So often, people ask me why I focus on the emotional and spiritual aspects of a woman’s life when she is dealing with financial concerns. My response is that looking for a financial advisor or seeking debt elimination tips doesn’t really solve a woman’s underlying issues about money. Building financial awareness for women begins on a much deeper level.
How a woman deals with her finances is a direct reflection of both her past and inner worlds. Old survival patterns cemented by the time she is five years old set the stage for how she perceives the world now, as well as how she moves through it. A woman’s financial difficulties usually stem, at least in part, from her insecurities and self-doubt. These issues are an emotional interpretation of her past experiences, based on fear and shame.
When women have shame about their past, including their past relationship with money, how can they possibly sit with an advisor and really listen to tools for becoming financially secure and debt-free? So much of our confidence is wrapped up in our successes and failures, and if we haven’t come to terms with our mistakes or old pains, how can we move forward and succeed? Long term financial management for women is a slow process that starts with self-awareness and moves slowly each day towards self-healing.
Healing requires looking at one’s history and truth about past experiences, regardless of whether anyone else in their life views the history the same way. In a family where an older sibling was cruel to a younger one, for example, it is very possible that the older sibling will deny he was being cruel. But the younger sibling feels strongly that she was treated poorly, and the damage is done.
So that’s what she has imprinted in her memory; a feeling of pain, hurt and wrongdoing. This in turn may shape her current view of herself as a helpless or incompetent victim. This view can then play out in many ways as she becomes an adult, including the way she may perceive men (starting with her older brother, for example) and the way in which she relates to her money and to financial advisers.
One’s own truth is the portal to healing and the key to confidence and competence in all aspects of life. When we identify and address old wounds, examining the years of fear and suppressed anger, the very act of talking and sharing starts the process of healing. It’s like going into an attic, opening old trunks, letting the sun in, and cleaning out the cobwebs. It is very freeing, and can positively affect all aspects of our life, not limited to our emotional selves.
Women need to acknowledge and make stronger connections between their current financial challenges, old fears and insecurities, and displaced anger. This is something a financial planner typically will not ever discuss; money is the topic to be focused on, and nothing else seems relevant to them. People who are struggling in their adult lives, be it financially or in other areas, are usually reenacting old scenarios they have experienced with their parents, siblings or other family members.
When a woman learns how to break away from old patterns and unresolved conflicts, and takes back her life, she can stop making apologies for being herself. She can embrace her own life as it is now, and make better choices about her future — including her financial future.
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