The ‘Space Between’ and Why It’s Important

Being in limbo is a difficult place to be. We tend to like direction, feel better when we sense movement. If the circumstances of our lives create for us a time of limbo, perhaps one of the ways we can cope is to begin to see this time as the ‘space between.’

The ending of a relationship, the loss of a job. The process of grief and our year of firsts. The summer before we enter college, the unknowns associated with just about anything. Being in a pandemic.

We often struggle with limbo; leaning into unhealthy coping strategies as a way to deal with the uncertainty. But maybe this is the time when we are actually meant to slow down the most; to push past the fears of uncertainty and lean into a time of reflection, of tolerating the discomfort, of having faith that things will work out. As they usually do.

The space between, when we can accept it, is often the greatest time for growth. It is a time to build our sense of agency. And when homeostasis is finally achieved, and certainty comes our way again, we can further understand just how grounded we have become by allowing the space between to work its magic.

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Emotional Bank Accounts and Their Importance

Stephen Covey, in his best selling book entitled “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People,” spoke about emotional bank accounts. Covey’s concept of an emotional bank account refers to the effectiveness of our relationships with others. Very much like a financial bank account, we can either make deposits or withdrawals – deposits will create greater bonds with others, withdrawals lead to damage and depletion of the relationship. His theory includes 6 major deposits:

  • Understanding the individual. This is about listening; getting to know the other person with the intention of understanding. Avoiding preconceived notions and judgements will help in keeping an open mind to someone else’s experiences.
  • Attend to the little things. When we do something for others that we know matters to them, we automatically show our appreciation.
  • Keeping commitments. Not the intention to keep commitments, but rather a conscious decision to come through for people. It is value based and creates trust.
  • Clarifying expectations. This one is about making sure that our communication is open and we are not “expecting” that others know what we need from them. When we clarify, we take out the guess work.
  • Showing personal integrity. Do our words and actions match? If yes, we are using integrity in our relationships to build emotional bank accounts.
  • Apologizing genuinely. If you have made a withdrawal, recognize it and apologize with a genuine intention. This helps to build repair and will help temper the withdrawal.

Having a full and healthy emotional bank account helps us when going through challenging or tough times. By our actions, we can help others feel supported and cared for. Seems like a win-win to me 🙂

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The Importance of Movement

Staying home during the pandemic can potentially lead to increased sedentary time. Despite our natural inclination to cuddle up on the couch with Netflix, it is also important to keep the importance of movement in mind:

  • Movement is ‘meditation in motion.’ I don’t remember where I heard that phrase, but it is so true. My daily walks with Cricket are my thinking time; I do my best processing out on the trail.
  • Exercise increases improved focusing. Images of the brain before and after exercise indicate a greater ability to process information and a heightened attention to detail.
  • Movement helps with circulation. Little walking breaks, do a few stretches, take a few deep breaths outside.
  • Exercise helps to boost our mood. Natural endorphins, decreased cortisol = happier state overall.
  • Any type of movement helps. Exercise in any form will get our bodies moving; gardening, cleaning, dancing.
  • Movement helps increase our self esteem and confidence. When we purposefully make our physical and mental health a priority by making time for some form of exercise, our sense of accomplishment helps to build our self-identity.

Keeping movement in mind for our daily and weekly goals is a fairly simple way to keep ourselves on track when it comes to our emotional health. Perhaps it is time for some meditation in motion.

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Money and Emotions; Post 5

In our wrap up post about money and emotions, today we explore the money script (Klontz & Klontz) of Money Vigilance. Those who ascribe to this script put a lot of emphasis on saving money and tend to have their financial affairs in order. The money vigilant are less likely to buy on credit and are discrete about their financial status with others.

“The Money Vigilant are alert, watchful, and concerned about their financial health. While Money Vigilance encourages saving and frugality, it can also lead to excessive wariness or anxiety that can prevent one from enjoying the benefits and sense of security that money can provide.”

Although the money vigilant tend not to sabotage their own financial status, sometimes their fears and subsequent miserly habits can affect the relationship they have with their loved ones.  It can also prevent them from enjoying the fruits of their labour.  Klontz suggests that they create a “fun-money budget” that will allow them to recognize that creating space in your life to enjoy a well earned vacation or a ‘toy,’ can emphasize feeling joyful. Checking in with a trusted advisor on a regular basis will also help with tempering the fears associated with money vigilance.

