Like in many families below middle class, the topic of money was a taboo subject in my household growing up. I grew up in the church and Sunday after Sunday we would be told “money is the root of all evil” and “greed is one of the seven deadly sins”. My background in church and growing up poor resulted in apprehension when it came to money.
I have learned that in order to attain financial stability, we must first come to terms with how we feel about money. The start of my journey to financial wellness was a struggle. Each time I thought of debt management, credit scores, budgeting or investing I felt anxious. I remember thinking that the pursuit of wealth was immoral and those in society who have attained massive wealth acquired it by unethical means. After confronting these feelings and understanding why I felt them, I started progressing towards financial wellness. For those of you experiencing a similar struggle, here are 3 steps I used to overcome my negative feelings toward money:
- Acknowledgement – Recognize and admit that you have negative feelings toward money. Fortunately, you are not the only person who struggles in this way and, therefore, you should not be embarrassed. Similar to the first step in an AA program, progress can only be made once you admit that you have a problem. By openly acknowledging this struggle you will be more receptive to the changes needed to achieve financial wellness.
- Acceptance – Once you have acknowledged that these negative feelings exist, you have to accept your situation; the past and the present. Accept that you were born into a poor family, were irresponsible, or are knee deep in debt. Accept that your actions brought you to your present and that there is nothing you can do to change your past. Neither can you change where you are at this moment. Therefore, hold yourself accountable, but remember to be gentle and forgiving with yourself. The sooner you accept your situation, the sooner you can take action to change.
- Action – Now for the last step. Take action to change! If you really want to attain financial wellness then you need to develop and execute an action plan, regardless of hardships. Be sure, however, to first complete steps 1 and 2 otherwise completing this step can become very difficult.
There is a wealth of resources on all aspects of personal finance, but there is so little around the emotional aspect of beginning your financial wellness journey. However financial wellness appears to you, be mindful of your emotions and how they can impact your journey.
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