Emotional Currency

Your relationship to money

Fantasy: I could be worry free if only I had more money

Money does solve some, but not all, problems.

In spite of our knowing that hardship is inevitable, it's seductive to think that we can somehow avoid difficulties in our lives. We all fantasize about a trouble free life. Many of us believe that if we were just rich enough, our worries would disappear. It's a belief encouraged by our culture which holds money to be the ultimate protector.

Money does solve some problems. It's very good for putting a roof over our heads, fixing our cars, buying food, and having access to medical care, for example. All we need to do is think of a homeless person to know that money protects us in a big way. But there are lots of dilemmas we face that money can't touch. It doesn't help us when we are in conflict with loved ones, depressed, taking emotional risks, struggling with addictions, or grieving. And "throwing" money at these kinds of dilemmas often makes matters worse.

Whether we have a lot of money or not very much, we are all incredibly vulnerable. And because it's uncomfortable to experience just how vulnerable we are, I believe that we hold on to the idea that money can protect us from the uncertainties and pain of life. Part of understanding our relationship with money involves clarifying what it can and can't do, its assets and its deficits in our lives. This is especially important at a time when many of us are worried about our financial future.

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Do you ever imagine that if you just had 10,000/100,000/1,000,000/10,000,000 more dollars that your troubles would be resolved? In what ways does money solve problems in your life? In what ways does it not? What problems have you experienced from either having or not having money?


Kate Levinson, Ph.D., is a Marriage and Family Therapist in private practice in Oakland, California. She is the author of Emotional Currency: A Woman's Guide to Building a Healt more...

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