When you think poor, you act poor. Is that a bad thing?

I think poor.

This means that no matter what my financial situation might be – good, bad or neutral – I still think like I’m broke.

I can’t really blame my upbringing (too bad, that’s always an easy out). My childhood was neither destitute nor indulgent. I remember staring up in awe at the rows of fuchsia pink Barbie boxes in the toy section at Zellers, and wishing I could take even the cheapest one home with me. The answer was always no, or to wait until my birthday – even if it was February (my birthday is Sept. 2). But I also don’t recall one single time where there wasn’t food on the table. We didn’t have a lot of money for extras, but we sure weren’t poor IRL.

My guess is that my poorthink developed over time, and probably began in earnest when I became a single parent in 2005. It then developed into a full throttle affliction when I became a homeowner in 2007.

There are “positive” aspects of thinking poor:

  • an understanding of the value of a buck
  • a willingness to earn your keep
  • the ability to be happy with less

However, there are also “negative” aspects of thinking poor:

  • a feeling of lack
  • cheapness
  • FEAR


This last one is probably the worst. I am often in a perpetual state of FEAR that everything and anything I’ve built (both financially and personally) will come crashing down around me at any second. This FEAR has crippled me in the past. I’m not alone in this. The more you worry about money, the less you do to improve or secure your situation, apparently.

My FEAR has also meant that I end up saying: “I can’t afford this.” Even when I can. Even when what I actually mean is: “I don’t want to spend money on this right now.”

What’s the solution to my poorthink and its major side effect, FEAR?

I don’t think the answer is to make more money. The richer you are, the more FEAR you have. It’s because you have more to lose. I’m not just inferring this fact either. Some guy actually studied it, and found that rich people worry about money too. Just in different ways, obviously.

The solution is likely going to be lifelong practice. (Yes! I love when stuff takes super long with no guaranteed payoff.) Like being a decent parent or a healthy partner, my relationship with money will be something I have to work on until the end of my days. Perhaps this is true of anything that’s worth doing.

~HS

Andres Rodrigez/Dreamstime Images

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