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A Money Conversation Part 2: Getting It In Writing

A Money Conversation Part 2: Getting It In Writing

In my last post, A Money Conversation Part I, I asked readers to examine their sense of self-worth as it relates to money. I also asked, "If money talks…what is it saying to you?" It’s an interesting idea to think of personifying money – actually thinking about what it might want to say to you, or even what you might want to say to it.

[Related: Women and Money: Are You in Control of Your Finances?]

In a recent video posted on social media, author of Finding Your Own North Star and O Magazine columnist, Martha Beck, invites us to do just that – to, in effect, have a conversation with money. To prepare for this “conversation,” Beck asks us to create our own unique image of money; whether it's a benevolent fairy godmother, a wise old owl, or a Buddhist monk sitting on a mountaintop, use whatever works for you. Beck urges exercise participants to make the image as relatable and positive as possible.

Some of us think of money as a tyrant, or some kind of deity we can’t access. However, when it comes down to it, money is really just energy symbolized by objects we use to trade. When used in a positive way, money is love, so think of an image that makes you feel good.

The next step may sound far-fetched, but I encourage you to give it a try. With your selected image in mind, Beck encourages sitting down and actually writing money a letter – picturing your chosen image as you write. Here are four points of departure Beck suggests to get you started. Writing from stream-of-consciousness, you should:

Speak frankly.

Let money know how you feel about it. The good and the bad.

Own up.

Express any regrets or apologies you want to make to money. (ie: “I’m sorry I’ve taken you for granted,” or, “I haven’t been very good at keeping track of you.”)

[Related: How to Eliminate Aspirational Spending]

Be free.

Let money know that you’re releasing it from any anxiety and fear. Beck makes the point that, as with plants, animals and fellow humans, money thrives and grows when we give it love and attention. When we surround it with fear and anxiety – clutching at it too tightly – the opposite is true.

Show gratitude.

Tell money how much you appreciate it. I love the saying, "What you appreciate appreciates." This is the perfect opportunity to express gratitude for all that you have and help clear the way for more abundance to come.

I gained some interesting insights doing this exercise, and several of my coaching clients did, as well. If you’re inspired to take the exercise a step further, Beck proposes flipping the scenario and writing another letter – this time from money back to yourself to see what additional insights rise to the surface. Beck says the act of writing your feelings in long-hand helps slow the brain down in a way that’s similar to meditation – allowing the brain to access deeper wisdom regarding money.

Studies have found that women would just as soon talk about their weight or sex lives as discuss money, so the above exercise – putting your feelings about money in writing – is a good way to get the conversation started, even if it's only with yourself.

[Related: Talking About Money Is Still Taboo... And I’m Over It]


Caroline Dowd-Higgins authored the book "This Is Not the Career I Ordered," now in its second edition, and maintains the career reinvention blog of the same name. She is Executive Director of Career and Professional Development at the Indiana University Alumni Association and contributes to Medium, Huffington Post, Thrive Global, Ellevate Network, and The Chronicle newspaper in Indiana. She hosts and produces an online show, Thrive!, about career and life empowerment for women on YouTube. Caroline also hosts the international podcast series Your Working Life - on iTunes and SoundCloud. Follow her on Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+, and Twitter.

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