After reading about money scripts, I can definitely see that my Dad ascribed to money vigilance. I also see some of the same tendencies in myself; especially when it comes to my feelings around debt (that will keep me up at night!) Thankfully, I also learned that when we can afford some luxuries – that includes travel for me – then we should spend without guilt or fear as it is much deserved.

This concludes our series about money and emotions. Information for this post was found at “Your Mental Wealth” and if you wish to discover your own money script, at the bottom of the article, you will find a link: https://www.yourmentalwealthadvisors.com/money-scripts

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Money and Emotions; Post 4

So far in our series about money scripts (Klontz & Klontz), we have explored Money Avoidance and Money Worship; today we look at Money Status. 

We have all heard of the expression “keeping up with the Jones’s” – this is where  Money Status comes to light, as people who ascribe to this money script often associate their self-worth to their net worth. Pulled to show off their wealth to others and wanting to impress, can sometimes lead these individuals into going into debt to keep up appearances.

“Money status seekers may prioritize outward displays of wealth, and as a result can be at risk of overspending. They may believe that if they live a virtuous life, the universe will take care of their financial needs. Those that score higher in the area of Money Status are more likely to overspend, gamble excessively, be financially dependent on others, and hide expenditures from their spouses.”

It is important to note that although some money status seekers are quite financially successful, it can also come at a cost of workaholism as they are driven to secure their social status and will make that a priority over family time.

When we recognize that we may have fallen into the Money Status seeker category, we can begin to challenge some of those core beliefs by recognizing that although our net worth can contribute to our self-identity, it doesn’t have to take up too much space. Focusing on your financial situation with a spouse or financial advisor on a regular basis can keep you on track, as well as slowing down your decision to purchase something by exploring just what is driving that decision.

Tomorrow we will explore the last money script, Money Vigilance.

Information for this post came from Klontz’s website, Your Mental Wealthhttps://www.yourmentalwealthadvisors.com/money-scripts

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Money and Emotions; Post 3

Moving right along in our exploration of money scripts (Klontz & Klontz), today we take a look at Money Worship.

Money Worship is the belief that having more money will be the answer to your troubles and will make you happy. People who ascribe to this script also believe that you can never have enough money and tend to never quite be satisfied with the amount that they have.

“Money Worshipers are prone to buying things in an attempt to achieve happiness. They are also more likely to put work ahead of family and give or loan money to others even though they can’t afford to do so.”

In a study conducted by Klontz et al, it was discovered that despite the societal belief that more money equals happiness, there is no significant correlation between money and happiness once household incomes are above $75 000 per year and that increases in income have been found to also increase distrust and depression.

We are much better served to see that money really doesn’t buy happiness. In order to temper this money script, Klontz suggests that we can avoid buyer’s remorse by putting some thought into the purchase versus simply following the impulse to shop; this brings in the rational process needed to help with the emotional drive to spend money.

Because money worshipers can have the tendency to work a lot, a slow down and spending time with family and loved ones will help to remind ourselves that we need to attach our money to values or it loses its lustre. Klontz also notes that another way to temper money worship is to give with intention. When we are able to give budgeted money to charitable organizations that we take an interest in, we can reinforce the value of money without chasing it.

Tomorrow’s post will look at Money Status.

Information for this post was found in the following article found at Your Mental Wealth (love the clever name!): https://www.yourmentalwealthadvisors.com/money-scripts

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Money and Emotions; Post 2

Yesterday we began a series on money and emotions; introducing the notion of money scripts (Klontz & Klontz). Typically developed in childhood, money scripts are unconscious beliefs about money that tend to be generational, cultural and contain only partial truths. Today we will explore the money belief pattern known as Money Avoidance.

Money Avoidance is based on a negative belief about money.  Money avoiders tend to pay less attention to their financial situation, will often experience the feelings of anxiety and shame tied to money, and tend to not have a good sense of control over their finances. In a study by Klontz et al, money avoiders were found to have lower or unknown levels of  income, and may self-sabotage so as to have as little in their control as possible.

“Essentially, money avoiders have negative associations to money; they may try to not think about money, ignore financial statements, overspend, enable others financially, and have difficulty managing a budget.”

An interesting note: it was discovered in the study that younger people are often money avoiders, but that this can change with time as they begin to understand and gain control over their financial situation.

