What if I told you that the problem with money is you, and what you think you know about money, not money itself?

What if I told you that the problem with money is you and the thoughts and beliefs that you attach to it?

A Matter of Perception

Think about it, we have all these distorted ideas and beliefs about money that we are no longer able to see money for what it really is: a piece of paper whose value is what we make of it. Without the value that we attach to it, money is quite literally nothing. It is insignificant. Instead of seeing money as a tool for exchange we have attached all sorts of meaning and stories to it. Fear, worry, evil, happiness, problems, power, these are but some of the meanings we have attached to this piece of paper.  So much so that money controls our emotions, our relationships, and our life experience.

To illustrate just how much our thoughts influence our perception of money, think about your bank balance. Someone will look at that number and think “Oh it’s too little” and worry that they need more. Yet someone else will look at the same number and think “Oh this is more than enough” and feel content. In reality, that bank balance is just a number, and the difference lies in how each person perceives it. So then, money is not the problem. It is what we make of it that is the problem.

Here’s a truth: Money mirrors your own energy and thoughts. So, if money is a problem in your life, whether there isn’t enough of it, or it is a source of stress or it is ruining relationships, What is it that needs to change? Clearly, what needs to change is you and how you are thinking about money. If you are to create more inner peace and balance in your financial life, the work that you must do is internal. You need to evaluate your thoughts and beliefs about money (A belief is essentially a thought that you have held on to for so long that you have convinced yourself that it is real). This will in turn influence your external experience of money.

Challenge Your Beliefs and Thinking

Here’s what you can do:

Write down what you think to be true about money, whether in general or specifically in your life. For example, your list may have thoughts or beliefs such as these:

I need money to feel secure

Money is evil

Money makes people controlling and manipulative

You cannot trust people when you have money, people use you when you have money

Money makes people greedy and selfish

There is never enough money

I will be happier when I have more money.

I am afraid that money will change me

Managing money is hard

Money earns you respect

Money is a source of problems

Here’s what you should do next. For the thoughts and beliefs, you have written above, ask yourself the question “Is this belief really true?” For it to be true it must be real. And for it to be real it must be happening in real life, and you should have tangible evidence to support it.

For example, in the case of money is evil, do you have a specific incident that you have witnessed where money carried out an evil act? Obviously not because money is an object incapable of doing anything of its own accord. Or is there any evidence demonstrating the correlation of money with being a bad person. I highly doubt it. To the contrary, we know of many people who have done some pretty good things with their money.

Perhaps a more accurate thought would be “so and so did this, which is an evil thing to do”. In that way you are not generalizing, and you are not attaching any negativity to money itself which would otherwise cause you to resist having money in your life. So, if it is not true that money is evil, ask yourself:

Is this belief or thought helping me?”

“How might this thought be affecting my inner peace?”

What would my life be like if I let go of this thought or belief?”

Let’s consider another belief: I need money to feel secure. Is that belief true? How much money exactly would make you feel secure, do you have a figure? What if you had enough money and you lived in a dangerous neighborhood would you still feel secure? How do you account for money not being able to save people from death? How do you account for people who have it all but still worry about losing it?

Here’s the thing about security. It is subjective, meaning it is influenced by our feelings. If we are insecure (in our internal disposition) no amount of money will ever make us feel secure. You can be married into money and still feel insecure in your relationship and home. You can have a stable job and income, food in the fridge and a roof over your head and still feel insecure. You can be a CEO of a top company, not lacking anything materially but still feel insecure. On the other hand, you can have someone who has very little materially but who is very content and secure with what they have so much so that they are even happy to share the little that they have with others. How do these real life experiences match up to that belief that “you need money to feel secure”?

Security is clearly not dependent on external or material factors. So, then it must be internal. It comes from an inner knowing that you have all that you truly need, right here, right now. Whether you think you are secure, you’re right. And whether you think you’re insecure, you’re also right. Money has very little to do with it.

Reflect on all the beliefs and thoughts you wrote down, question them, challenge them, consider how they are influencing your overall perception of money and life. And consider how your life experience would be if you didn’t have them. Think about how your relationships with people would change if you didn’t hold on to these beliefs.

Would you enjoy life more in the present moment, with what you have, if you didn’t think you needed more money to be happy? Would you slave so hard to get money if you didn’t think you needed it to earn respect from your parents and peers? Would you stress so much about money if you didn’t think you needed it to feel secure? Would you be more trusting of people if you didn’t think they just wanted to use you for your money? Would your own self-worth improve if you didn’t attach it to money?

It is my hope that you allow more peace to flow into your life by letting go of the beliefs and perceptions you have about what money is or what it should be. It is my hope that you take your thoughts captive and only hold on to what is true. What is true is only what is real and not what we “think” is true.

This article was inspired by a book that I am currently reading, Loving What Is by Byron Katie.