Like many women, there is a menagerie of insecurity demons that dance about my psyche. Generally speaking, I’m old enough now to know how silence them, but there are those few who persist in whispering in my ear.
The loudest of the crew is the one that hisses to me about money. It’s not that I grew up poor, but I didn’t grow up in the lap of luxury, either. As an only child, I knew I was probably afforded more than some of my peers, but I also worked for the spending money I had even when I was in grade school.
I don’t ever recall being someone who would just blow their money on ridiculous expenditures, but what I do remember is only ever having just enough. Or almost enough. Or just barely more than enough. I don’t recall there being a feeling of not worrying whether I would have enough or not. And that feeling has followed me all of my days.
It was there during the lean college years. Sat along side of me when I was a single mother. In the years that my ex-husband worked in real estate, it educated me on the reality of “feast or famine”. And it followed me through my separation and divorce.
But it was during that separation and divorce that I began really examining my mindset about it. I was squirreling away every cent I could find, terrified that there would be an emergency and I would lose everything. It was mentally exhausting. I envied those that didn’t think twice about grabbing whatever they wanted at the grocery store or didn’t have to start planning in June how they were going to pay for their kids’ school fees and pictures in September. Instead of going to a sip and paint class with girlfriends in the evening, I sat at home and cut out words and pictures from magazines for the vision boards that I wasn’t actually making. And that’s when it all started to shift.
I found myself cutting out a lot of words and phrases that had to do with money and security. I kept them neatly organized in an envelope, but that was it. And then I came across a quote while cruising Pinterest one night. “It is OK for me to have everything I want.” I scrolled past it at first. A statement like that was selfish. Greedy. Indulgent.
But was it? I scrolled back and sat looking at the words staring back at me from my tablet. “It is OK for me to have everything I want.” My breaths became deeper, and the hissing in my ear quieted. I kept saying it over and over in my head. “It is OK for me to have everything I want.” And I realized, maybe for the first time, that it was true.
It was OK for me to want to be able to keep my house that I was desperately trying to refinance despite being on the road to recovery from abysmal credit. It was OK for me to want to be able to take my kids out to a nice dinner or a movie once in awhile. It was OK for me to want to earn more money at my job. Or have a savings account balance of that ended in more than one or two zeroes. It was OK for me to want to take a vacation. And it was OK for me to ask the universe for what I wanted.
Within days I had created a vision board from my random magazine clippings. It was small, but it was all I needed. I put it up on the side of my refrigerator where I would see it every day. I said the words on that board to myself over and over. And you know what happened? Three days later I was given a $1/hour raise at work out of the blue. I was “earning” “more money”, and it was allowing me to “save cash”. Other opportunities presented themselves in the coming months that allowed me to “make my money work for me”, too. Eventually, I did “refinance” my home and, now, I “own it.” My words came true. My savings account has more than one or two zeroes today, and I’ve gone on a vacation or two as well.
This isn’t to say that my vision board was some kind of magical spell I cast. But I cast off my insecurity in favor of believing that the it was OK for me to have these things and that change of mindset has led me to some wonderful outcomes.
Believing that we are worthy and deserving of what we want is a gigantic leap for some of us. It’s worth it. I’m by no means “ultra-rich” yet, but today I confidently believe that it is all within my grasp. It’s OK for me to have it if I want it. It might not come right away but it will. And I won’t feel guilty about it when it comes.
I still pass by some of the items on the grocery shelves that still feel like luxuries. Some items no longer feel like luxuries because I don’t have to think twice about whether I should buy them or ferret away that money. Today it was several pairs of my favorite socks. I didn’t need them. I wanted them. And I could afford to spend the money on great socks. I’m using one pair to stuff in the mouth of the hissing financial insecurity demon.