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Uncovering Your Hidden Feelings About Money: A Money Coaching Exercise

Aug 18, 2007
Having coached many people on improving their relationship with money, I have learned that money is both deeply symbolic and quite real. It is fascinating to consider that fact that money is, in its essence, entirely symbolic, yet it is utterly real. Our very survival depends upon having enough of it. Yet money is symbolic in a social sense. If you look at a dollar bill, it has no inherent value - it is just a piece of paper.

Nevertheless, money is as real as it gets when we need it in order to pay for something we want or need. People all over the world have agreed that this piece of paper can be traded for any good or service. Our collective agreement is that this substance we call money is basic to the way we live.

Money also has very individual meaning. Each family has its own ways of thinking about, dealing with and interpreting money. As we begin to unpack money's personal and social meaning, we become more empowered in our relationship to it. This empowerment means more choice and can lead to better decision making through awareness of the underlying emotional issues.

To help coach you in unpacking money's meaning in your life, I would like to suggest to you the following exercise. Start a money journal and begin it with the following exercise.

Write down every feeling that comes to you when you consider the word "money". Words that people have come up with in my seminars have included the following:

Opportunity
Fear
Envy
Excitement
Power
Distrust
Sin
Choice
Forbidden Fruit
Risk
8Self-Esteem
Competition

As you can see from the short list of words above, money packs a powerful emotional punch. As we begin to unpack its meaning, we find that we have a lot of feelings about money and ourselves in relation to money.

Some of those feelings may seem "negative" at first, but as you continue to work with them, you may find that the negative feelings begin to transform into more positive feelings when you really work with them. Anxiety transforms into excitement.

Once you have written down your feelings around money, you are ready for the second part of the coaching exercise. Take some time to journal about any memories that came up for you in doing this exercise. Working with your memories and feelings together is important because now you are developing insight into how you have developed your attitudes around money. Even a seemingly inconsequential memory may be important, as you are opening up your awareness about your money history and attitudes.

In understand feelings around money, we put ourselves in a much better position to make new choices. These choices might relate to how we spend, how we invest and how we negotiate for better pay. Also, more awareness about our feelings around money puts us in a much better position to communicate about money with our spouses and children.

Understanding our feelings and relationship to money set the stage for transforming the way we deal with money in our lives.
About the Author
Peter Cole ChFC, LCSW, Holistic financial planning. Author: True Self True Wealth. Peter Cole is a representative of Securities America, a registered Broker/Dealer member NASD/SIPC and Securities America Advisors an SEC registered investment advisor. FREE newsletter at http://www.trueselftruewealth.com
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