Do you find yourself brooding about money? Perhaps you spend hours analyzing how much you have, trying to find the magic key to the numbers? Or maybe you check your accounts multiple times a day? If you do, I’m guessing there might be a surprisingly different impetus hidden in all that fretting that isn’t tied to money.
Please don’t misunderstand me. I really want you to have a great interactive relationship with money. After all, money has so much to tell you. Money lets you know when you are achieving your goals, or when you need to reevaluate and focus more. It tells you if your mood is up or down. Lots of good internal data is available by looking at money.
Like many things, there is a place where it stops being informative or engaging and becomes obsessive and compulsive — kind of like tequila, chocolate or ice cream.
Frequently my clients share with me that they are so tied up in brooding over money that they can’t sleep. They spend hours in the dark fretting and worrying. Their minds are sent zooming over all sorts of bad scenarios. Thoughts tossing and turning around extreme situations like going broke. Losing everything. Starving. YIPES! Very scary stuff.
This worrying is NOT effective. It’s just spinning and brooding. It’s not planning. It’s not motivational. It is a pain in the ass!
What’s behind it? I think it’s your Inner Critic. Now, I know you may hear that from me a lot. That ‘should, must, have to’ voice is your Critic. Your Inner Critic is very vigilant at keeping you right where you are!
There are plenty of blogs here on my website that talk about this ‘piss ant’, omnipresent, irritating voice in our heads, so I will just give you a bit of the top notes here.
Your Inner Critic is there to keep you safe. The problem is that its perspective of safe is very narrow. Your Inner Critic thinks that as long as you are not in imminent danger of losing your life in the next 30 seconds you are fine, and should stay right where you are. It believes that doing something new will lead to death and disaster. So it’s ultimate job is to keep you right where you are! It does not care that ‘where you are‘ may be struggling, or unhappy, or even broke. You are alive, so don’t rock the boat.
So what does all this Inner Critic stuff have to do with brooding about money? The Inner Critic’s most effective tactic for keeping you where you are is to distract you! When you are fretting, obsessing and panicked you aren’t really present. You miss things. You don’t hear anything else. You don’t notice what is going on. You stay stuck.
Money is the perfect topic for the Critic. Money is still very much a taboo topic, so we are likely to not talk to anyone else about our money worries and concerns. Most people don’t feel at ease or comfortable around money, so it’s easy to stir up angst about it. Oh, and money is tied to our feeling of self-worth and value. A perfect place for the Critic to stir up distraction!
The next time you find yourself brooding and nattering about money, press the pause button. Spend a moment or two seeing just how distracted you are. Are you actually coming up with solutions? Or are you spinning weird scenarios?
And if you determine that it’s your Inner Critic creating chaos in your brain…TELL IT TO SHUT UP! Stop giving it ‘air time.’ Change the channel in your head. Do not engage with it!
You’ll sleep better, and be much more present in your life without the constant distractions.
PS: Critics do not go away — instead you can choose not to pay any attention to them!
Shell Tain, the Untangler
Really shutting up your critic can be a challenge. I’m happy to help. Give me a call at 503-258-1630 or leave a comment.