"Not since the Great Depression..." have economic times been so tough. We hear this statement a lot these days. Like the sand inside the oyster shell that becomes a beautiful pearl, financial crisis canprovoke the desire to become financially healthy. But change requires awareness and doing things differently. Change is not comfortable for us human beings. We like comfort and security which is one of the reasons we give money so much importance - it's the agreed upon method for getting our basic survival needs met - food and a place to live - which allow us to get more of our emotional (attention, comfort, love) needs met.
But what is the big money lie? According to Brad and Ted Klontz, authors of Mind Over Money, the big lie is that your financial problems are your fault because you're stupid, lazy, crazy or greedy. In my opinion, I'm still responsible for my mistakes with money. But what they're saying is that the challenges with money come not from our conscious, rational mind, that wants to do the right thing (most of us), but from our unconscious mind where our unfinished money history and beliefs sit minding their own business until that delightful sale for shoes reminds us of the good times we spent with mom shopping. Or, the fear that was instilled in little Sarah's hearing her parents tumultuous fights about the bills, keeps her putting off paying her own.
When we're children we're trying to make sense out of the world around us. We take in the financial behaviors, words and emotions of our parents or chief caretakers and make up stories to best understand. Of course, because we're little and our brain is still forming so it's not always accurate information. Eventually we grow up and go off into our own financial life with the baggage - good or bad - dragging along behind us. We don't know this baggage is there until our financial buttons gets pushed - like with Sarah above. She may not understand why she can't pay her bills. She berates herself for being so "stupid," she knows better. But she doesn't know how to change this behavior.
To heal the big lie the first step is being willing to get honest about the fact that your money life is crying out for healing. The next step is to educate yourself, but not just in a "nuts and bolts" way such as budgets, debt reduction. Really important and great stuff. But, to make sure that work lasts, an exploration of your money past is essential. For example, "What's your earliest money memory?" What money memories come up when you think of your parents and how do those affect your financial life today?