What has this to do with you and your bank account? Plenty. Remember that exercise I had you do a couple of blogs ago? The one where you sat with actual currency, and noticed what thoughts and feelings came up. One of those beliefs may have been, if only I had more of this I could….take a vacation, eat out more, get some new clothes, go to that training. While some things DO require money, I’m amazed when I look at my clients’ spending habits, including those who experience themselves as being underfunded, and what they blow their money on in an unquenchable desire to feel better. A recent theory actually addresses that phenomenon, postulating that as people feel more desperate, there’s a significant tendency to become more impulsive (neurologically, stress is shutting down the frontal lobe of the neocortex which modifies the will).
Instead, try this: The NLP Ladder. I learned this years ago, and it’s saved my budget thousands. When you next notice the impulse to throw money at a problem, ask yourself, what will this do for me? When you get the answer, keep on asking the question, what will this do for me? At some point, you might actually get clear on what your intention really is. Then you can start moving back down the ladder by asking yourself, how best to achieve this?
For example, years ago I was strung out, and I really needed a vacation. A nice one: a white sand beach next to the blue clarity of the ocean, drinks in coconuts with umbrellas, the occasional light conversation with a humorous stranger, and oodles of time to just sit, no thinking allowed. We’ve all been there, overwhelmed and long past overwhelmed. The only problem was, I had 0000000 in my bank account! Aaaargh! So I walked the ladder. What would having a vacation do for me? I could rest. What would resting do for me? I could relax. What would relaxing do for me? I could finally shake off all the stress that had accumulated in me over the past several horrific years. What would de-stressing do for me? I could heal. What would healing do for me? I could be at peace. Somewhere in here, I moved from what I didn’t want, stress, to what I did want, peace. Now I had clarity on what I wanted, I could then ask myself, how best to achieve peace? Back down the ladder I went, to the earthy and concrete: local resources. Joining the Shambala Center and learning to meditate in a group was a heck of a lot cheaper than a five-star resort. So that’s what I did.
When you finally embrace that money has no magical properties, but is simply one more tool, and not necessarily the best one for the job, it can be very disappointing. Ultimately though, as you move past the disappointment, you’ll find your response to life’s little challenges more effective, and empowered. Try the ladder, and tell me what your experience was like, if you will. I’d be most interested!
Inga K. Larson, LCSW CMT
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