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Money talks?

(From the "Global Living" newsletter -- a monthly e-zine full of great tips and information for expatriates, global nomads, and internationally-minded.  Please sign up at www.GlobalCoachCenter.com).

Have you ever noticed that when you move or travel somewhere where the currency is different from what you are used to it suddenly becomes a lot easier to spend money? Some even joke that it’s like dealing with “paper money”, the kind of money that’s not worth much. But if you stop and think about it, money is “paper” (or “metal”) wherever you go, even in your own country. In other words, it’s a tool made out of paper or metal. A tool to help us enjoy life.

Yet that’s not what we think of money most of the time. More often than not – and particularly if we operate in our own currency -- we feel guilty about spending, anxious about having or not having money; and intimidated by talking about it. We give money a lot of power over us and our emotions. Did you know that in the Victorian era people spoke freely about money while they could not talk openly about sex? Yet in this day and age – the time when the society is more open-minded -- we avoid talking about money. Talking about it makes us uncomfortable. Why?

The answer to that question is very individual and it’ll depend on where and how you grew up. But, in general, most of us have surrounded money with a lot of emotional baggage. Instead of making money a tool that it’s meant to be, we’ve given it powers of intimidation over us. So much of it, in fact, that we are afraid to talk about money and afraid to explore our relationship with it. Yet until we explore -- until we know the context that we ourselves have created around money -- we’ll continue to be powerless and intimidated when it comes to money.

The context we create around money changes from culture to culture. That’s why we find our relationship with money ease when we travel, when we leave the realm where that context was created. Yet the tension about money comes back when we return and this tension often becomes the source of misunderstandings and fights.

How can you ease the tension? Look beyond the money. How? Ask yourself and those important in your life the following questions:

What does money give you?
What are you missing because of lack of money (or abundance of money)?
What’s important about money to you?

Look at the dreams behind the money. Look at values that are not being honored because of money. Arguments often go away when people share their dreams and values.

In order to bring back the true essence of money – a tool to settle transactions – you have to think of it in a positive light. For instance, instead of being bitter about how much your heating bill is, consider what it’s giving you. A warm house -- a home to enjoy for you and your family. What value are you supporting by paying this bill, by having heat? Make the money part of your team, not your foe. And then -- enjoy the friendship!

Some additional questions that can help clarify things:

What are you honoring in your attitudes towards money?
What are you rebelling against in your attitudes towards money?
Where do you cave in or override your values for the sake of money?
What emotions does money bring up in you?

Good luck!

About the Author:

Margarita Gokun Silver is a Life/Professional coach who helps individuals and organizations to succeed in this increasingly diverse world and to overcome the challenges of working and living in other countries/cultures.   If you mention LowCostLifeCoaching.com when you contact her, you will receive the special discounted rate of $50 a month for coaching services.  To contact Margarita, please go to www.GlobalCoachCenter.com.

Copyright Margarita Gokun Silver 2006