“Money doesn’t grow on trees.”
“Money is the root of all evil.”
“You can’t lose what you never had.”
“There’s no such thing as a free lunch.”
“You can’t take it with you when you die.”
“More money, more problems.”
Do these sound familiar?
Your current money story is an amalgamation of your parents’ and ancestors’ own money stories, your past money experiences, and the conclusions — the identity — you derived from them. All of those bits of information you collected and assigned meaning to are stored deep in your subconscious, where they keep playing out, like a record player with no stop button.
What’s your earliest memory related to money that you can remember? What were the financial circumstances you grew up in and have grown accustomed to? What theme or archetypal quality do you most identify with when it comes to your money? It may be survival, or the theme of the ruler, or even victimhood.
In addition to our personal history, the societal and cultural programming we have internalized over the years based on the repeated messaging we received from the media, from our peers, and our communities has a major impact on the way we handle money in our present day lives. Therefore, while each person’s subconscious blueprint is as unique as their own fingerprint, larger collective themes can be detected. For women in particular, that may look like an innately strained relationship to our finances; one characterized by stress, trade offs, shame, and even guilt.
Do you dread asking for a raise? Feel uncomfortable even broaching the subject of finances? According to a study conducted by Merrill Lynch, 61% of women would rather talk about their own death than money. Clearly, there is a lot to unpack there.
So where to begin?
Like all narratives that we subconsciously operate from, the belief systems dictating our behaviors can be tricky to identify and grasp.
The subconscious mind is like a vast room with no light switch. In lieu of turning on the light all at once and getting the lay of the land, our best bet is to bring a metaphorical flashlight and shine a light on the surface level symptoms that we can comprehend using our conscious minds. That may be the guilt we feel for out-earning a parent or a spouse; our seeming inability to overcome a certain income plateau; or the fact that we feel much more comfortable bartering than charging for our services, to name a few examples. Those findings — while they are mere symptoms — give us insight into what may lie below the surface level, as we follow the breadcrumbs of our triggers, our annoyances, our analytical findings, to, eventually, reveal the programming nestled deep within the subconscious mind.
Those core fears and beliefs inform 95% of our behavior. Therefore, even with the best of intentions, as we keep repeating actions in alignment with the programming that we carry, we are ever-strengthening the neural pathways that led to the patterns we are so desperately looking to change.
Core beliefs — the root beneath the symptoms we can consciously get a feel for — are unique to each person. Did you grow up to believe that there is never enough? Or maybe you have drawn the conclusion that in order to create the level of wealth you consciously desire, you have to give up something else: your friendships, your well-being, your mom-of-the-year status.
Another subconscious fear that comes up often is: They won’t like me. They’ll say: Who do you think you are? I will be excluded. They will say: She is getting too big for her britches.
If that trade-off — the expected discord, the conflict, the loss — is deemed too expensive by your subconscious (which uses decision-making metrics that cannot be fully understood by your rational mind), its entire prowess will be utilized to ensure you don’t veer too far from the path of the familiar, lest you find yourself in an unfamiliar (meaning: unsafe) situation.
To put it in highly unscientific terms, your subconscious mind has hella prowess. The subconscious mind’s processor is one million times more powerful than that of the conscious mind.
Therefore, changing our money narratives happens in a place much deeper than consciousness, much deeper than awareness. To rewrite our money story, we must go beneath the surface level to find the core beliefs that are shaping our money present.