We all know the sorts of messages that money has to tell us – or do we? For many people, most of the messages they get from money, or by looking at their money, are negative. There isn’t enough. I should have done better. I made a mistake. Messages fraught with judgment and often a feeling of shame. What is true about those messages is that they aren’t really from money: they are from our inner critic.
There are other messages we can get from looking at our money. Ones not based on ‘should’ but more on desires, hopes, dreams and values.
So, for the moment, let’s set aside all the negative noise, and look at what else is going on. For many of us there are things that we spend money on with less worry or care. They are just irresistible. We don’t really need them to survive, and yet somehow they get a bunch of our time, energy and money. They are both big and small the things dreams are made of. For me those things are:
Almost anything having to do with art, including books and supplies;
Home ‘décor’, including furniture, painting, making slip covers, drapery, etc;
Food, usually on the exotic side, but sometimes not, such as Tater Tot’s.
I have one client who is just nuts about boats, another horses. We’ve all known a few car nuts in our time. These are all passions, great passions. I don’t spend as much on clothes, shoes or purses. My garden gets some, but not as much as inside. It’s all telling.
We spend money on what we are passionate about.
So what about you? What’s that thing that always gets your attention? The thing that you can somehow always find money for? If you don’t know, money will tell you! Look at your spending for last year. It’s close to tax time so I know you are fussing with gathering money information anyway. So while you are putting stuff together for the taxes, take a gander at those credit card (or debit card) statements and see what money is telling you. Are there bunches of tickets to concerts? Maybe there is a lot of weekend getaways? Maybe it’s movies? Maybe it’s fabric or yarn? Whatever it is, if you look at money it will tell you.
Now, once you have done that, there is another step.
Yep, it’s not really about what you spend the money on. It’s about what that symbolizes for you. It’s about the deeper meaning.
I’ve had many clients where we have played with this. One was a woman who was remodeling her kitchen. She wanted the ‘perfect’ kitchen and she wasn’t going to settle. It wasn’t just about efficient cooking, the work-triangle, and storage. It was about the deeper meaning that a kitchen had for her. Family, nourishment, warmth, peace and beauty. Those were all very passionate kitchen-related concerns for her. Core values if you will.
Another client had a motorcycle dream, and yet with another it was about having her own kayak. Although for each of them there were components in there about freedom and independence, each had other aspects that were distinct to them.
It’s one of the reasons to dig a bit deeper here. No one else gets exactly the same juice out of what impassions you as you do. We all have our own take on it.
The really important piece here isn’t that you take this exploration as a reason to buy more of what you are passionate about, although that is more than tempting. The important thing is that by getting clear about the metaphor, you can find more and different ways to honor it.
Let’s say for a moment that you have always thought that having the perfect house would make life wonderful. You thought it was about the house, the floor plan, the number of bathrooms, and maybe the yard. You didn’t look deeper than that. You work and work and strive and finally get the house, and yet it’s somehow not ‘it’, so you decide it must be about getting a different house, a better house. Sorry to tell you, but it was never really about the house. It was about honoring what the house meant, the deeper meaning. Get clear on that and you can have it with or without the house.
Get clear on what money is telling you about your heart’s desires, your true passions, so you can accurately pursue them and live them in many ways, with or without spending money on them.