I gave a talk on how money is like a power tool. It can be really disctructive if you don't respect it. But it can be really constructive if you use it properly.