Best Life: Stop Feeling Bad About Money

Any time is a good time to start changing how you THINK about money. Even around the holidays. Maybe especially around the holidays! 

If you can grasp why you feel the way you do about money, you can start laying the groundwork to change your financial stress and/or stop living paycheck to paycheck.

Too many people have an identity that is tied to how much money they have or don’t have. Stop it!   

Imagine a day where you no longer fret over making enough money. Imagine making choices not based on how much you don’t have, but instead, on what you really want to do? It’s possible. You can even learn to save money for that special trip you’ve been wanting to take or buy those fabulous Tamara Mellon shoes you’ve been craving all year long  (Yaaaaassss! You say trip, I say shoes, tomato/tomahto).  The point is, it’s all possible. 

But first, it starts with understanding it’s taken you “this” many years to develop your views about money, so it’s going to take time to work and change it.  So, start today. 

Baby steps.

Understanding your backstory when it comes to money specifically is the first step in making changes to how you feel about money.   

We all have feelings about money. Those feelings are tied into how we were raised. Our experiences watching adults deal with finances had a significant impact on how we deal with money today.  If you were raised in a well-to-do household, you may have a distorted view of what it means to “earn a living”.  Doing volunteer work because your dad wouldn’t give you access to your trust fund is not the same as growing up watching your dad work as a teacher, janitor, secretary or carpenter and never knowing what a trust fund was/is. Some people never make enough just to put food on the table, let alone “summer” in France regularly.  It just doesn’t happen, it’s not even an option for most folk. In the same respects, kids born to wealth are not inherently ungrateful, selfish or unenlightened. Being born into wealth isn’t easier.  It’s just different.  Some kids born into wealth are raised by nanny’s – children of wealth may have constant feelings of being shuffled off and may feel like a nuisance to their parents. “Rich kids” may get everything they want materially but may miss out on relationships with their parent, which, let’s face it, is what every kid really wants. 

The point is no one should feel bad about what family financial situation they were born into. 

No one has a choice how they come into this world.  But we all have a choice in becoming better, in everything we do when you have the opportunity. That includes understanding what money is, what it can be and how we can be better about our emotional attachment to it. 

To be very clear: one story isn’t better or more evolved than the other. Just because you grew up not “summering” or having private lessons, doesn’t make you a better person.  But our past, matters.  Having a real conversation about WHY you feel the way you do about money is an important first step to fixing your current financial ideas about money. 

For most people whose parents worked regular 9-5 day jobs, money may have always been a scarcity, always hard to get, felt like some sort of relief whenever they had it, and easily spent away in one “important” holiday or unexpected emergency room visit. 

For others who may have been born into wealth, money is hardly discussed but always shown. Children of wealth have similar but different problems with money. Being given a Honda instead of a BMW for a birthday gift is a real problem.  The status of driving a Honda among friends may be seen as “not good enough” when your parents could have afforded a “Beemer”.  It may feel as some sort of punishment.

Again, to some people reading this blog, the idea that a car would be gifted to a teenager may seem unfathomable and many would dismiss the issue as the wealthy teenager being ungrateful. But you would be wrong.  For the purposes of this discussion, none of that matters.  What does matter is that the stories we personally have about what money means affects us into adulthood regardless of wealth.  It can be detrimental to who we are as adults. Our past defines how we relate to money and how we feel about it today.  In order to change our emotions about money, it’s important to acknowledge why we believe the things we do. 

