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How To Overcome Negative Money Mindset

How to Overcome Negative Money Mindset

“So if you feel like money isn’t possible for you, I really encourage you to stop, reflect, and understand what’s actually blocking you from developing that positive relationship with money. Because without changing that, money is going to continue to feel loaded, and you won’t be able to truly get it working for you in your practice and in your life, no matter how much money you have.” 


– Linzy Bonham


In This Episode…

What do you bring with you when you start thinking about and dealing with money? For many of us, we have childhood experiences and attitudes shaped by those experiences that surface when we think about money and finance. Unpacking and acknowledging those emotions can help us move forward to start to make new stories and experiences.

Listen in to hear Linzy work through several common money stories that can impact us as adults, and stay with her to hear practical ways to move forward!

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Episode Transcript

Linzy [00:00:03] So if you feel like money is impossible for you, I really encourage you to stop, reflect and understand what’s actually blocking you from developing that positive relationship with money, because without changing that, money is going to continue to feel loaded and you won’t be able to truly get it working for you in your practice and your life, no matter how much money you have. 


Linzy [00:00:30] Welcome to the Money Skills For Therapists podcast, where we answer this question. How can therapists and health practitioners go from money shame and confusion to feeling calm and confident about their finances and get money really working for them in both their private practice and their lives? I’m your host, Linzy Bonham, therapist turned money coach and creator of the course Money Skills For Therapists. 


Linzy [00:01:07] Hello and welcome to today’s episode of the Money Skills For Therapists podcast. So today’s episode – for very good reason – is brought to you by the Getting Unstuck in Your Finances mini training. So often when we’re stuck in moving forward with money, it’s not because of the how of money and what you need to do. It’s because of all the stories and emotions that pop up and get in your way whenever you try to work on money. This mini training helps you to start to shift your relationship with money, which is the foundation that allows you to really get money working for you in your practice and your life. You can check the link in the show notes to get that free mini training. 


Linzy [00:01:42] So today’s episode is about the first step of getting started on working on money when money gives you all the bad feelings. So a few episodes ago, I laid out the first practical step that I suggest with working on your finances as a therapist or a health practitioner in private practice. And that was creating clarity and separation, creating that separate bank account, so you have that real clear boundary between your personal money and your business money. If listening to that episode, you were like, Oh gosh, that’s a lot. Or if you’re working on it, but you’re finding it very difficult. This episode addresses the other half of the equation. I’m really big on addressing both the practical, the how-to, the skills, (of course, Money Skills For Therapists) but also addressing the emotional side and the mindset and the stories that are so often the part that’s actually really hard about money. 


Linzy [00:02:38] The emotional and mindset aspects of money can really trip us up when it comes to starting to work on our money, continuing to work on our money or feeling good about money, even when money is coming into our life and kind of is working. When we have harmful stories or a whole bunch of emotions associated with money, they get in the way. Today we’re going to dig into what some of those things are, including actual financial trauma, inherited money stories from your family, political and moral beliefs that can get in the way of getting money working for you. And what you can do about them to actually start to work on them and shift these stories that make money so difficult. 


Linzy [00:03:21] What I really want you to take away from this podcast episode today, if you take away nothing else, is really understanding that the stories and the emotions that are under the surface when it comes to money really define and interfere with our ability to make money work for us, both in our practices and in our lives. So without identifying those stories that you have and updating them, they will continue to block you from feeling clear and confident about money. And that’s regardless of whether you’re just getting started or if you actually even have a system already set up. Shifting our beliefs around money is essential to really get it working for us, and this is a piece that I see missing so often when it comes to money like I, for instance, never lead with the word budget. You’ll hear me almost never use the word budget and the reason that I don’t use it on my social media or that I don’t talk about it a lot upfront is that for a lot of us, the word budget brings up all these emotions. This like sense of restriction. There’s this shame because maybe we’re not budgeting. There’s so much that comes into that term that’s so loaded that actually really isn’t about budgeting at all, but it’s about all the stories that can surround budgeting and that so many of us carry. And it’s those stories that we’re going to start to talk about today. 


