Money, Money, Money
With money being such a hot topic these days, I thought it timely to talk about what money means to us. What value do we place on money? How does it influence our beliefs about ourselves and others? How susceptible are we to fluctuations in our self-esteem when our money is fluctuating in our bank accounts?
Our perceptions of money started at an early age. We may have heard messages that led us to believe that “money is the root of all evil,” or that “money makes the world go round.” We may have been told that “time is money” or that “money can’t buy you love.”
Aside from the messages we picked up from our parents, we were exposed to numerous social and cultural influences too. The “haves” were often synonymous with high style but shallow values, whereas the “have-nots” were romanticized as virtuous and generous. Money was equated with power, control, superiority, and invulnerability, even immortality. The ugly and undesirable were transformed into beautiful and attractive with money.
Turning on the television these days, one can’t escape the focus on money. The glamorous lives of the rich and famous are seen through the eyes of a family dynasty in “Dirty, Sexy Money” or affluent teenagers in shows such as “Privileged,” “Gossip Girl,” and “90210.” Then there is the spate of reality shows, where there is nothing so embarrassing, diminishing or disgusting that winning money couldn’t help.
Money is also a mood-altering distraction for the compulsive shopper and gambler. Buying and winning provide the high that lifts our spirits, albeit momentarily. We think it will make us happy, and when our mood starts to slip, we go out in search of another fix. Lack of money may be the reason why people stay in unfulfilling jobs and unsatisfactory or abusive relationships or why people break the law.
For most of us, money pays for our food, shelter, transportation, clothing and education. Having money in the bank tends to reduce our stress and anxiety about our day-to-day lives and our future. When we start to lose our hard-earned savings, we can feel not only demoralized, but also cheated of having lost despite playing the game right.
What are your attitudes about money? What perceptions do you have about yourself in relation to money? How many are based on stereotypical myths and how many are accurate? If you are worried about your financial status, what do you need to do to make things better for yourself? Please let me know if I can be of any assistance to you.
Barbara Fish, M.Ed.
Personal and Career Counsellor
“Helping Your Life Work”
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