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We have all heard the phrase money is the root of evil. What is so evil about wealth, which is often what people mean when they think of money. What underlies our uncomfortable relationship with money and therefore wealth? And what is an alternative approach that can nourish our lives and break through old thinking that limits our prosperity?
First off, how many know what the actual quote is? It is from the book of Timothy in the bible: “For the love of money is the root of all evil.”
But even so, why can’t we love money? Stuart Wilde says true prosperity is “Not about how much you have, it’s about how you feel about how much you have.” Another way of saying this is: Our wealth is measured by how much we have that cannot be taken away in all realms, including financial, spiritual, and emotional. How we feel about what we have is completely within our power. Given that, we need to know how we feel so we can see where we can make some changes. What can you do today to use money consciously in creating abundance in your life?
What makes us uncomfortable?
My friend stated her discomfort starkly: “Having money means giving up your life.” REALLY? Probing further, I saw a pattern that repeated itself with many other people in my life. There is a root belief by many that money is associated with greed, resulting in wealth for some and poverty for others. This dichotomy creates a false choice – be rich, or be poor. Many people who are committed to equity begin to earn a good income and then unconsciously find ways to not accumulate wealth. There are always family members or friends who need our help. There are cars and clothes and trips. All well and good until a crisis hits – be it medical, familial, or economic.
Often forgotten is Wilde’s definition of prosperity – it is not what you have, it is how you feel about what you have. Many people who may be poor financially have a joy and contentment that is genuine. Many who have incredible financial wealth never cease to covet more, never feeling it is enough.
At the base of discomfort with money is seeing it as other than neutral. It is merely a vehicle through which energy is exchanged. It can provide for the two lowest levels in Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, described as physiological and safety needs.
The problem arises when money is used as THE vehicle for getting our higher needs met, such as love/belonging, esteem and self-actualization. Make no mistake, financial well-being can support these higher level needs, but it neither guarantees or blocks you from achieving them.
We can decide to see money as neutral and one’s degree of wealth measured by how much we have that cannot be taken away. This does not eschew financial freedom based on a false dichotomy of rich OR poor.
As Suze Orman says: “In all realms of life it takes courage to stretch your limits, express your power, and fulfill your potential… it’s no different in the financial realm.”
True prosperity is well worth the effort in all realms of life. It begins by understanding and detaching ourselves from dualistic thinking so that we can nurture a positive relationship with money.