Have you ever taken a moment to explore the ways your childhood shaped your relationship with money?
If you grew up around role models who had a healthy relationship with money, you were very lucky.
But if money has been an area of struggle for you, it pays to look back at your early family experiences.
Let’s look at a few ways old family dynamics can play out in your work and earning choices.
Some people grow up in affluent families, bonded mainly by the presence of family money. The knowledge that someone will always rescue them, either by gift or inheritance, extinguishes the fire in their belly for making their own way in the world.
Other people grow up with modest means and as adults feel deep guilt for wanting a financial life bigger than the one from childhood. They may minimize their desire for a bigger life and judge these dreams as shallow or selfish.
Family messages can also come to bear. Just think, did you hear any of the following from your family member(s):
You can do whatever you want in life.
Don’t get too big for your britches.
You can never make a living that way.
Security is more important than money.
Some of the messages we absorb from our families are never spoken out loud but might as well be posted on the refrigerator as family announcements.
For example, if you were shushed when you innocently asked how much money your parents made in their jobs, you might have created an internal memo that there’s something wrong with money or that it’s not a subject you should explore.
If your parents or guardians frequently pressured you to consider a certain profession, rather than supporting you in exploring your own desires, you might have internalized a money message that only certain career choices will be met with family approval.
Whether spoken or unspoken, we carry these messages forward in adulthood as we work to build our own work and financial lives.
Take a paper and pen and journal a bit today on this topic. Below, a few questions to help you get the “juices” flowing:
- What family messages about work and earning did you receive? Were they spoken, or unspoken?
- What examples of relationships with work and earning were modeled for you?
- Did you feel free to explore professions different from those of your family members?
- Was there family money that you were told would take care of you? How did this affect your thoughts about work?
- What family stories about work and earning, successes, failures, accomplishments, etc. did you hear about your family or people they knew?
It can be both enlightening and challenging to look at old stories and beliefs that have kept you from earning the kind of money you truly want. Have faith and keep going. On the other side of this exploration, the rewards are tremendous.
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