Do you think money is evil? Do you struggle with a scarcity mindset or believe that you will always be in debt? Have you convinced yourself that you are unlucky or that you can’t achieve financial success? If you assume any of these beliefs, a money block may be to blame.
What is a money block? A money block is a subconscious, negative belief that blocks you from achieving your financial goals. Money blocks influence our behavior, but most of the time, we are completely unaware of them.
Why Do Money Blocks Occur?
As children, it’s easy to create false narratives and limiting beliefs about money. As we grow up, we often overhear adults talking about their finances. We listen to conversations about employment struggles, paying for necessities, and handling bills.
Sometimes we are a part of these conversations, but most of the time, we listen to them like a record playing in the background. The same words spin round-and-round in circles in the air around us. We may sense our parents’ financial stress, but we don’t openly discuss these grown-up topics with them.
Without the ability to process these events, it’s easy to construct negative financial beliefs. Some of us grow up believing that money is evil. Others think that money is scarce or that we will never have enough. Our mantras differ depending on what we witnessed and overheard.
Money blocks differ based on our personal experiences too. Did you compare yourself to others growing up? Did you struggle to pay bills after graduation or find it challenging to secure a job? Each life event can subconsciously alter our in-grained financial beliefs.
Constructing Money Blocks
If we aren’t careful, we can turn these negative impressions into money blocks. The more money blocks we build, the more difficult it becomes to maintain a healthy relationship with our finances.
I like to think about money blocks like large, physical bricks. Imagine heavy slabs of concrete standing between you and your financial goals.
You can’t climb over these bricks. They stack from floor to ceiling. You can’t dig a tunnel under them or find a way to go around them either. In order to reach your financial objectives, you have to break through them. You have to find a sledgehammer and reduce them to rubble.
Most of us spend a lifetime telling ourselves stories that aren’t true. “I’m shy,” I used to say to myself. But I’m not shy; I am a careful observer.
“Traditional success will make me happy,” I said, but climbing the corporate ladder wasn’t the dream I thought it would be.
“Becoming a stay-at-home parent will waste my talent and education,” I told myself, but becoming one has been the greatest gift ever offered to me.
“I’m stingy,” I said, even though I volunteered my time and energy.
“I lack confidence,” I told myself even though I spoke up confidently at work and in school.
Mental Blocks – A Failure to Believe In Yourself
As a writer, I often struggle with mental blocks. A million ideas flow through my brain while I take a shower or exercise, but the minute I sit down to write, the creative juices evaporate, and I can’t find a single thing to say. I can stare at a blank screen or a blank sheet of paper as though I’ve never written a story before.
The same thing can happen when we think about money. We can set intentions to review our finances, earn more money, or pay off our debt, but suddenly find ourselves stuck and unable to move.
The more I struggle to write, the more stuck I feel. Likewise, the more you grapple with your financial failures, the more frustrated and incapacitated you feel.
These mental blocks get in the way of our creativity and prevent our productivity. So how can we prevent them?
How Can We Break Our Money Blocks
If you want to break your money blocks, you have to rid yourself of outdated thoughts. Rather than repeating the same mantras, you have to choose new beliefs.
To begin, change the way that you talk about money. Every time you find yourself making a negative statement, turn it into a positive one.
Instead of saying, “I will never have enough.” Say, “I will have enough.” Removing the word ‘never’ can make a world of difference. The more you repeat the upbeat version of this sentence to yourself, the more you will begin to believe it.
Sometimes it helps to symbolize your negative beliefs. Write the words down on paper, read them aloud to yourself, and then send them up in flames. Toss them into your fireplace or hold a match up to them.
Watch the words curdle and shrink before disappearing. Then, remind yourself that these beliefs don’t serve you and need to be destroyed.
If you can’t identify your money blocks, seek help from an outsider. Life coaches, financial coaches, friends, and money mentors can help us see the blind spots in our beliefs.
Recall Your Money Memories
If you can, find a way to access your old money memories and do your best to reinterpret them.
Here’s an example from my childhood. When I was nine years old, I desperately wanted to play the piano. I don’t remember where I got the idea, but for some reason, I couldn’t get the thought out of my mind. Eventually, my mom got sick of listening to me beg for a musical instrument and drove me to the store in search of one.
When we entered the music store, I ran right over to the pianos. My parents spoke to the clerk for just a few minutes. Then my mom called me to leave. As we climbed into the car, she solemnly told me we couldn’t afford a piano.
At that moment, I formed a distinct association between pain and money. My parents didn’t want to disappoint me, but they didn’t have the money to help me achieve my newfound goals. I felt my mom’s frustration as we drove home in silence that sunny Saturday afternoon.
Rewrite Your Money Memories
My parents didn’t set out to teach me about money, but I learned a valuable financial lesson that day. If I wanted to reach my future goals, I would need to earn money and save. Unfortunately, I took this lesson to the extreme. As an adult, I focused on making money and sacrificed other, more joyful goals.
I’m sure you can recall similar money memories from your childhood. Unfortunately, money blocks form from these seemingly insignificant events.
If you are reading this, take a minute to think about your relationship with money. Start by reflecting on the memories and experiences that influenced your thinking. Then, write down your thoughts, speak into a microphone, or tell someone you love.
If you can, step back into those moments and change the events that unfolded or alter the events to create a more positive experience.
In my case, I can recognize my mother’s love and sympathy as she hugged me and led me to the car. Rather than focusing on the financial implications of that moment, I wish I could go back and focus on her love.
Visualize Your Progress to Remove Money Blocks
If you think you are bad at money, design a chart that proves otherwise. Create a graph that indicates the number of times you tried to teach yourself about money. Check off the number of days you read a personal finance article, called your employer to ask about retirement options or clipped coupons to save.
Most of us focus on big celebrations but don’t discount small wins. Instead, praise yourself for paying off small amounts of debt or creating new ways to earn more.
Create multiple financial goals focusing on the big and small. Imagine a world where you have enough money to live the life you want to live. Clip out art to represent the picture in your mind or simply write down the words to describe it. Clip this to your bathroom mirror, your refrigerator, or the dashboard of your car.
Believe in Yourself
Above all else learn to believe in yourself. Most mental blocks are caused when we lack confidence in our abilities. Find ways to build your confidence and you’ll improve your finances.