When I turned 30, I decided that I was finally going to get my life together, you know because I was a “real” adult now, I was GROWN grown. Like a lot of people, I started comparing myself to others and where they were in life. This was around the time when I decided to move back in with a parent, at 30 years old.
I am working through this, but I can become quite impulsive with money. And, comparing myself to others on social media wasn’t the best for my mental health or my budget. To feel better about myself, I would just spend money on things I knew I didn’t need or afford.
Anyways, I knew I had to change my habits, but I more so wanted a professional approach to getting deep to the root of my bad mental health. So, I decided that I wanted to go to therapy…but I didn’t have my first therapist appointment until a whole year later, at the age of 31. It took me a whole year to be serious about getting my mental health in order.
I was raised in a nondenominational Christian household and church, so I was having my own internal battle about going to therapy when all my life I was told to “just pray and give it to God”. Therapy wasn’t spoken about in my church, as it was still very taboo.
I am forever grateful that I invested in myself with therapy! I was able to find a local black woman therapist from the best directory, Therapy for Black Girls, and I have been seeing her for a few years now! Not only am I rediscovering myself and healing, but I’m learning about my money habits as well.
Here are just a few things I’ve learned in therapy about my money habits:
I Had to Learn and Understand the Influence of Past Experiences
In therapy, I was able to explore how my past experiences and upbringing shaped my relationship with money. We didn’t talk about money in my household growing up, and I wasn’t taught how to manage my money either.
I used to get so angry at my parents for not teaching me about money or how I should save. I wondered why they didn’t save money for my college education. In therapy I learned: how could my parents teach me about something they didn’t know?
Therapy helped me to uncover any unresolved issues related to money, and my parents, and develop strategies to overcome them, which ultimately led me to stop blaming my parents for my lack of financial education. I still have time to learn for myself!
I Equated my Net Worth to my Self-Worth
This is a tough one to admit, but I absolutely thought I wasn’t worthy of a lot of things because all I thought about was my terrible money mistakes and the debt that I’d acquired.
We live in a very capitalistic, materialistic, and shallow society, and I was busy buying things I didn’t need with money I didn’t have to impress people I didn’t even care for that much, as Dave Ramsey would say. It took me awhile to really get to the root of this. I realized it was that I thought that I wasn’t anything without a credit card or an exciting life to post about *whew*.
My therapist was able to help me in exploring the connection between money and emotions. Understanding these emotions, such as self-worth, fear, guilt, and shame, truly helped me develop a healthier and more balanced relationship with money – something I have to practice every day.
How Growing Up in the Church Influenced My Views on Money
Remember I said I grew up in the Christian faith? Well, many people would call that particular sect part of the Prosperity Gospel, where the emphasis on tithes/offerings was related to how God blessed you…at least this was how it was explained in my church. Unfortunately, I grew up in a church where it was deemed disrespectful if we didn’t give 10% (a tithe) of our income.
I learned in therapy that this actually caused me to have a distorted view of God, money, and receiving blessings. I remember telling my therapist that I thought I was having bad luck with money because I stopped going to church AND more so not paying my tithes. YIKES…I’m so grateful for therapy.
I Learned that I’m Not Alone on This Journey
Talking with someone about your mental health as it relates to money, that’s very vulnerable to do. I mean, who really wants to tell someone about all their money mistakes and bad spending habits? I feared the judgment and “oh, you’re supposed to know better”. I didn’t get that in therapy at all.
Instead, my therapist was able to get some other diagnoses for me, and I was able to learn that a lot of people are just like me. Sometimes we become so impulsive because we’re looking for a quick dopamine hit. That shame and guilt that I felt for so many years, it’s comforting to know that I am not the only one who feels like this.
More importantly, my therapist helped me to realize that my bad money mistakes and spending habits did not define me or have to deter my future.
I Needed a Bit More Help – Raya to the Rescue!
If you’ve been around the CGS Community for a while now, you’ll probably know that I have been a Community Manager for CGS for a couple of years now, but as you’ve heard in the CGS Team podcast episode, I worked for Raya and CGS before I ever became of coaching client of hers.
I remember telling my therapist that I had gotten the gig with CGS, and she was like, “Well, why don’t you work with Raya since you’re already working for her?” Haha, and that provoked a whole deeper conversation about my shame and resistance to being put on a “strict” budget lol!
I eventually had to overcome those feelings, and I did get coached by Raya and the way she coached and created a budget that I could follow and not feel restricted was great! So great, that I went through her coaching program twice, and I will probably continue with one-off “tune-ups” just so I can continue to heal my relationship with money while achieving my financial goals.
I cannot scream the praises of therapy enough, as I have learned so much about myself and my money mindset. Thank goodness that I decided to not only invest in myself with therapy but also get help from Raya. Seriously, if you have been on the fence about working with Raya, you won’t regret it! Have you gone to therapy? Did you learn anything about your money habits? Share in the comments below!
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