By Jenai Lieu
Growing up feeling plagued by financial woes, I learned to feel like I never had enough or never knew enough about money. On the exterior, I am in a fairly well-off position. I’m working a decent-paying job, contributing to a retirement fund, and renting out a property. And yet, I go about my daily life with dread that one day, something will happen that will cause my delicate balance of working and paying the bills to collapse like a fragile house of cards. Never did I think that one day I could get support from someone like Karen, from Mindful Money Coaching, who not only had the knowledge and skill to help me unravel these core beliefs, but the understanding and empathy to walk me through my fears.
For as long as I could remember, I have struggled with budgeting and financial planning. I have taken courses, talked to financial planners, and used countless budgeting apps. But I always found myself in the same position – never feeling like I had enough money and dreading the day that I could lose everything due to unforeseen circumstances. And yet, I couldn’t help but feel that my insecurities were all due to my own actions. Budgeting wasn’t so hard, so why couldn’t I maintain one? And so, after countless failed budgets and lack of savings, a core belief of helplessness around money was settling in.
It wasn’t until I talked to Karen did I realize that I was not acknowledging a fundamental issue regarding money. An initial exploration needed to happen before getting the financial education and before using budgeting apps. And that was asking myself, ‘What is my relationship with money?’ And so, my journey of money coaching with Karen began.
Money coaching ended up being more than what I had imagined. Karen helped me realize that my financial struggles stemmed from a number of factors that influenced my beliefs and actions around my finances. Challenges around money weighed heavy on me and traveled deep to my emotional core wounds. She pointed out how this shows up in my life. I couldn’t recall the last time I discussed my salary or amount of debt with a friend or a family member. And I felt deep shame around my feelings of insecurity and incompetency around money. It’s a wonder how I could ever find space to explore my financial issues and make any positive changes around money!
Something notable that Karen highlighted was the importance of taking responsibility for our finances even if we didn’t cause those issues to begin with. All of these insecurities lay hidden in my life, stemming from childhood circumstances, yet they still shaped my thoughts and behaviors in the present day. I struggled with this for years, not acknowledging the pain I experienced around money, and subsequently avoided dealing with it. It was all so overwhelming, and my need to predict and control everything in my life just couldn’t deal with the uncertainty around my finances.
But life is full of curveballs that we can’t prepare for. I slowly learned that financial difficulties can happen to anyone, and I learned that it doesn’t represent my character. Karen validated my struggles, and was patient working with me as I stumbled and worked my way through addressing them. She held space for me when the struggles were overwhelming, and she was my cheerleader when big strides were made in managing my fears around money.
Getting support to tackle these money challenges head on was one of the best things I have ever done for myself. Working with Karen has helped shed light on my ability to help myself and has given me the confidence to finally address these long-standing core hurts. Today, I continue to improve my money habits, but for the first time, I don’t feel alone in this. I know I have the support and expertise of someone who understands and is looking out for my needs.