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Your financial upbringing (part 2): rewiring your subconscious

Last week, we talked about how specific experiences in our childhood have shaped our relationship with money. This week, I want to focus on retraining your subconscious. You want to break away from those inherited beliefs so you can eliminate the roadblocks to your financial success.

I closed my last blog post with a reflection exercise where you wrote down the different experiences and situations you were in during your childhood. What were some of the things you wrote down? Did you quickly spend your allowance or did you tightly hold on to it? Were you the leader of your pack or a shy type that went along with what your friends did?

 Getting in touch with your feelings

Look over the things you wrote. What do you feel when you remember those childhood experiences? And how does that feeling shift when you think about how those experiences affect you today?

Here’s an example. When you would go shopping with your group of friends in high school, you felt pressured to buy something when everyone else in the group had a bag. You didn’t want to feel left out, and you eased your anxiety by doing what the others did. As you grew older, you never kicked that feeling of needing to purchase something – anything – when someone close to you got something new for themselves. You never grew out of that anxiety; it grew right along with you.

So why is this anxiety so hard to kick? Most unhealthy behaviors are the result of two types of internal emotional conflict: having needs that aren’t met or having trouble setting personal boundaries. When you look over the things you wrote down, I’m willing to be that all of them fall within these two categories. And if those experiences still give you feelings of shame, anger or resentment, now is as good of a time as any to reroute those feelings.

So what’s next?

You have to be completely honest about how those moments made you feel then, and how they continue to make you feel now. We’re so accustomed to judging ourselves – we chide ourselves for being weak yet we feel ashamed of the moments when our assertiveness has a negative effect on those around us.

Instead of crawling back into the shell of old, comfortable habits, confront those feelings head on. Whenever you feel those same pangs of anxiety, don’t run to the nearest boutique to soothe your distress. Retrace the steps to the root of those feelings. Remind yourself that you are justified in feeling the way that you do, but it doesn’t have to control you.

This week, focus on confronting your feelings – as many of them as you can muster. Think of ways you can counter those negative feelings of anxiety or frustration associated with money with positive thoughts and actions. Then next week, after you’ve worked on overcoming those setbacks, we can start to talk about creating the life of your dreams.


Sign up for my weekly words of wisdom (in the top right-hand corner of your screen) for encouraging thoughts each Tuesday. And be sure to check out my book, The Emotion Behind Money, for guidance and healing. You can take control of your finances, and I can help you.

Tags: Julie Murphy Casserly, Emotion Behind Money, Chicago financial planner, Chicago personal finance, confronting feelings, confronting emotions, emotional healing, emotions and money, why I spend, spending, conscious spending


One Comment

  • Thanks, Julie, for this follow-up post. I appreciate the process you are describing: to understand and gain mastery over the past events that have shaped our attitudes and behavior will eventually free us up to make healthier choices in the present and future! Glad that readers have such a thoughtful person to guide them through this process.

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