This article was originally published by Qazini, an online media platform that is seeking to drive systemic change in our societies through empowering storytelling.
Life doesn't come with a manual. As we grow older and experience different situations, we become wiser and make better choices. Rearview Mirror Reflections Podcast is a conversation between two Kenyan women sharing their perspectives on life and what they are learning along the way. The conversations are a reminder that life and our perspectives keep evolving.
In the eighth episode of the Rearview Mirror Reflections Podcast, Damaris Agweyu and Susan Njoroge talk about their financial life. They reflect on aspects of money that we rarely think about at a young age. And so, to fill you in, here are some concepts that stood out.
We can all agree that money is the leading cause of stress for many people. Having money or lack of it thereof elicits a wide range of emotions: fear, anxiety, jealousy, shame, anger, love, hate, relief, desire, and the list goes on.
How you relate to money and the feelings your relationship elicits are all tied to your experience with money which, by the way, you acquired at a very early age.
As young as three years, children can already pick basic concepts about money from those around them. At seven years old, their beliefs about money are already rooted.
Based on the beliefs you picked at this early age, you may feel:
Of course, this is just an overview of the wide range of emotions people experience regarding money.
Having said that, how does your relationship with money affect your life on a daily basis?
Let's find out.
It's been said over and over again that money can't buy happiness. That the best things in life are free. But then again, some people think that the proponents of this school of thought maybe, just maybe, don't know where to shop.
Let's be realistic for a minute. Sleeping under a bridge because you can't afford your rent is heartbreaking. No one is happy being destitute. But affording a house, on the other hand, surely brings you joy.
In this case, money has bought you happiness literally. When money gives you the opportunity to take your children to school, live comfortably, pursue opportunities, etcetera. It has bought you comfort. It has given you happiness.
And yes, it could be true that the best things in life are free, but money plays a big role in making those things a reality.
Damaris Agweyu, in that episode, explains what makes money important; "Money is of great value because of what it can do and the opportunities you get because of having money."
Truthfully, having money or not having it affects our happiness to a great extent.
When you don't respect money and spend it recklessly, you'll be stressed when you can't pay your bills. If you are too focused on money, you'll be in a never-ending rat race. You'll never have enough. You'll not enjoy the little or the much you have since you are always looking for more.
So, whether or not you believe money can buy happiness, the one thing that's a fact is that money helps you live life comfortably. It allows you to provide, for your family, the security they need.
Money gives you access to opportunities. It helps you reach your goals. Most importantly, the comfort that comes with having a buffer in case of emergencies brings peace to a great extent.
When you feel like there isn't enough money, there are high chances that you are always in short supply. This same mentality makes you feel bad when you pay for things or buy stuff. You feel good when money comes in but stressed when it goes out. And let's not forget the constant nagging feeling that you are running out of money when you spend it.
In reality, you are not running out of money. When you spend money, you get something in return. It's an exchange of value for value. In essence, you are not losing. That's the natural cycle of money.
On the flip side, when you understand that money is empowering, you'll treat it with respect because you get what you put in. Susan Njoroge explains this concept further, "Value money. Respect money. If you treat money with respect, it will also treat you with respect because it means you are handling it in a better way. You are doing things more respectfully. You are thinking through how you will use it, where you'll use it and what you'll do with it. That then comes back to you." And that basically sums up how your relationship with money should be when it comes to spending.
There are two types of mentality here: the abundant mindset and the scarcity mindset. If you have a scarcity mindset, you always feel like there's not enough money.
People with a scarcity mentality don't believe that money is empowering. Their negative relationship with money makes earning it a constant struggle. With a scarcity mindset, you are always thinking, "but, I can't afford it," and so you give up without considering what you can do to afford it. For this reason, a lot of things in life are out of your reach, even when you can afford them with a little hard work.
Scarcity mentality limits you from having the money you need. You'll give up on your dreams easily, and even when you dare to dream, it will be small dreams because, in your mind, you don't have what it takes to achieve big stuff. I mean, where will you get the money to do them when there isn't enough already? For this reason, it's almost impossible to increase your earning power.
Damaris Agweyu, in the eighth episode of Rearview mirror, talks about people with an abundant mindset "...you always think there is money. There is enough money for all of us, so you approach issues of money from a calmer perspective."
With an abundant mindset, you are open to taking risks. You believe you can, and you'll earn more. For that reason, you are always open to the possibilities of taking your career or business to the next level. With every dream comes a strategy to conquer it.