December 8, 2019 by Dymphna

Truth Bomb Tuesday: Too poor to be a saint

There’s a mental blind spot a lot of people have… and the results get weird.

There’s a strange little feat of mental gymnastics that I tend to see a lot.

It’s like I was talking to a student a little while back, trying to get clear on their ‘why’ – what was the motivation that was going to drive them through the study and hard work that was ahead of them.

“Oh, I want to have more money, because if I had lots of money I could pay off my parent’s mortgage, and I would help my friends launch their businesses, and I could start a refuge for abandoned horses, and conserve a tract of old growth rain forest…” and on and on it went.

“Yeah, that’s great,” I say, “but you’re not earning enough to cover even your basic expenses right now. You’re living off credit card debt. The one investment property you bought is bleeding money, and you’re a small medical emergency from outright bankruptcy.”

“Oh sure, but I’m not doing it for me. I want to help others.”

Frankly, darling, you’re kidding yourself.

You could call this the money messiah complex. You want to be rich so you can throw all you money around and help people. You want to be a financial saviour.

But mostly this just comes from an inability to own your own needs and desires.

For whatever reason, you don’t believe that you deserve to be wealthy – or even financially comfortable. But you know you need money because, you know, you’re eating dog-food and can’t pay for petrol – so you justify your need for money by creating an elaborate patronage of causes you are going to support.

“I’m not doing this for me. I’m doing it for others.”

But let me tell you something for nothing – something that could potentially save you from wasting a whole lot of time.

If you don’t believe that you deserve to be financially comfortable (let alone financially well-off), then you never will be – no matter how much you tell yourself that you are doing it for others.

Your net worth reflects your self-worth, one for one.

People without this self worth will, remarkably often, invent bypasses by trying to attach themselves to causes that they do believe are worthy enough – the parents who gave up so much for you, you’re amazing friends, abandoned horses etc.

These things become proxies for your own self-worth. You’re trying to inject external substitutes of self-worth into the money equation. You’re hoping you can get away with it.

But you can’t. It just doesn’t work like that.

Now I’m not saying it’s not awesome to be generous with your money. It is. Hands down, it’s one of the best things about having an abundance of wealth.

But these can only come after you’ve sorted out your basic needs first. And that can only happen when you’ve developed a robust sense of self-worth – a sense of self-worth that is compatible with having all that you need.

There’s work to do here. There’s just no way around it.