Unhealthy Financial Habits Will Turn Into Money Wounds. Here's How You Can Break the Cycle
It's time to rewire your financial mindset.
Money has been a hot topic since the start of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Shutdowns, closures, and layoffs meant a lot of financial hardship for a number of people. In tandem, the pandemic has given us a lot of time to process and think about our lives like never before, including aspects we might want to change or improve upon, like our relationship with money.
Natalia Benson, women's empowerment coach, astrologer and modern mystic—who teaches her own Heal Your Money course—says when it comes to understanding your finances better, it's a good idea to start at identifying your relationship with money and making it more personal.
Just like the relationships we have with partners, there are good things and bad things attached to our habits and beliefs. For instance, I wanted to understand my relationship with money so that I could make more effective and prosperous choices with my finances moving forward—but I soon discovered I had some unhealthy patterns and thoughts about money that were keeping me stuck. These are known as money wounds.
According to Benson, a money wound "could be any habit or action you have around money that hurts you. Examples of money wounds could be stuff like overspending, excessive debt, and never looking at your bank balance, just to name a few."
Dr. Naza Nalani, PhD, and CEO and founder of Vibrant Minds, adds the majority of us have at least one, and likely multiple, of these habits and beliefs when it comes to money. "When we hold these limiting beliefs, we consciously and unconsciously act in ways that reflect those beliefs," she says. "This changes not only your behavior but also your energy with money."
When we don't take the time to identify and heal our money wounds, our financial habits, including our thoughts about money, don't improve and we might feel stuck when it comes to getting more money into our bank account. If this sounds like you and your relationship with money, see below on how you can fix your money wounds, according to experts.
How are money wounds often formed?
Money wounds are formed often in childhood. "Typically they stem from attitudes, projections, and experiences that we had in childhood," Benson says. "We are essentially a sponge to absolutely everything going on around us, including the exact money beliefs (whether excellent or challenging) from the people around us."
Dr. Nalani says money wounds can also be formed by growing up repeatedly hearing limiting beliefs and negative concepts about what it means to earn, have, and spend money from a variety of sources including family upbringing, friends, media, movies, TV shows, books, and magazines, in addition to being developed by one's own experience of trauma and hardship with earning, keeping, and spending money.
For example, if you grew up constantly hearing your parents say that "money doesn't grow on trees," Dr. Nalani says you may have developed a deep belief that money is not easy to earn and the only way to create wealth is to work very hard.
The good news, says Dr. Nalani, is that due to the massive amount of information available at our fingertips, "these days we are no longer limited to a handful of money role models. If we see our mother or father struggle with money, we can easily scroll through TikTok or watch YouTube videos of thousands, even millions, of different money models. The new message blasting on social media is that 'money is easy to make, I did it and so can you.'"
How to identify your money wounds:
Just like anything in life that we want to change, Benson says identifying money wounds is a process of self-inquiry and a willingness to understand yourself. "If you want to look at money wounds, take a look at the parts of your finances that you are truly not happy with. The stuff that when you do it you experience guilt or other negative emotions," Benson explains.
Benson suggests journaling and getting honest with yourself as well as meeting yourself with gentleness and compassion. "The first time I ever sat down and got honest with myself about my overspending, it was extremely painful, but on the other hand, that discomfort [gave me] a whole lot of power," she says. "It took some time but the truth is, it's just like changing the health of our body or growing an entire forest. Money and financial empowerment can take time to heal and change. So make sure to be gentle and patient with yourself."
How to heal money wounds:
According to Dr. Nalani, the first step to healing any wound is to acknowledge its existence. She recommends doing a easy and quick test to see if you currently have any money wounds and ask yourself if you've ever thought or said any of the following statements:
"I'm just not lucky with money like other people are."
"Earning large amounts of money takes A LOT of hard work."
"The rich get richer and the poor get poorer."
"Money doesn't grow on trees."
"Money is the root of all evil."
"Our brains are hard-wired to develop unhealthy, addictive patterns with money after repeated cycles of receiving and losing money, often leading to money wounds," says Dr. Nalani, citing the neuroscience research as reported by Kabir Sehgal in his book Coined: The Rich Life of Money And How Its History Has Shaped Us. "The good news is that this means that money wounds can be healed. To heal trauma related to our finances, however, we must not only heal these burdensome brain patterns but also heal our energy as it relates to money."
For example, if you think money is evil, Dr. Nalani says you might want to consider the energy of money is not evil as many would say, but instead "holds the beautiful energy of connection and community as a means of exchanging goods and services. By remembering the historic origins of money as a symbol of trade can begin to change our relationship with money and heal past wounds."
She says working with a money mindset coach can "be a great place to start uncovering limiting money beliefs and begin shifting them to less harmful ideologies."
Benson says when it comes to healing your money wounds, you need to feel to heal. "If you are willing to get honest and gentle with yourself about what part of your finances isn't bringing your fulfillment and satisfaction, that is step one." Next, she suggests doing subconscious healing and reprogramming. "So much of our money stuff is at the subconscious level, especially if we have recurring patterns that we cannot make sense of." For instance, nearly every single night over the past three years, Benson says she has a hypnosis meditation playing as she sleeps. "It helps to overwrite old money programs and welcome in new prosperous, healthy and abundant programs."
How do you know your money wounds are healing?
First, says Benson, you may find that the old unconscious behavior doesn't feel comforting to you anymore.
"This was the case with me when it came to overspending," she says. "You may also find that your bank account is growing, you feel more clear and organized with your money, and it actually feels fun and peaceful for you to manage your finances." Benson adds that it's important to be patient with yourself and keep with your process.
"So often the relationships we've formed with money are very unconscious and they didn't form overnight," she says. "Most often the stories we have around money aren't even ours! If there is something you know you want to heal with your financial life, believe me, it can be done."