I have, as they say in Liverpool, been on the bones of my arse… more than once.
In the past, I have been so skint that I owned just one pair of second-hand shoes (which were falling to pieces), and could only afford to feed my young children on fish fingers and baked beans from the cheapest supermarket. I had debtors calling on the phone at all hours, and drove cars that others would have scrapped in an instant (one in particular, which cost me £50, had the driver’s seat wedged in place with a tree stump). And yes, this was in what is considered to be a wealthy country, so you can see how much I had messed up in order to reach that point!
I grew up with a really negative emotional association with money, going from bad to worse as the years went by… being bailed out again and again by incredibly generous souls to whom I will remain eternally grateful. Increasingly, I came to understand that I had to change not just my financial situation, but my damaged and dysfunctional beliefs about my financial situation if I was ever going to get out of the crippling cycle – and stay out.
“Money is usually attracted, not pursued.” —Jim Rohn
And right now, at this point in my life, I can say that I have been completely broke, and I have been better off – and I know, without a single shadow of a doubt, which one I prefer!
And I believe this to be true: if you are a fearful soul with a restrictive mindset without money, you will probably be the same with money; if you are consistently unhappy without money, you will probably continue to be unhappy with it, once the initial euphoria has worn off. So, from that point of view, I suppose it is true that money can’t buy happiness, but it can certainly increase it!
Wealth appears to be the most emotive subject on the planet, and possibly the most misunderstood; and definitely the one that is most likely to elicit a defensive response from millions of people (and I know, because I used to be one of them!).
“You must gain control over your money or the lack of it will forever control you.” —Dave Ramsey
So, what changed? Well, I did. I gradually reprogrammed myself to think differently, though it was no mean feat – the roots of old, destructive beliefs run incredibly deep. I am not loaded, by any stretch of the imagination, but I am a million times better off than I used to be, and I am completely grateful for that. You see, I couldn’t attract more money until I believed that I was worthy of it and that I wasn’t a bad person for wanting enough to cover my living expenses (the odd luxury would come later). And I now find myself irritated by those smug, self-satisfied people who dismiss anyone who aspires to be financially well-off as greedy, and in possession of questionable priorities – they remind me too much of myself, in my poorer days!
I am still aspiring to bigger things and to greater financial freedom, and I have invested a little bit of money in my future plans, something I wouldn’t have dreamed of in the past. I no longer give my skills, time and energy away for peanuts, and I do my best to avoid customers who continue to want something from me after they have had their money’s worth!
“Money is a terrible master but an excellent servant.” —P.T. Barnum
I am, however, also weary of hearing the same old ‘get-rich-quick’ message every time I watch a Youtube video (you know, the ads that automatically pop up, the desperate sales pitches in which we are being loudly and rapidly yelled at to learn how to sit on the beach all day whilst making millions online, before we press the ‘skip’ button!). I am still not where I want to be, and I am weary of wasting time and hope on the vast amount of online bull-poop that is misleading, not to mention downright untruthful. However, it is the same for everyone else out there, trying to make their own unique mark on the world… and I am further down the road than I was even a year ago – and I bet you are, too! We’re definitely getting there (but let’s see if we can do it a bit quicker!).