Thought #7 (30 Thoughts Before 30)
Money doesn’t say anything about my character, my value or who I am.
Look, those who know me will tell you that I’m a sucker for fancy and pretty things, and Pinterest is my downfall ?. But also, our family doesn’t have a lot of money.
Ok, honestly speaking, we have enough for our needs and the lifestyle we chose. One of things we had our hearts set on from the beginning of our marriage was that I’d be primarily at home, so as to be able to be the primary caregiver to our kids in the first few years, and obviously that decision has implied that we mostly live on one salary.
But we did count that cost beforehand, and we choose that decision everyday, and we truly are happy. I know the implications of my lifestyle choices, and I’m content and very happy with my life 🙂
However, I realised that sometimes through my thoughts, I have the tendency to attach my worth and identity to the amount of money I have……it’s very much a subconscious thing. For example, I’ve found myself feeling ashamed/belittled/(can’t pin down the exact feeling) when I can’t afford something……as in, not wanting to say that I can’t afford something…because in my mind, there’s something wrong with that….like “What will people think of me?”, or maybe it’s a pride thing, I dunno…..let me give you an example….
So, I’m away on holiday right now (by myself for the first time ever, yay!!…hubby and kids at home)……so I have a budget of what I have to spend on food, activities, accommodation, travel, etc. So, last night at the hotel, I checked out the dinner options and chose one that will suit my budget…..and made my order. But then the waiter kept on offering me a hundred and one things before and after my meal…..and I was like “No, I’m fine, thanks”.
Truth is, I was fine and didn’t want all those things anyway (except if they were free..then that would’ve been a different story, haha!)……but anyway even if I did want those things, I would’ve been able to buy them, but only if I shuffled funds from other budget items.
That’s besides the point…..after the waiter went away (he’d even offered me a complimentary drink ?), I started having this unpleasant feeling (can’t pin down exact emotion)……I didn’t want him to have a “wrong perception” of me….to think I don’t have money……and then I thought “Wait, a minute, why does it matter to me whether he thinks I have money or not?”. I realised that subconsciously, I felt somewhat “ashamed” because somewhere deep deep inside I felt that not having money somehow makes me lesser (of whatever) in some way.
I think maybe it comes from not having money growing up……where having money was an aspiration……and an aspiration by nature is “a better state that we wish to arrive at”, which most times means that we are unhappy or find something wrong with where we are, or we don’t think that where we are or who we are is good…..do you get me?
So….long story short….I realised that my thinking was so messed up…..and asked God to help me get it right. There’s nothing wrong with not having a certain amount of money……and having lots of money doesn’t make you awesome, although you can do lots of awesome things lol!
We tend to glorify or idolise everything around money….people with money…..houses or cars that cost a lot of money…..things and places that require a lot of money…..we feel good when we do things that cost a lot of money….like we’ve made it…..and first thing we want to do is Instagram them…..because we feel so good about ourselves, and the people must see how good we have it.
Money is very important, yes….trust me, I’m very aware of the importance of money. However, money is just a tool to get the things that we need, and we should be careful not to let it define who we are, who we associate with, what we are known for, how we feel about people, the things we do, how we view life, how we treat people, etc.
And I’ll be honest and admit that I tend not to treat poor people with the same respect, dignity and love that I would treat a rich person with, but it’s an area I’ve asked God to help me in…to love without condition, and not to let money define anything for me.