I read an Instagram post recently on the concept of money trauma - the idea that our experiences with money can be just as traumatic as the other pains, challenges and awful memories we carry with us through life.
Trauma generally is something I’ve been thinking a lot about recently, but I’ll be honest - while the idea of money trauma made absolute sense to me, I’d never really thought about putting the ideas of money and trauma together until I read this post by Dr Nicole LePera (if you're not following her I honestly can't recommend her account enough!)
That said, as soon as I saw that post not only did my brain tick into gear more generally, it also hit one hell of a chord with me both personally and professionally too.
Because yup, my relationship with money is definitely something I’ve been working on over the past few months - well actually for years, but one I’ve been working fiercely on throughout the course of this year.
However this post isn’t just about me... Actually, if I look at my clients - not just now but ever since I first started working one-to-one with clients of all different kinds - I have a sneaking suspicion it's about many of us.
My clients' stories
No matter what else has been going on, throughout all of the sessions I've done over the years, client after client has talked to me about money. Over and over again people from all walks of life and with all sorts of other initial issues and worries have brought money into our sessions and told me just how stuck it made them feel.
And in my early days when that happened, I’d panic.
Because a lot of the issues they were talking about were things I could 100% empathise with not just as a therapist, but as someone in exactly the same position. After all I felt trapped by my financial circumstances too, and had absolutely no idea how to change that or even start to feel any wiggle room where money was concerned.
And when I’d hear people talk about their lives and how utterly powerless they felt when it came to money, the stories I told myself about money meant that for a long time even I struggled to help them see a way forwards out of the tight financial spot they'd found themselves in.
From bad childhood experiences, to painful dead-end jobs we feel stuck in simply to pay the bills, to rising costs of living and an acknowledgement that “money doesn’t grow on trees” (I mean technically some of it does, but I digress...), so many people have negative, painful and yes traumatic experiences with money.
Added to that the way our society seems more and more determined to make money the most important driver in all of our lives; the thing we value more than time, energy, even our own health, is it any wonder that so many of us exist in this mindset of lack, certain that the idea of having true financial freedom is only ever a pipe dream?
Even when we have money, the culture of that society I speak of reminds us we should feel guilty about that and almost ashamed of our own prosperity unless it's something we've worked our butts off to earn.
In fact there are so many mixed messages out there about money that is it any wonder around 85% of all of my clients so far have brought their struggles with it into the therapy room?
The real secret about working with money
I work a lot with energy. I’m a proud witch and someone who’s been studying all things soulful for well over a decade now. So of course I’ve watched The Secret and of course I believe in the law of attraction - including where money is concerned.
Hell, it’s something I’ve used myself over the years and something I’ve seen clients use with huge amounts of success. But I also don’t think that the law of attraction is quite as simple as things like The Secret would have you believe.
Because those money traumas, challenging financial relationships and mix messages where cash is concerned mean it’s not always so simple to change our mindset around money in a flash.
And when you’ve been utterly broke, or risked not being able to put food on the table for your family, then it’s definitely not so easy to spend spend, spend, safe in the certainty that what you give out will flow freely back to you.
So what’s the answer?
Well for me it comes back to recognising that our relationship with money is just like any other interaction or energetic exchange in our lives. And so making that better? Well it might just take deep, personal work.
That means looking at where things went wrong in the past, stepping back to recognise the patterns that need to be broken, and choosing to change the stories we carry with us in order to make peace with our past.
The more we can do that, the more we start to free up room in our relationship with money - not just for more to potentially flow in, but also so that we have room to dance with it again, and to wander around and view it from different angles rather than feeling like we’re being pinned to the wall by something that has 0 interest in allowing us to escape our clutches.
I won’t tell you that’s a piece of cake - after all, when is diving into your past to work with the pain and scariness you find there ever easy?! But I will tell you that it’s no more difficult than any of the other deep personal development work you do. And it can have a huge impact on the future of your relationship with cash.
If you'd like to work on your relationship with money; or indeed on any of the traumas or relationship issues that are holding you back or keeping you stuck, then Soul-Led Counselling might just be the next step for you.
Find out more about that here, and get in touch if you'd like to book your free introductory session.