Money is ubiquitous, and it’s also something we rarely talk about. Yet who hasn’t struggled with money in some way? Whether it is not having enough, having enough and then not, or struggling and then having more than enough, money plays an important role in our lives. But it also effects our emotional well being.
While there are plenty of financial workshops that can teach us how to manage our money, if we want to feel calmer and more rational about this difficult issue we have to look at the emotions it stirs in us.
To begin this dialogue, psychotherapist Maia Taub, LMFT created a workshop called “Money Talks,” where she helps people explore their feelings, thoughts and histories with money.
One of the things that Maia has group members do in her workshop is to create an abundance jar. Each time she introduces this experiential exercise, people are surprised. They wonder how an plain jar can help with their financial concerns.
Abundance means “a great or plentiful amount, fullness or benevolence, a copious supply, fullness to overflowing, affluence, wealth.” Maia shares that creating this jar is a simple and effective way to bring more abundance into your life.
The experience of creating one is unique to you, but the general idea is to find a glass jar that you can see through. Once you have the jar, put some amount of money in it every day. The amount matters less than the consistency and intention with which you do this. The idea is to get into the flow of creating more.
Maia shares that the abundance jar symbolizes the ways that money and emotions are often connected. As you look at your jar each day, let it remind you of these few things regarding your financial wellbeing.
1) Be transparent
One of the reasons the abundance jar works is that you can see through it; it represents the role honesty plays in our financial health. How many times have we purchased things that we really could not afford and then stashed the credit card bill into a random drawer once it arrived?
These financial behaviors reflect the roles that denial and deprivation often play in the ways that we feel about money. We often long for material items when we are lacking emotional nurturance. We may hide from the realities of our checking and savings accounts and hope that we can purchase more items that will nurture us. Yet, when we keep financial records that we can see through, it’s easier for us to be honest with ourselves about our financial standing. We don’t have to hide or have poor decisions come back to haunt us later on.
2) Give to yourself
Putting money into your jar each day symbolizes self-care. Recognizing your self-worth and contributing to your financial well-being each day is a wonderful way to engage in an act of kindness towards yourself.
You might even set an intention as you contribute to your jar. This intention can be one that is personal and symbolic to you. For example, as you put some change into your jar, you might tell yourself, “Change begins with change,” reminding yourself not to discount each small step that’s needed to cultivate long-standing financial and life-changes.
3) Every amount matters
When it comes to her own abundance jar, Maia says that some days she “adds the change from her purse”, and on other days, she adds a five or ten-dollar bill. Too often we ignore the pennies, nickels and dimes that are buried at the bottom of our purse or hidden in the crevices of our wallets. These small amounts can add up to something.
Maia reminds all of her clients that living abundantly means honoring and remembering that every amount matters. Engaging in this process can be a self-reflective exercise to open you up to viewing your finances in a completely different light. Every day, you are adding to your abundance and creating a flow of money coming into your life.