The first step in moving out of a being a money avoider is to simply recognize that you may ascribe to such beliefs and avoidance behaviours. Exploring where the money script developed may also be beneficial in gaining a greater understanding of how it affects you.

Understanding that money is a tool that can be used for success is also important; as is being curious as to how money can be good. Getting financial advice, creating a budget and setting aside time in your calendar to pay bills will also help in keeping you on track.

Information for this post was found at Your Mental Wealth (Klontz’s website): https://www.yourmentalwealthadvisors.com/money-scripts

Tomorrow we will explore the money script known as Money Worship.

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Money and Emotions; Post 1

My father taught us a lot about money. He was a saver and saw the value of living debt free. In fact, I have a very vivid memory of my parents ceremoniously burning their mortgage papers in the fireplace once they had successfully paid off their mortgage. For a good chunk of my childhood, our mom stayed home, making our dad the sole breadwinner and therefore the decision maker of money.

It was only when I was older did I realize that much of my father’s decisions surrounding money were actually driven by fear. He had grown up very poor, with an alcoholic father. It would seem that he learned very early on that having money in the bank was imperative to safety. I suppose that served him well in many ways, and yet we all knew that the decisions he made were the final word, not much wiggle room when it came to other variables that might play a factor in the overall decision where money was concerned.

We have many assumptions about money and we see examples everyday of how money influences how people treat us. And although it should be fairly simple math when it comes to managing money, it often isn’t. And that is because money is also about emotions.

In this upcoming series about money and emotions, we will begin to look at the money scripts that often come to us from childhood. Developed by Dr. Bradley Klontz and Dr. Ted Klontz, the concept of a money script is a generational passing down of beliefs about money; typically unconscious that develops in childhood. There are four money scripts that we will explore as a way to better understand our relationship with money.

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Lessons Learned in Nature

Every day I try and get out for my walk; grateful that my time outside includes the forest and the river. There is something about being in nature that calms the spirit. Here are some lessons I have learned from nature:

  1. There is beauty in simplicity. Nothing is more calming than still waters, the sun coming over the horizon, the opening of a spring bud.
  2. There are some things that are out of our control. The sun may look warm, but the wind forces me to wear my hat and mitts. I may fight it, and leave them at home, but I am the one who suffers as the wind will have the last word. I am better to accept what I cannot change.
  3. Even the smallest of things matter. Ever watch a line of ants? Furiously working, doing what seems like something insignificant to the bigger, universal picture? And yet how are we to ever know what impact their contribution to the universe truly is? We all matter. We all have the ability to contribute.
  4. Growth is part of a process. We live in a climate as to be able to truly appreciate the cycle that trees go through. By shedding their dead leaves, they set the stage for growth (and I dare say they do it beautifully, with the magnificent colours of fall). Our challenging times set up our time of growth. 
  5. Flexibility is essential. A groundhog can set up a perfectly good lodging under your shed only to discover that the big, black dog that lives nearby might be a deterrent for a pain free life. When we are flexible in our thinking, we promote understanding and acceptance; two essential traits for growth. 
  6. To just be. Everything in nature has a purpose and yet at the same time is free to exist in that purpose. Nature lets us know that it is okay to be true to ourselves.

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Two Things that Get in the Way of Clarity

Sometimes we get the feeling that we just aren’t thinking clearly. We may know that we need to change something, we may instinctively know what is good for us, but we seem to lack the full clarity necessary to understand what is holding us back. Two things that will get in the way of clarity:

  1. Self-limiting beliefs. Nothing will hold you back faster than the poor me cycle. Believing that you can never get ahead, wondering why you can never catch a break, lamenting as to your bad luck – that type of thinking pattern tends to be a result of self-limiting beliefs. What we expel in energy comes back to us. The same can be said for wanting to change an unhealthy habit. Remember the little engine that could? When we begin to have faith in ourselves and our ability to change, we face our circumstances in a more objective way, creating clearer thinking as a result.
  2. Holding on to the past. When we hold on to the past, we tend to also stay in a state of blame; resentment or bitterness – a perfect roadblock to effective change. We can’t really move forward when we are stuck in the past; it begins to infiltrate our decisions, and fears of uncertainty get heightened. Sometimes the way we hold on to our past is to ascribe to the belief of “Well, I have always done it that way.” We are much better served to challenge those types of thoughts; perhaps what worked for us in childhood is not working for us as adults. Perhaps we need to heal from the past (which is a conscious decision) as to gain the clarity required for growth.

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