The first time I felt shame about money was when I was 4 years old, and it happened somewhere totally unexpected.
I used to have a friend at school who got free snacks because her Mum volunteered at the school canteen and we’d often go together and get something tasty. One day, I went without my friend and asked for a strawberry frozen yoghurt (my favourite) and her Mum told me I’d have to start paying for my food.
I hadn’t known, of course, that she’d been paying for those ‘free’ snacks behind the scenes all along. What I did know was that I stood there, 4 years old, suddenly aware that I needed money and deeply humiliated by not having any.
I started looking around at the other kids and comparing myself. The rich kids had money for the canteen and Reebok shoes. Their parents were doctors or lawyers. I wasn’t like them. The shame I felt stopped me from telling my parents about what had happened and though I didn’t realise it at the time, the intensity ended up shaping my relationship with money for years to come.
Money blocks are the self-limiting beliefs we have about ourselves and money. They’re hard to spot because they feel like ‘fact’ rather than interpretation and we’ve usually had these beliefs our whole lives. Most of the time, people experience an ongoing issue and keep trying to solve it, not realising that it’s actually caused by an underlying money block from something that happened years ago.
Money blocks can be formed in 2 ways:
I was speaking to someone on the weekend about their money blocks, and they told me they knew they had them because their parents always said that ‘money doesn’t grow on trees’.
While it’s true that many of the self-limiting beliefs we call Money Blocks come from our upbringing, there are so many other moments during our childhoods which can leave a deep, painful impression- even if we’ve misinterpreted the situation!
At the end of the day, our interpretation ends up being more painful and intense than whatever happened or was said because of the deep emotions attached.
What’s the earliest money memory you can think of? What emotions can you remember from that moment?
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