This has been such an Aha! moment for me......if you considered your relationship to money and the relative success or failure thereof based on the first impression you created for yourself around money......
My first vivid money memory originates from an instance when I was perhaps four or five years old.
I was sitting on a wooden pew in the Catholic Church inbetween my mother and my next older sister. The other older sister was somewhere else in the row, I don't remember if she was on the outside of my mother or where exactly, but the wooden, felt-lined collection plate was inexorably making its hand-to-hand way down the row towards us and my mother had her purse out and open. My next older sister D asked for pocket money. She was given a shiny silver ten cent coin. Though four years younger I was not going to automatically get the hindmost teat without a yelp so I asked for pocket money too.
I was duly given two copper coins – a two cent piece and a one cent piece.
With it came the whispered admonition to put some in the collection plate, and not to spend it all but to save it.
I remember whisperingly asking how come D got ten cents and was told it was because she was older.
As the plate went past I begrudgingly dropped the one cent piece into it and scouldn't help simultaneously noticing that D didn't drop her ten cent piece into the collection plate as it flipped its way past her.
I began to feel the injustice burning me up and my indignant whispered protestations to my mother about D not paying anything of her obviously bigger resource into the plate whilst I had to give away some of mine only triggered the well-known and dreaded pointed, fiery glare through horn-rimmed spectacles above which pencil-thin eyebrows knotted slightly - the recognised warning signal that further misbehaviour on my part would soon be met with the flat smack on my inner thigh, the smack that echoed through the silent church and stung like a bitch wasp had vented its rage on the same smarting spot.
I steamed, I burned; silently I raged at the horrible mistake of being born the youngest in this family, of being born to my harridan mother, of being born at all.
When we stopped at the store on the way home afterwards, I consoled myself with all the sugary sweetness that two cents could buy in 1968, and it was a lot.
Wilsons Cola flavoured toffees were three for a halfcent, Chappies bubble gum were about five for a halfcent, gobstoppers were much the same, and Pikkies – exquisite tubes of sweetened condensed milk, were a half cent each.
I tanked up on as much of everything as I could, and I remember the sense of disappointment at not being able to buy a Pikkie as well as everything else, but resolving that next week, with the next two cents, I would treat myself. I remember how gently the shopkeeper explained that I had enough for some of this and some of that but not enough for everything I wanted, but that what I wanted would still be available next time I came in with more money.
I took up my place in the back of the red VW Beetle that was my mothers car from 1958 until about 1980, crammed inbetween sisters various, my little paper bag of delight on my lap and gobstopper black-tinted drool no doubt dribbling from my crammed maw onto the front of my shirt.
I know that D must have asked for something from my stash of pleasure, and I know that my response would have been an unequivocal no. I know this because I do remember the pleasure she seemed to draw from telling my mother that I had spent all my money on sweets and had not saved anything as instructed.
My mother was driving and obviously unable to do too much at that time, but I do remember clearly the diatribe that streamed from her over her shoulder and into my burning ears, into my burning soul, and I remember that there was no pocket money for me the next week, or for some weeks after that.
Money was irregular, out of my control, and not to be relied upon.
I get now that my mother wasn't keen on me feeding all that sugary crap into myself, and I get that money was probably tight enough that every cent counted. I get that being staunchly Catholic my mother was of the belief that poverty was somehow noble and holy, and I get that she holds that belief to this day. At 86, blind, alone and living on the most meagre of means, she still claims that she has no desire to have a lot of money, and that people who do have a lot of money are desperately unhappy and sad if not downright evil, and I get how that is how she justifies her current situation to herself and always has.
There is no doubt that money was a source of much shame and frustration and apparent injustice on my first encounter with it, and that it has taken a lot of work and reframing of beliefs and accepting that how I have related to money all my adult life has been much like with any other relationship that was built on a negative and antagonistic first impresssion.
I have had to acknowledge that there are two permanent relationships that are an unavoidable part of our entire lives – our relationship with ourselves and our relationship with money.
In fact our relationship with money can continue beyond our own lives through inheritances and bequests.
All other relationships can and will rise up and fall away in some way or other throughout our lives.
Even that with our own mothers.
As a family money was never discussed or mentioned – it was taboo. We knew there was never really enough, that it didn't grow on trees and that it was always hard to come by. We didn't think to ask for much because we knew there never was much, and as a result we never expected or desired much.
Lots and lots of hard work equalled money.
All of those limiting beliefs are bullshit and just that - limiting beliefs.
Hard work equals hard work.
Money equals money.
Money ends up where consistent focussed positive attention and energy draws it to.
It is actually plentiful and in a way, quite free.
Amazing....such a lot of crap we have lived with for so long.