Money- I don’t like to talk about it, but I do like to spend it. That is an interesting parallel, isn’t it? For as long as I remember, money wasn’t really discussed in my family. Either we had it or we didn’t. I grew up in a middle-class household with divorced parents. I spent most of the time with my mom and the weekends with my dad. My mom struggled a lot when I was growing up, living paycheck to paycheck sometimes not knowing how we were going to pay rent. That being said, I do know that there wasn’t much saving that was going on either, and I think that my mom would admit she wasn’t the best with money. I think that goes back to when she was a child and she and her siblings grew up rather poor with my grandmother, who was also a single mom. There might be a pattern here?
I think that my story isn’t that different from millions of others. But how do we break the cycle and start getting honest about money - how we spend it and how to secure it? I think the first step is to talk about it – although I will be the first to admit this is really hard for me because there is fear that comes up around it, like I am doing something wrong or irresponsible. But if I think about yoga and the practice of staying present I can set a better intention of having clear discussions around money. While this may be helpful, I know that I am not as mindful at times when I walk into Target to buy laundry detergent and come out with way more than I needed to. I am sure all of you can relate.
My husband and I just had a long discussion about money and our spending and while I immediately wanted to run and hide, I stayed even though it made me feel uncomfortable. We know that having intentional dialogue with each other helps keep us in check and we feel better about our marriage and the topic of money when we do.
I also think there is a lot of stigma around money and social class. We think that if we have a lot of it, we are perceived to be happier when I know this is not the case. It is not how much money we have but how we spend it that determines our self worth. It is being mindful about where our money is being spent and knowing it feels good to go without at times because then you value your relationships a lot more and see it’s not “all about money.” You can shift your focus to the people and surroundings that matter to you and shift your attention in a way that creates more meaningful experiences.
We have the power to change our outlook about money. We can choose to be happy based on how much our net worth is, or we can have open discussions around our fears, talk to our partners and friends who can help us save for that new pair of shoes, or putting a down payment on a house. It is practicing the important of staying present and using our will power to keep us in check. Money is not what it is all cracked up to be because – let’s face it – when we leave this earth, we can’t take it with us.
Tiffany (RYT 200®) is a student and teacher of yoga living in Baltimore, Maryland.
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