Money EQ: How to overcome fear of money

Hi everyone! I hope you had a positive week. Welcome back to another installment in the Pineapple Chicken Money Relationship series. In this post, I will be assessing how fears can hold us back from being wealthy. This is a topic that resonates with me as I grew up with the fear of not having enough money, or even if things are going well, the fear that it will be taken away or lost. It became quite crippling at times and clouded my judgement. I would stress about money and become very anxious about it too. I hope that this post will help you break down the fear and move towards a better relationship with money.

Walk down memory lane

Whilst I was writing this blogpost, I remembered an experience that gives a great example of my fear around money. This was back in 2007, so a long time ago! It was September and I was preparing to move out of my home for the first time. I have just turned 18 and will be staying in halls for university. I was not going far, I lived in the suburbs of London and was living in Central London – we are talking about a 20 minute Tube ride. I was very excited but anxious as I had not done this before.

I packed all my stuff and was looking forward to student life. A few days in, I realised that I had forgotten my debit card at home, which was the only way to access my bank account and get cash. I wish we had smartphones that could use our phone to pay! It would have been much easier. At the time, I had been living off the cash in my wallet and now I realised I did not have access to any more cash. I was also still waiting for my student loan to come through so I knew that I didn’t even have much in my account.

I vividly remember hyper-ventilating and breaking down. I was so stressed and fearful that I didn’t have enough money for food and going out. I could not think straight and was just getting really upset. Looking back I was clearly over-reacting! I just had to travel home and pick up my debit card and budget for a bit until the loan came through. It really was such a simple solution but my fear of not having enough money just blew everything out of proportion, meaning that I had to return home sobbing like a baby. My dad just laughed because it is not something I had to get upset about and he was right.

Do I still feel like this when it comes to money? Yes, as now that I have much more responsibilities but I feel like I am getting better at managing my fears around money.

What are your fears around money? If not, can you describe your relationship with money? Please let me know in the comments below.

Fear

Fear is something we all experience but, what is important is that we cannot ignore our fears. We need to face our fears head on and break it down to understand what is the key driver and cause of our fear. When it comes to money I think it is natural that there is a lot of fear. We live in a capitalist society and we have advertisements always telling us what is our “best life”. It is understandable when it comes to money that there are fears when things will fall apart – What happens if you can’t afford the mortgage/rent? How do you manage if you stopped working and had no income? How do you put food on the table, how do you take care of your family?

The drivers of fear will differ for everyone, but I have found that the fear of not having enough can be tackled.

Three toxic myths of scarcity.

We must believe that we have enough and we are enough. Of course, it is natural to want more and strive for more, but we need to ensure that this drive is for the right things instead of bigger and better things. The constant pursuit of more adds to the fear of not having enough money. We now live in a society where we spend a lot of time hearing, explaining, complaining, or worrying about what we do not have enough of? Whether it is money, time, sleep, exercise etc. There is a never a feeling of “enough”.

I had recently finished reading the “The Soul of Money” by Lynne Twist and she talks about scarcity and how it is “the great lie”.

In the mindset of scarcity, our relationship with money is an expression of fear; a fear that drives us in an endless and unfulfilling chase for more, or into compromises that promise a way out of the chase or discomfort around money

Lynne Twist – The soul of money

In her book, she explores the three toxic myths of scarcity which I think is one of the key takeaways from her book.

1. There is not enough

The first myth is that there is not enough. There is not enough to go round, everyone can’t make it. This in turn means that somebody has to be left out. There is not enough money to go around. This generates a fear and probably forces us to do things we might not be proud of. You don’t want to be the person that loses to others or be left out.

However, this thinking rationalises the idea that it is okay to take care of yourself, in the expense of others, as if it is unavoidable and somehow valid.

We need to stop with this thinking. There is more than enough to feed the world, there is more than enough money to go round (cough cough – billionaires). By opening up our mind and realising that there is enough, this removes the first hurdle. No you do not need to go into your overdraft to get this one product. We should question whether we need it in the first place but also believe that there is enough to go around, if not, just you wait – there is going to be something else that is going to come out, that we will want.

Assess what you have, recognise you probably have enough and that there is enough for everyone.

2. More is better

We have been taught that ore of anything is better than what we have. This drives us to buy a lot of stuff – accumulation, acquisition, and greed hat only heightens our fears and makes us get more than we need. When we are too focused on the next thing, you don’t have the breathing space to experience the gifts we have now. It is a distraction.

We still live in a society where people who have millions of dollars and believing that they need more. Do not get me wrong, we should enjoy life, but not at the expense of genuine fulfillment. We should not be spending more and especially if just adds to money fears and stresses.

More is better is a chase with no end and a race without winners

Lynne Twist – The soul of money

Luckily there is a growing movement towards minimalism and mindfulness, which combines the belief that we have enough and more is not better. It is actually better to strip away and reduce what we owe to only the things we need and “sparks joy”. Be mindful of what you buy and how to spend money. Recognise that we don’t need multiples of things!

Do I struggle with this – absolutely – but by being mindful of what I have and question myself whether I need more or just the thing itself, is that one breathe that helps not only with fears around money but also my bank balance. As I scroll through Instagram and see another handbag I might buy, I stop and think – “Is this something I truly love?”, “Do I need another bag?”, “If you really love it, you will think about it still in 3 months – only then you should buy it”. More often than not, I have forgotten about it and this just helps my fears around money and also my bank balance.

It is what it is

It is the way it is, the people who have more are always people who are not us. There is not enough to go around, more is better, and others will always do better than us. It is not fair but it is what it is. This is just another thing we have to stop believing. Things can be changed but resignation stops us from doing that. It makes us feel hopeless and helpless. It keeps us in line. It stops us from questioning how much we have to compromise in a job, career, personal relationship or business opportunity.

It is the way it is – institutional racism, sex discrimination, social and economic discrimination against other ethnic and religious minorities. We can’t let the people in power feel encouraged and entitled to take things from us.

This is the hardest thing to accept but most important to transform our relationship with money. You can be wealthy, we can’t let other people dictate otherwise. We need to be willing to question the status quo. We can choose how we act and we can choose what to make of our circumstances.

Flow of Money

Another way to tackle our fears around money which I had discussed previously, is that you have to trust the flow of money. There will always be times when it flows quickly, whilst other times it slows down. If we believe that it will eventually flow back, it does help with our fears of not having enough money. I know that this is easier said than done, but if we have a bit of faith, maybe this can help us with tackling some of our fears.

With Sweet & Sour Love,

Pineapple Chicken Blog x

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