Linzy [00:04:33] So the first thing that can really contribute to negative stories and emotions around money is, of course, actual literal trauma. If you grew up in poverty, if you grew up in a family situation where money was there and then suddenly not – and that I find happens with students that I have who have come up in more like upper class families sometimes experience that where sometimes there’s this abundance of money, but then suddenly there’s no money. If you constantly got the message from your parents that money was tight, even if it wasn’t. And this is something I noticed for, like middle class upbringings is sometimes maybe money actually was there, but your parents believed it wasn’t there or told you it wasn’t there. Or if money in your family was tied to being like good or compliant, like there is money in your family but if you receive it, there’s strings attached, there’s expectations, that money can go away. These are all real financial traumas. I mean, especially poverty. Poverty is so clearly a financial trauma. But all of these other things, too, when we’re growing up, we so need that sense of like stability and safety from parents, right? And when our parents either can’t access money, can’t hold onto money and we feel that from them, even if they don’t say it, we know it. You know, kids are little sponges, so we’re going to pick up on that reality. That’s really traumatic for a child to feel that instability and that insecurity. 


Linzy [00:05:58] So if what I’m talking about resonates with you, I want to validate that that is real trauma. And I’m talking about, like almost like big T trauma – in the trauma therapy world we kind of talk about big T traumas and little T traumas. Often that is a big T trauma, that is a real trauma that you’ve experienced. And so logically, money is going to feel really loaded and scary and insecure when you’ve had those kinds of experiences growing up. It makes sense that those are the feelings that are going to come up when you try to work on money or improve your relationship with money. 


Linzy [00:06:29] Another kind of, you know, story or experience we can have around money is inherented stories. So that’s the lessons that we soaked up from our parents about money. I find that often people were taught something about money from their parents, but it’s often either things that our parents didn’t mean to teach us, or they were teaching us things that weren’t helpful or inaccurate. Right? Often we inherit their kind of bad relationship to money. Their maybe feast or famine relationship to money or their belief that money says something about who you are – good or bad. 


Linzy [00:07:04] Often we inherit those stories and we’re carrying them around with us. Even though they’re not stories that we’ve consciously chosen to have, we soak them up as a child and they become ours. So that’s another kind of money story that can have a lot of emotions associated with it that can really interfere with our ability to work on money. 


[00:07:22] Next is experiences. This is another kind of trauma of money actually being used to hurt you in your life. So if you’ve experienced any partnership where money was used as a weapon, if you’ve had parents hold money over your head, or even had parents take money away from you, that is going to give you a lot of emotion and baggage around money. Money is going to be triggering. And an example of that and how that can play out, is a therapist who I worked with that I’m going to change some of the details of this story. A therapist who had made money as a child, she was a child actress, so she had actually earned money when she was a kid. And then that money had been put into a bank account for her, you know, which her parents obviously controlled and had access to and her parents came to her and they would tell her that they were taking the money, but frame it as though she was choosing to give them the money. So her parents were really stealing money from her. This was really her money. They had not earned the money. It was her labor. It was her money. She knew that money was there, but her parents would come and say, You know, thank you so much, you’ve helped to pay for this thing for us. And they would take the money without asking her. There was no consent there, and they spent all the money. So by the time she was at the age where she would have been able to make choices with that money, the money was gone. So the way that that ended up looking for her as an adult is she never kept money around. Right. That’s so interesting the way that these things that we experience as a child show up in behaviors that might not be really obvious, but actually are very logical and make a lot of sense. So this particular therapist, she would never keep money in her bank account, which makes sense because she had this trauma of being robbed, basically having money stolen from her so a way that she was trying to keep her safe when she looked into and dug into her money story, she understood that this was a way she was trying to keep herself safe. By not having money in her bank account, it meant that nobody could steal money from her, right? She got to spend her own money, and that was a safety mechanism, right? So although it didn’t seem obvious at first, it made complete sense once she understood and identified that that was the root of that behavior around money. And then when she identified it, she could start to change it. 


