When your thoughts, feelings, and actions related to money are aligned, you experience greater ease and flow.
The fourth principle of Positive Money reminds us that our beliefs, behaviors, and emotions drive our relationship with money and vice versa. When these three factors are out of alignment, you experience emotions such as guilt or fear or notice behaviors that are not serving you. A simple example is when you make a purchase you don’t want to tell others about. Whether this is an exception or a rule, something about the situation feels negative. On the contrary, when the three factors align, you experience greater ease and flow that feels positive or natural. The goal is to learn what both look and feel like for you and to develop the skills and sensitivities to come back to center.
Clients often tell me that this principle is one of the most powerful, and I agree. I use the terms ‘Head,’ ‘Heart,’ and ‘Habit’ as an easy way to remember the three factors. I like to think of them as forming a vertical axis through my body that represents my true self, much like the geographic or magnetic meridians represent the connection between true north and south. If something feels in violation of this true self or out of alignment with what feels right and positive, it’s worth looking at.
The impact of being out of sync with how you think, feel, and act in your relationship with money can show up in a variety of ways. An obvious and extreme example is gambling. If you gamble habitually, you might convince yourself it’s all good when, in reality, you have an addiction. Less extreme examples are when you feel pressured to pay for something that doesn’t sit right, or you feel guilty about having money, so you give it away even if it means financial hardship.
When you apply the fourth principle, you notice when a financial decision or transaction throws you off or doesn’t feel right. For example, do you buy things and then hide them from others or judge certain people for their financial choices? Have you ever felt taken advantage of financially or had an experience where what you purchased didn’t meet expectations? This happened to me on a trip recently when I needed to grab dinner at the hotel where we were staying. There were few options, and the prices were higher than I was used to paying, but I ordered anyway. The meal was delivered in a big plastic container, not very tasty, and comprised of items that would cost less than ten dollars if purchased at the grocery store. On top of feeling unsatisfied and overcharged for a subpar meal, I felt bad about the environmental waste. The cost was far greater than the gain and a sure sign that this was not a Positive Money moment for me.
If you’re judging my response, you’re likely tapping into your own set of criteria for making financial decisions, which is exactly what I hope you do. There’s no right or wrong here. Rather, it’s about noticing where you judge or feel judged and why. In the case of my meal experience, it ran counter to my values of caring about the environment and eating well, so I judged the restaurant for not meeting my needs and myself for not being more careful in my ordering. Had I wanted to turn the experience into a Positive Money moment, I could have shared my experience with the hotel staff in a constructive manner and made a note to clarify expectations next time.
Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony. - Gandhi