Anyone can have a bad romance, and even solid, healthy relationships have their rocky moments. But when someone has a long string of disastrous romances, it becomes obvious that the situation is attributable not to a particular choice but to a pattern of choices. The same is true in our relationship with money.
Anyone can have a situational financial problem due to extenuating circumstances—a job loss, a failed business, a medical condition. But when money issues crop up over and over, or when the same financial predicament only grows more and more destructive, an unhealthy pattern of behavior with money exists; our financial challenges are not merely situational but reflect an ongoing pattern in our relationship with money.
Many major aspects of our lives have an element of recurrence. We tend to have the same old arguments over and over with our loved ones. We always seem to sit in the same chair at the dinner table. Humans are creatures of habit. This is fine when the habit is benign, such as misplacing our reading glasses around the house. But when some patterns become entrenched—repeated so often that they seem unchangeable—and are actually harmful to our best interest, they can be a source of great unhappiness and even self-destruction.
Here are some common financial patterns that people find themselves in:
- Habitually stashing unopened mail
- Consistently not able to pay off credit cards
- Repeated conflict around money with loved ones
- Always worrying about your finances
- Feeling like there is never enough and never will be enough to make ends meet
Remember, these patterns are merely signposts. If you are engaging in unhealthy habits around money over and over again, take it as a sign that it’s time to look deeper. These habits are likely causing you to suffer. But you don’t have to keep suffering. However, the first step to healing your relationship to money is to name what is not working. I know it’s hard, but it is essential. And the good news is that the healthier your relationship with money, the less likely it is that money will distract you from the things you value most.
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