Linzy [00:09:38] Sometimes our negative mindset and stories and emotions around money are also extensions of other beliefs that aren’t specifically about money, but that dig into other fears that we have or shame that we have. So that can be beliefs like the belief that we’re stupid, not being good enough, being a failure. I know these are very loaded things to talk about. We’re going to move into other territory soon, but these can be really painful stories that we can carry that come out around money. They may not be about money, but for instance, if you know that you have more debt than you want to, if you feel unclear about money and you also inherited the story growing up that you were stupid, you had a family member who told you this or or you develop that belief through experiences that you have, then it’s very logical that not knowing how to manage money now is going to trigger that belief that you’re stupid. And it’s also very logical that you’re going to avoid money because who wants to feel that belief and all of the emotional impacts that it has to feel the shame, right? And feel the judgment on yourself and the not good enough that comes with money when you already have this vulnerability. So sometimes that is really where money is loaded. It is things experiences that weren’t specifically about money, but that trigger those other vulnerabilities that we have. 


Linzy [00:10:54] And then the final kind of mindset piece that I see can really interfere with our relationship with money is political or moral beliefs that have given us negative stories about money. Therapists and healers, we are often really sensitive to injustice, and thank goodness, you know, we know that the world that we live in is oppressive and unfair. We know that not everybody gets a fair chance, and so many of us naturally equate making money or having money with being oppressors. Right. We can develop this very black and white story around money. 


Linzy [00:11:28] So having yourself identify how your political beliefs have shaped your relationship to money can also be really interesting, because sometimes it’s that we have political or moral beliefs that have given us a black and white perspective. And I’m not saying you have to get rid of those beliefs. I’m not saying you have to believe that capitalism is amazing or that everybody can just pull themselves up by their bootstraps. I actually, I hope that you don’t believe that, but you can start to nuance those beliefs once you identify them. Because when we have that black and white “money = bad”, basically not having money = good, then even if you make money, you’re going to be doing things unconsciously to get rid of that money, to keep yourself good, right? To not be bad, to not be an oppressor. So those religious beliefs or political beliefs can also really inform our relationship to money.  


Linzy [00:12:18] So I just filled out a bunch of heavy negative stuff. You made it through the problem part of our podcast today. Now what I want to tell you is what you can do about it, because the good news is there’s a lot you can do about it. The main thing that you need to start to do is take a bunch of steps back. If you find that whenever you sit down to work on money, you are like overwhelmed. A wall comes down and you can’t think straight. You start to feel yucky and bad and uncomfortable, and you want to go and do everything but that thing. That gives you a really helpful clue. That tells you that there is something very charged here. So I’m a really big fan of curiosity when we come against something charged in our nervous system. 


Linzy [00:13:00] So stepping back and starting to be curious about what that is can be so helpful because sometimes it’s something you’re going to know right away. You’re like, Oh, I obviously know why I feel anxious about money. Because money was never there when I was a kid, and I’m scared of finding out that money’s not there. But sometimes it can be really surprising what comes out. So what I encourage you to do is get curious about money. And a really helpful, simple way to do this is do a little bit of reflecting and journaling about money. Journaling can be a really helpful way to do this because it really gets you into that free flow. You’re not going to be censoring yourself. And here are some really simple but effective prompts to help you start to understand what is happening for you around money. 


Linzy [00:13:38] The first journal prompt is Money is… Just dot, dot, dot… And just start writing from there. 


Linzy [00:13:46] The next one is rich people are… Dot dot dot… That one can really help you uncover maybe some old beliefs that you have about what wealth means. I was really surprised when I did this journal prompt a few years ago when I was doing some of this work to find that I had these beliefs that were really outdated. They didn’t really fit how I understand the world now, but really fit how I thought about the world when I was a teenager, and I just kind of had it updated my understanding of the world from that time. 


Linzy [00:14:18] The third journal prompt that I encourage you to use is: Growing up, I learned that money… Dot dot dot… This is where you can start to more specifically unpack those experience that shaped your relationship to money, whether they were things that you actually directly experienced, whether they were stories passed out from your family, whether they were messages that you covertly picked up on, even if they weren’t said, or whether they were actual, literal lessons your parents tried to teach you that maybe have not served you so well. I know one of these for me was the story that working hard is good in itself, which is a very Protestant work ethic thing which makes complete sense for my farming family and the lineage that I have. 


Linzy [00:14:56] But what that taught me is that work was the good in itself, and I didn’t actually tie earning money to working hard. And I think a lot of therapists, we have this. So for me, starting to identify and unpack that that made me realize I don’t actually want to work all the time to be good. I would like to work enough that I can earn money to live a good life and then also enjoy my life. That’s actually not the story that I wanted to be living, but it certainly is one that I inherited and that I was living. 


