Updated: Nov 27, 2020
I am part of the problem of not talking about our money. This problem seems so grave that, it has been suggested, people would now prefer to talk about their sex lives than their money. I am part of this problem. Avoiding writing about my money before now. Secrets can be corrosive. So I will be part of a positive change by briefly sharing my experience of my money.
My emotions while writing this blog included disgust, and excitement, at being cheapened by a desire for money. Paradoxically, an opposite excitement and disgust at reducing my desire through disclosing that desire. Guilt, and shame, at having more money than some other people and envy at having less money than some others. As if money could solve my problems. Emotions that suggest the relationship I have with money is important to me and complex.
What are we wanting when we want more money?
I have at times, secretly, seen my money as an entitlement. A difference, a marker or a permission to transgress. A fantasy of superiority. A power to make other people do as I want rather than need. A temptation to enter into a grubby business in other words.
If I obtain more money other people have relatively less. A zero sum game where someone has to loose. It seem obvious that we can not all have the purchasing power of millionaires but how much is enough or too much for each of us? Our relative wealth disconnects us from other people, leaving us poorer in our relationships. If gaining more, and more, money could be problematic. What might the psychological alternatives to us acquiring more money?
Diversifying how we get what we need
In other words, having the same amount of money while having more of other things. Money is a promise for a future action but it is not the only way we can get promises for a future action. I have been given, and given, these through attachment, commitment, a sense of fairness and loyalty. An additional means of managing our, and other peoples', anxiety about a largely uncertain future. In this way I wonder if we could, paradoxically, become richer having less money.
Money is also a form of power but again it is not the only form of power. Emotions, loyalty, identity, fairness, intimacy, love and culture all compete for this ability to influence ourselves and other people.
Identifying what we need rather than what we want
Can we be honest about what we need? I need care, support, attention and affection. To be fed, stroked and cuddled. I also know it is impossible to totally repair the deficits of these things in our past. Could we instead grieve their probable incompleteness in the past, present and future? Accepting we will not always get what we need or want. Instead we could enjoy wishing for wishing's sake. Enjoying the wanting without the having.
Money makes the world go round
In this blog I have briefly admitted to myself, and yourself, part of my complicated relationship with my money. How it fits with what I see as a problem of not talking about our money. In doing so I have experienced, and contained, uncomfortable and pleasurable emotions. Identified alternative strategies to getting our needs met. Including enjoying wanting something without having it. Thank you for reading about my experience and I wonder about yours?
Reference: (2020/9/1) Adam Phillip’s paper to the BCLA on money Retrieved: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K8wGZt-4ASg