Today is my mother’s birthday. She sent me this bouquet of flowers. Here’s the story.
Last week I participated in a free online course to plan for 2014. You know I LOVE to plan and I’m always looking for tips and tricks. So as soon as I heard about it I joined Amber McCue‘s Planathon. On the first day, I won a prize. [Side note: my entire life I’ve never one things, but in the last year I’ve one a free graphics design class, free coaching sessions, a cookbook, and this prize. My luck definitely changed when I changed!] I was able to choose between three prizes:
My first thought was to pick the soaps or the mug because they’re functional – and might be good re-gifting since the holidays are coming up. I had defaulted into my poverty mindset – something I’ve been working on all year.
When I quit my job without another one lined up and only an idea of starting a business, my mom had a lot of issues with it. The mom in my head that is, because my mother passed away seven years ago.
As parents do, she had a profound influence on my beliefs about money and work. Part of the reason it took me so long to quit my job was because it felt like I was going against everything I had ever learnt about money and responsibility. Launched into this new world of entrepreneurship with a strong spiritual and emotional side to it, I suddenly became aware of these beliefs and really struggled reconciling them with my new life. There were three biggies:
- You gotta work hard for the money: You can’t have financial success without struggle (and the people who make a lot of money without struggle are doing something evil).
- Save it, don’t spend it: Don’t spend your money needlessly, conserve and save – especially when times are lean. Don’t waste money on frivolous things.
- Security over passion: And always be conservative – don’t quit a well-paying job with benefits when you don’t have another job lined up, even if you’re miserable.
It’s really frustrating when you realize these things but can’t have a conversation with the person about it. Over the course of a few months, what I slowly realized was that my mother taught me what she knew – she did have to work hard for the money, and she did it for me. All she wanted was for me to be safe and secure, and she taught me how to do that the only way how. She was also constantly worried about not having enough money, and therefore frowned upon spending money on frivolous things, which included things to make the home or herself beautiful. Again, I realized this was out of love – all she wanted to do was take care of her family by making sure they had enough money.
I saw that I was holding myself back from fully stepping into my new life because of my mother’s limiting beliefs around money, and I was holding on to those beliefs as a way to stay connected to her. What I realized is that all of this was a false perception – it was my idea of what her beliefs were through her words and actions, but I can’t really know what her true beliefs were because I can’t ask her. In fact, the third belief was completely false – my father pointed out to me that at the same age, my mom did something incredibly risky. She put all her money into starting a private practice instead of joining an established one because that was her dream.
I had unintentionally learned additional lessons from her: that abundance=struggle, indulgence=bad and traditional=secure. Those were not the lessons she set out to teach me.
Moreover, holding onto these false ideas were NOT a way to stay connected to her – they were actually preventing me from connecting to who she truly was. I was angry at my mother for lessons and beliefs that I projected onto her, and I realized that by holding onto those beliefs, it was keeping me from truly connecting with her, wherever she may be now. I decided to let them go.
My new lessons:
- Financial success can be easy and fun, especially if you love what you do. (tweet it)
- Embrace luxury by incorporating small pieces of beauty into your daily life. (tweet it)
- Pursuing your passion is worth the risk. (tweet it)
So, back to choosing my prize.
I paused for a moment, and thought to myself, “If I were truly embracing luxury, I would choose the flowers.” So I chose them, because that is what would make me happy.
When I received the tracking information, I was struck that they were arriving on my mother’s birthday. I thought it was beautiful and poignant.
It wasn’t until I told this story to a friend that I realized that my mother had sent me flowers.
She is letting me know that I got it – all she wants is for me to be happy. I’m on the right path, I’ve learned the lessons she wants me to learn: That abundance doesn’t have to come with struggle, and that including beauty and elegance is part of expressing who I am. And only by being who I am will I be able to give and receive everything that’s meant for me.
The power and transformative healing of learning how to forgive enables you to really see the person for who they were/are, not who you perceived them to be. So even though I can’t talk to her, my mom was able to help me overcome my fears about money and teach me a new way of thinking about financial abundance.
Happy birthday Mom. Thank you. I love you.