“The rich get richer and the poor get poorer”
“Wealthy people are greedy”
“The love of money is the root of all evil”
These are only a few examples of self-limiting beliefs that people have in business or in life that can prevent them from achieving their goals. There’s plenty more out there, and you’ve probably got a couple of them… we all do. These thoughts and mindsets aren’t new. We all have certain beliefs about money, and our personal education, experiences, and family values play an important role in our outlook.
To simplify it, self-limiting beliefs are assumptions or perceptions that we have of ourselves and of how the world operates. These assumptions are called “self-limiting” because they hold us back, or paint a false reality of a situation.
From a very young age, we start to form beliefs about the world and our place in it. Our brains are exceptionally good at spotting patterns and forming associations – we constantly process the stream of information about the world around us and use it to form beliefs. Our financial history significantly shapes our personal relationship with money.
Beliefs eventually manifest as actions, or in some cases, a lack of action.
Childhood conditioning is the most pervasive barrier that I have encountered when it comes to finances. People may know everything there is about creating wealth, and may even be extremely high-earning individuals, but their unconscious aversions toward money ultimately leads to them losing whatever money they generate.
Those who watched their parents struggle with money, and endured significant lack and financial stress may understandably have a fearful attitude when it comes to money. People who believe that wealth is hard to come by will probably be hesitant investors. Those that believe they’re not that good at their job will not push for more during salary negotiations because of a false belief that they are undeserving. Those who believe that investing is too risky will always find excuses not to start that business that they are dreaming of. As we get older, we form more complex beliefs and are able to draw on a much wider range of sources such as influence from our peers, mentors, or the media.
Breaking the cycle eventually boils down to modifying our self-limiting beliefs about money and finances.
How does my financial situation affect my overall well-being?
I believe that as individuals, we are complex, and there is a constant interplay between our emotional state, our physical body, our environment, our spiritual condition, and our relationships. Nothing about us is as compartmentalized as we would like to believe.
Your financial situation is intrinsically linked to your emotional state, and it often determines whether or not you are experiencing negative emotions.
For example, if you don’t have enough money, you are concerned about your biological needs, like food and healthcare. If you can’t afford a home or are worried about paying your rent, you are unable to address your safety needs. Your desire to fit in and belong will not be met when your peers are advancing in their careers, businesses, etc. and you are not. All of these external pressures draw your attention and energy, and are constant sources of negative emotions.
Letting go of negative thought patterns about finances
I noticed this pattern in many of my clients, and I compare it to a thermostat. Basically, we like having our thermostat set at a certain temperature, and we are very hesitant to move things around in either direction – higher or lower.
To illustrate this point: Let’s say you have a certain financial goal or target that you are used to meeting every month, you’re comfortable with this level of operating, it’s familiar. Exceeding it in abundance represents an unknown, and we all tend to fear the unknown (even if it’s better for us). So, as you begin to smash your goals and achieve more, psychic alarms start going off. To relieve this internal conflict and return to your comfort zone, you may go on a bender and spend excessively.
Deep down inside, we are afraid of success for the same reason that we are afraid of failure. On our thermostat, movement in either direction – up or down – means moving from the known into the unknown.
This may come as a surprise, but unrecognized guilt and shame associated with having money prevents so many people from exploring new opportunities and taking risks. As a result of these emotions, they fail to develop critical skills or learn how to manage their finances.
In cases where they suddenly find themselves making money, and if people in their environment are struggling, a subconscious, inherent need to belong can take over, causing them to hijack their financial achievements.
Transitioning to self-empowering beliefs and thought patterns about finances can trigger and inspire true change. This is the only way to grow wealth and be content and satisfied with it. Remember that having wealth does not prevent you from having a negative money mindset. Once you have positive emotions around money and managing it, you will be on a healthy, sustainable path. Like I mentioned earlier, a negative money mindset is very common, and starts from childhood. This means that sometimes you will need to go all the way back to the beginning and unravel this thread in order to examine the source of the negativity.
It isn’t enough to just understand the difference between a positive and negative money mindset. Forcing yourself to view a situation differently won’t help either. To truly experience wellness and health in your finances, you will need to understand where your mindset comes from and how it connects to your self-beliefs so you can free your mind of the negativity and make room for the positive.