At 1am, my husband is often awakened by a soft light glowing from my side of the bed.
He peers over my (supple, sexy) shoulder– okay, maybe not– and asks, “Are you making calculations again?”
He asks this because (as mentioned in this unfortunate post), I have so much financial anxiety that it drives me to punch numbers into my calculator at night, over and over again, hoping that our finances will look different each time. They never do, of course. But it never stops me from making calculations until I drift off to sleep.
But here’s the crazy part: I confessed my obsessive compulsive sins to a friend…and she admitted that she does the same exact thing!
Apparently, there are others out there who– although not necessarily homeless, starving, or on the run from the IRS– are crippled by financial worry.
But it doesn’t end there. Just last week, before a different friend of mine proceeded tell me about her particular financial woes, she prefaced it by saying “I don’t know why I always feel compelled to tell people this, but…”
Which leads me to believe that people
want need to discuss their financial anxieties with (trusted, non-judgmental) loved ones. Conversations need to be happening, but they’re not.
Behind closed doors, people are struggling all alone with their deepest financial fears. And Filipino blogging therapists are punching numbers into their calculators all night long. This has got to stop!
Conventional wisdom tells us that we’re not supposed to discuss our financial problems with others. And honestly, I get it. No one wants to seem broke, or irresponsible with their money, or emotionally vulnerable. We also avoid these conversations because it’s uncomfortable to know that we make way less (or way more) than somebody we love, or that we’ve got much more debt.
But I’m not asking you to tell people exact numbers. I’m saying that we’ve got to open up to each other about how managing those numbers makes us feel.
Here are four huge benefits to doing so:
- There’s comfort in knowing you’re not alone.
- Venting can take some weight off our shoulders.
- You gain perspective on your situation when you have other real-life financial pictures to compare it to.
- You can share and receive helpful tips for managing your anxiety.
Number 4 is a biggie. In fact, just today I got an excellent tip from a dear friend (the woman with my same freaky calculator addiction). And now I’m going to share her advice with you because I liked it so much, and because I also like you:
When I’m feeling overwhelmed, I tell myself that I still don’t know where the chips are going to fall. We assume the worst about the future because we’re at a low point. All we know is that our situation feels like torture. But we can’t see the big picture– we don’t know the whole story yet. So I’ve just got to keep moving forward and trust that I’ll eventually discover the purpose behind these circumstances.
It’s not the money that makes us completely mad. Rather, it’s the not knowing what will happen, or when, or why. But if we’re growing despite not knowing (See how I rhymed there? I rule!), I think we can make it through life feeling happy and complete, even as our wallets swell and shrink.
So let’s find Peace. Together. Reach out to others– for your own benefit and for theirs. It starts with a conversation.
Your Turn: Have you ever benefited from discussing financial anxiety with a loved one? What helpful tips can you share for managing this type of anxiety?