Linzy [00:15:23] I really want to encourage you to let yourself be surprised by what comes up when you’re doing these journal prompts. Don’t censor yourself. Just write whatever it is. And if it’s surprising, just keep going and write more until you basically run out of things to write because it is incredible how many stories we can be carrying, even stories that are directly contradictory and how deep they can go. 


Linzy [00:15:45] Ultimately, these stories and the emotions that are under the surface absolutely define and interfere with your ability to make money work for you. So without identifying them and updating them through doing this work, you can take these to therapy. You can join Money Skills For Therapists, where we have calls, where we can talk through these beliefs, help you challenge them, give you the coaching to start to shift these beliefs that are getting in your way. 


Linzy [00:16:10] Without doing this work, these stories continue to run you no matter how much money you make or how in control you are of your finances. And I want to share a story of another wonderful therapist who I worked with, where this is exactly what was happening for her. So this is a therapist who is really successful. She is seeing about 30 clients a week, working constantly, making a really good fee. She did not have the problem of charging a low fee. She was charging quite a high fee. So making a lot, a lot of money, but she was just running like crazy all the time. It’s like she couldn’t stop and she was making so much money, but she couldn’t even make herself stop and slow down to understand how much money she needed to make. She was just trying to make more and more and more and more money. And this is something that I see a lot. It’s kind of the solution that our brains come up with when we don’t understand money, it’s just like, just make more, just make more, just make more. And like I’ve talked about with some other podcast guests in the past and some episodes coming in the future, you can’t win that game. The more game is unwinnable. 


Linzy [00:17:13] So this particular therapist is working so, so, so much. And she couldn’t really figure out what was in the way. She just knew that she just wanted to keep going. But when we slow down and work to identify her stories, she identified that if she stopped and looked at her money, she would have to face that negative story that she had about herself, that she was stupid, which is a story that was passed down from a parent. She would have to face the fact that she was in a bit of a financial mess. She had debts that she didn’t want. She had some messy situations going on that were very expensive. She would have to face that. And ultimately, though, what she would have to face was that story in her head that she was stupid. So she was running away from that. It felt very visceral having the conversation with her to help her identify those beliefs. It felt very visceral that she was literally running away from herself, from that child who feels like she’s stupid, that she carries inside of her. And even though she was making so much money, she didn’t feel any benefit of that. It was bringing no ease into her life because that story was still running her. And that is absolutely true for all of us. 


Linzy [00:18:21] It does not matter how much money you make, it doesn’t matter if you have a great system. If you have stories in your head that are essentially torturing you or bringing up huge emotions and triggers around money. Having more money is not the solution to that. Stopping, facing yourself, getting curious, starting to identify and make space and shift those stories. That is what actually gets your results. 


Linzy [00:18:45] So if you feel like money is impossible for you, I really encourage you to stop, reflect, and understand what’s actually blocking you from developing that positive relationship with money. Because without changing that, money is going to continue to feel loaded and you won’t be able to truly get it working for you in your practice and your life, no matter how much money you have. 


[00:19:05] If you would like more money content, you can follow me on Instagram @moneynutsandbolts. We’re putting out free money content on there all the time. And today’s episode was brought to you by the Getting Unstuck in Your Finances mini training. If what I’ve talked about in this episode resonates with you, if you feel a little bit punch to the gut, I’m sorry. Please go take care of yourself now. But if these stories really resonate and connect. This is so common, so often when we’re stuck in moving forward with money, it’s not because of the how of money, it’s because of all those stories and emotions that pop up whenever we try to work on it. So this free mini training, the Getting Unstuck in Your Finances mini training, helps you start to shift your relationship with money, which is the foundation that is going to allow you to really get money working for you in your practice and your life. The link for it is in the show notes. Please go check it out. It’s a very meaty, little mini training, and it’s going to walk you through the process that I talked about today and then some. Thank you for joining me today. 

Picture of Hi, I'm Linzy

Hi, I'm Linzy

I’m a therapist in private practice, and a the creator of Money Skills for Therapists. I help therapists and health practitioners in private practice feel calm and in control of their finances.

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