I still remember where I was when I decided to let go off my fear around money. In my car on one of the many bridges in my hometown Hamburg. The sun was shining, the sky was blue, and I opened the window and handed my fear over to the wind. The first days that followed were like a roller coaster ride, blinded and without a safety bar. I never realized how much structure the fear gave to my life. When you live in fear of everything related to your money, you know exactly how to behave when the bank statements come in, when you get a letter from the IRS, when you hand over your debit card in the grocery store at the end of the month. You know that your stomach will tighten, your breathing will get shallow, your pulse will skyrocket. But if you take away the fear – you are totally lost. All of a sudden you have control over the situation, you can decide how you want to react. All of a sudden Big Mama Fear is not there to take care of you anymore. All of a sudden you are mature.
In hero tales and movies and books they say you have to look your fear in the eye to overcome it. In my experiences this is impossible.
The moment you turn your head to look at fear, it is gone. And all that is left is what was hidden underneath it’s dark shadow: the truth. The truth about our finances. Which might be better or worse than what we thought with our fearful minds. Although – it is always better. Always better to know the truth than to believe a lie. The truth never hurts. We often think that it is easier to not see the truth. But as Meadow DeVor writes in Money Love: It is way harder to constantly push your feelings aside and lie to yourself than to face the truth.
Fear is like the headlights of a car that let the deer freeze. Fear keeps us from being in control of our actions. The tibetan monch Chögyam Prungpa Rinpoche says: “Ordinarily we don’t let ourselves experiences ourselves fully. We have a fear of facing ourselves. Many people try to find a spiritual path where they do not have to face themselves but where they can still liberate themselves. In truth, that is impossible. We have to be honest with ourselves. We have to see our gut, our real shit, our most undesirable parts.” Or in the words of another quote from Money Love: “I don’t want to be bothered with the details. I want to go right to the part where I earn more money.” But knowing there is something wrong with your finances and knowing why this is so, are two very different things. The first keeps you locked, the second sets you free.
We fear what we don’t know. To get rid of this fear, we just have to look. At our numbers, our behaviour, our thoughts, feelings and actions. When we see that we are the creator of our current financial reality, we understand that we also have the power to change this reality.
This takes a lot of courage – and it is definitely easier with someone at your side to hold your hand, have your back, shine the light when it gets too dark. I am this someone for my clients. So that they can experience what one of my clients said the other week: “I looked into the abyss, and with you at my side it was not as horrible as I thought it would be.”
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