I come from a family with scarce resources, and limitations were built in my belief system very early: There is not enough, and it’s not o.k. if you want more than we have.
There was also a belief that the rich were “other” people, while we belonged to the poor. There was also another, very important belief: I learned that it was possible to change my situation. If we as kids worked hard, we could climb up the ladder.
These beliefs were not invented by my parents: they were very usual in Western Europe in the 50’s and 60’s. WWII had left enormous damage, the Netherlands had to be rebuilt and this was perceived as a common effort. Scarcity was a matter of fact, but there was also the trust that progress was possible.
There were contradictory beliefs about education: Some parents thought it was important that children earned money as soon as they were able to. Others believed in the value of higher education. My parents belonged to the latter group.
From an early age, I learned that money should be spent on things that are necessary or useful. Spending money just for fun, taking risks or even gambling, was a no-go.
My family didn’t invest in the stock market, only in bonds, and even now, I don’t understand much about investing money. However, it was very clear that every family should own a house, and a mortgage should be paid off. I remember being surprised when a friend of mine told me that someone came to his house to pick up the rent: I didn’t know what that was.
When Luzia and I bought real estate, we managed to amortize a great part in a short time. We also took care to save for a good pension, in the same way my parents had done, and we didn’t make big trips or buy a new car until it was clear that we’d be financially safe later in life.
Only after the recipes of my family of origin had allowed me to create a certain financial stability did I learn that money is my servant and not my boss. After a long period of scarcity, first on the level of daily experience, later only in my head, I discovered that money was just energy. I vividly remember the Logosynthesis session in which I discovered this.
A client had a conflict about money with some family members, and I used a mapping technique, in which the client places markers for the people involved in different places in the room.
Then the client is invited to take the place of other people and objects to explore what they become aware of while standing on those spots.
Because in this session money was such an important issue, I decided to create a marker for that, too.
To my surprise, when the client stood on the money marker, nothing happened. Taking the role of the money, the client felt somewhat dull, completely neutral, indifferent to all the meanings it got from the people around it. The money had no value or meaning by itself.
At this moment I discovered that it’s up to me to decide what money means to me, and I started to leave behind what I had learned about it in my childhood.
From the moment I knew that money was just energy. I could decide what form that energy could take: buy objects, attend training, travel or give it away. I could choose between a long-distance trip, a car, new furniture, helping people after a disaster or leaving it in my savings account for later use.
Before that moment, it was “allowed” for me to spend money on computer equipment and professional training. It took many years before my wife and I decided to go to Mexico, New Zealand or Cambodia, just for the joy of traveling.
At 60, I bought my first new car, in the right color, with all the gimmicks and gadgets I liked, without any further justification.
I finally learned that abundance is there wherever you look, and that money for fun is sometimes well-invested.
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