When I was in high school, many moons ago, I was so excited when I got my first job! It was at McDonald’s in my town. I recall telling the manager during the interview that I am a vegetarian and I will do almost any job but flip burgers. Luckily, I was hired as a cashier and also in charge of making sundaes - remember those, pretty good huh? Well, if you came to the McDonald’s I worked at, I made sure you got extra toppings! When I received my first paycheck, I was elated and wanted to spend it on nothing else but to go home and give it to my papa. I wanted to share my earnings with my family. I truly valued my parents for their hard work in providing for not only my sister and I, but for all the extended family they supported. I wanted to give my first paycheck to my papa as a thank you for taking care of all of us. But, he looked at me sternly, unapologetically, and shouted at me “How dare you give me the money, it’s my job to provide not yours.” The message my mind received all those years was that men earn money and women don’t or you’ll be scolded. It left me confused and conflicted with what value money has in the world and who has power over it. That was then.
On the other hand, I recall when my younger daughter received her first paycheck, she came to me and let me know and I said to her how exciting, what do you think you’ll do with that? She said, oh I already know, I’m buying a couple clothes that I’m eyeing and can you help me open up a HS savings account. I remember saying good for you and yes! The message my mind received from this one interaction with my daughter was that women are capable, able, and independent in making choices - money and beyond. This is now.
Although I got into an art school in New York with a scholarship, according to my parents, it was not a solid career move as it was a great hobby, but a major in business would be more valuable, so I planned on majoring in business at college. But after taking a course on human behavior, I switched my major and graduated with a psychology degree, then onwards to graduate school and earned a master's degree. I am glad I did.
Did you know that economics and psychology are related in the way money is described; such as trust, worth, value, interest, share, investment, depression, asset, liability, inflation, deflation, appreciation, depreciation, and so on. These metaphors on money show us how we are spending our currency; why, when, where, and with whom is the money energy spent, both externally and internally. If we were to apply the external economic words to our internal psychological states of the mind, it may reveal what we have energy for; perhaps a praise or a raise at your job demonstrates your high value and asset, therefore there may be a feeling of inflated worth. Or, on the other hand, work that does not have shared interest, low value, or lack of trust then the emotions that may arise may be depression, low self-worth, and deflated sense of self.
Our relationship with money and how we handle it is directly related to our story that we often tell ourselves and others and it’s most often related to our childhood experiences. Like my encounter with my father, the purpose for me to offer the paycheck to him was to be of help, as well as for him to know my worth.
I attended a book reading this year in the town I live to support an author and acquaintance Kelley Holland - an author and expert financial journalist shares in her empowering new book, "You Are Worthy,"that external circumstances affect our internal story, which then affects our external actions. She explains how money is simply a tool and our mindset is where we need to start to make changes and decisions that best fund our future.
Kelley explains through her own childhood money story, her financial expertise, and her extensive research that as women:
We negotiate less often to be paid what we are worth.
We put our needs behind everyone else’s.
Many of us cede long-term financial decision making to others.
Can you relate to any of the above points? Thus, the essential energy of money is a matter of integrating the external with the internal towards steady growth and not just on the balance sheet or checkbook, but to allow your earnings to contribute towards well living - serving self and others - that which is worthy of your values and fulfills your true potential, without any doubts, or attachment to the unknown, and without distractions - we can list many throughout the day, but they are just that, so stay aware, and do your best anyways.
The thing to remember is that if it truly matters, not just in your head thinking, but moreover in your heart believing, then it’s worth investing your effort - time, energy, focus in constructing your currency.
"You have a right to perform your prescribed duties, but you are not entitled to the fruits of your actions. Never consider yourself to be the cause of the results of your activities, nor be attached to inaction." - Bhagavad Gita, Chapter 2. 47
In eastern philosophy, the practice is to genuinely focus on the value of inner transformation, which can be created through repetition and rituals rather than just external routines. Choose deliberately positive mental states that add value and appreciation, like fine art, and not to suppress but rather become aware of what surfaces. Any challenges that arise are often an indicator of where energy has been stored for quite some time and what needs your attention. Explore deeper.
Daily practices for balanced mindset:
Awaken right before sunrise, energy is the most potent.
Start the day with gratitude for the most challenging thing in your life at the moment because it is your teacher, ask for the lesson.
Create your art - Meditate to observe the thoughts. Write in your journal, a simple intention that connects you to your true self. Sit with this for 20 mins at least.
Talk through the emotions with a supportive professional and a good friend, a therapist, a life coach. Processing of emotions mindfully brings insight and awareness towards transformation.
Movement - walk, yoga, jog, cycle, or dance - anything that gets the emotions flowing and uplifts the spirit.
Meal - eat light and colorful, fresh and seasonal.
Begin without having an expectation, the key is to continue with steady, unwavering effort. These practices will lead you to the right actions. Check-in with yourself at the end of the day and notice what progress you made.
One can judge and begrudge, but that will keep one stuck. Instead, invite change that will aspire and transform.
I leave you with one of my favorite quotes by Guru Deva, Swami Brahmananda Saraswati:
You deserve the best. Never feel unworthy or not justified in having the best. I tell you, this is your heritage; but, you have to accept it. You have to expect it; you have to claim it. To do so is not demanding too much.