3 Lies We All Tell Ourselves About Money

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Soul of Money Institute founder and author of award-winning book, The Soul of Money, Lynne Twist, has observed and shared what she calls the 3 great money myths we all carry about money…Myths that are debilitating at best, and make us feel like we never have enough and are never doing the right things.

[Related: America Saves Week: Train Your Brain to Save Money]

1.  There’s not enough to go around. We believe and behave as if there’s not enough. There’s not enough time, there’s not enough love, there’s not enough money; we aren’t enough, etc.  Twist points out how for many of us, our first thought in the morning is, ‘I didn’t get enough sleep,’ and our last thought is, ‘I didn’t get enough done.’ This myth of ‘not enough’ not only subconsciously legitimizes the never-ending pursuit of accumulating more than you need for you and ‘yours,’ but it also means someone, somewhere is going to be left out — we need at the expense of others.  This mindset, and the never-ending treadmill it puts us on with regard to acquiring money, not only undermines any sense of financial well-being, but it’s hell on relationships and kills our natural humanity towards others.

Pushing back against Myth#1: Begin with a reality check: Myth #1 is simply not true. There’s more than enough of everything to go around. Be honest with yourself with regard to how this is playing out in your own life. Twist says the cultural mindset around ‘not being enough’ is so loud that we have no idea how difficult it is to disengage from it. Once you step into the truth that you are enough, and that each one of us has a deep well of power and uniqueness, you’ll hear a different voice.  You’ll naturally discover more powerful ways of dealing with money.

2.  More is better. If someone told you ‘they’ll have enough when they get more,’ what would you think of their chances of finding genuine contentment and joy? Ask yourself if an ‘outsider’ could see this pattern in your life, and acknowledge what it’s doing to your chances for happiness, particularly around your finances.  Don’t feel bad or guilty. This ‘lie of scarcity’ is simply the result of conditioning. Twist mentioned the size of the storage industry, as a great example of this in the teleseminar. It’s a huge and growing industry based on us building ‘houses’ for things we don’t use. Meanwhile, there are millions of us who are homeless.  ‘More is better’ is simply a symptom of a society that’s lost its way.

Pushing back against Myth #2:  Do you feel like you need more of everything all the time? More money, more ‘stuff,’ etc?  That’s not surprising given the messaging to have ‘more’ is everywhere all the time. There is nothing wrong with having more, but the mindset of this myth never gives us the satisfaction of looking forward.  “No matter where we go, there’s a leakage that doesn’t allow us to experience the power of prosperity,” says Twist. When we develop an appreciation of what’s there, and step away from ‘moreness,’ what we have can expand, nourish us, and nourish the world. When we let go, beautiful things are waiting for us.

3.  That’s just the way it is. Twist calls this the myth that holds the others in place, and allows us to not question them. My #3 comes with a sense of resignation, there is ‘buy in,’ and we literally give up on pushing back against the real causes of our troubles — unrealistic fears of lack and scarcity. Perhaps one of the reasons resignation feels so bad is because it drives behavior that is completely out of alignment with who we are as human beings — creatures who are meant to evolve and help others evolve.

Pushing back against Myth #3:  Engage in practices that change our way of being. You can try new practices for saving, budgeting, and investing.  Make your spending intentional and deliberate.  Most important, design a vision for your life that reflects your own definition of prosperity.