In the first three parts of this course, you have reflected quite a bit on your past and your personal development on the topic of money. You’ve already accomplished a lot there! Perhaps it’s been surprisingly difficult for you. But this examination of and confrontation with difficult emotions shows that you’re ready to make a change. It’s never too late to give yourself a rich past! You can rewrite your story and make yourself into the person you want to be. Facing your emotions gives you the key to making a change. You can discard old patterns and establish new ones that allow you to consciously choose the beliefs and feelings you want to have in future financial matters.
Feelings and emotions
The terms “feelings” and “emotions” are often used synonymously or mixed up for each other. There are in fact some differences:
Emotions are deep-seated, instantly triggered sentiments that we have little control over. The following are generally regarded as the six distinct emotions: fear, happiness, anger, disgust, sadness, and surprise. Emotions come from an evolutionarily ancient part of the brain. They are therefore basically an inheritance from evolution. Emotions run on the unconscious level.
Feelings come from another, newer part of the brain. Put simply, they come about when emotions pass through a cognitive filter and undergo individual evaluation. They are on the conscious level and are therefore more easily controlled by our thoughts. This is also evident in the fact that strong feelings can modify themselves over time.
What do you feel?
Try to define your emotions and feelings as precisely as possible. Here’s a list of recommendations that can help you with this:
- You can use the “emotion wheel,” which illustrates in an orderly layout which feelings can stem from which emotions. Here’s one place you can find it: https://magazin.sofatutor.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/3/2016/11/Aufsatzrad-zu-Gefuehlen.jpg (source: sofatutor.com). You can also search for “emotional wheel” or “feelings wheel.”
- If you enjoy writing, you can start a money journal. Write something every day about your latest experiences with money or start with a writing prompt. Here are some examples:
o Finish the following sentence 20 times: “The more money I have, the more…”
o “The way I feel when I’ve saved some money…” – 10 cents, one euro, 50 euros, 100 euros, 1000 euros, 10,000 euros. Write at least one paragraph for each amount.
o “When my money works for me, it makes me…” Write a page about what comes to mind and how it makes you feel.
o “Though the largest amount of money I ever spent was…” Finish the sentence and then write a page about how that made you feel.
o What is today’s significance of your financial past? When you talk about your financial background, what stories do you tell? Write them out. And then rewrite them!
There are a lot of other writing prompts that come up for the search phrase “money writing prompts.”
- Do you enjoy meditating? If you search online for “money meditation,” you’ll find plenty of targeted exercises that can help you understand your emotions and feelings behind money.
- Going back to your childhood once more: What were you explicitly taught about money? What convictions do you have about saving, investing, debt, and earning money? Who taught you how to manage money when you were a kid? And do you handle it the same way with your own kids, or would you if you had them? If not, why not?
Our recommendations are meant to inspire you to find different approaches to the topic of money and to help you work through your feelings about it. Here’s another perspective: Do you have a role model for money and investing? Contemplate who it is that could fill a mentorship role for you.