Here are some questions to ask yourself:

  1. When was the first time you remember learning that you were rich, poor, middle class or anywhere in-between?   On page 26 of my book CANELA I discuss opening presents one Christmas morning and realizing there was no Santa. And although I always knew we weren’t rich, being poor was solidified for me that day.  There was no Santa and when you write a letter asking for what you want and don’t get it, it’s because your mom can’t afford it. My first feelings of not having money is that being poor is bad. We must be bad people. I’m not worthy to have things I want, because we’re poor and being poor is bad. See how that works?     
  2. When you were a child and first heard adults talking about money, what were they saying? I remember mostly the bargaining and the begging from my mom needing another week to pay this or that. The negotiating. The hoping she could afford something. I remember her stress and reaction when I asked for something we couldn’t afford. I remember going without because she didn’t have enough.  So, money to me has always been a negative entity. Money has always been associated with people with power being cruel to people with no money. I grew up not liking what money did to good people. And thinking that all bad people were mostly people with money.  Now, of course today we know that power is a whole other animal and really what that was about. Nonetheless, my issues with money are associated with that experience.
  3. Was money the main topic of discussion in your house growing up? Were there arguments about money you overheard? Money was always discussed in my childhood. Money was the reason for why things did and did not happen. Dreams were based on money. I couldn’t dance because I couldn’t afford new dance shoes or afford expensive “real” classes.  Money and not having it was the reason for everything. It became the reason my mother died at 49. Not having enough money to get proper medical care and having to work while sick, is still what I maintain killed her. I absorbed that as a child. Money was cruel. Money was evil. People who had it were horrible to let my mother die. Again, none of this is really the entire truth, but at 11 years old, this is what defined my ideas about money and wealth.   
  4. When you wanted something and it cost money, were you made to work for it or was it given to you with a heavy dose of guilt attached or was it a simple transaction? I learned to stop asking for things because it was painful to watch my mother tell me we couldn’t afford it. After I lost my mother, I always felt a burden to other people, so I made-due with what I had and my only goal was to never be a problem. Wanting anything more than what I already had came with a heavy dose of guilt.  Self-esteem and self-worth always in flux during those years.
  5. Do you think you have a healthy relationship when it comes to money? Today, yes. But it’s because over the years, I’ve worked with and been around various kinds of people from so many different financial backgrounds – from extremely wealthy clients to individuals starting out with less than two rocks to rub together. I’ve learned from first hand experience how extremely similar all people are about money, regardless of their bank accounts and “net worth”. 

The one common denominator that’s changed my views about money is that most people, regardless of the amount of wealth they have, can be very unhappy and struggling. And it usually has to do with how they define money in their lives. 

It’s incredibly fascinating. Terribly sad. Totally fixable. And oh, so freeing! The best part: fixing how you feel about money, has nothing to do with how much of it you have or don’t have. Feeling good about who you are regardless, is…well, forgive the cliche, priceless.  

Once you understand why you feel the way you do about money, you can take steps to start deconstructing those ideas and get to a better place.   

Think about these truths/facts:

  • You are not defined by how much money you have in the bank.
  • When people meet you, they don’t know how much money you have or don’t have.
  • People with healthy relationships with money, don’t flaunt money or care about designer anything. Good people with healthy ideas about money value quality over quantity. Quality over cost. Quality over everything.
  • There are amazing people who have a lot of money.
  • There are horrible people who have a lot of money.
  • There are amazing people who have no money at all.
  • There are horrible people who have no money at all. 
  • People with money have just as many problems as people without money – different problems, but just as bad, just as heart-wrenching, just as stressful (I promise you, this is true).
  • Poor people’s problems are just as valid as rich people’s problems. And just as important.  
  • You are worthy regardless. Period.
  • Wanting more money is not a crime. Having money is not a crime. Not having money is also not a crime. Stop feeling bad about any of it.

Till next time. As always, thanks for stopping by.

Carmen

(Carmen Suarez is an Adviser, Business Manager and Speaker to various start-ups and individual/wealth clients. For more information visit: carmensbusiness.com)

To Be Hurt is Human

To Be Hurt Is Humanbitmoji1646363289

So, I just got back from this amazing workout and I want to try and capture how I’m feeling at the moment.

Three weeks ago I hurt myself trying to do all these new workout moves and just trying to up my game as an athlete (so funny that I’m calling myself an “athlete).

(watch video or read below):

I’ve been working-out since I was about 4 years old and working-out for me is like brushing my teeth —  but I would never actually call myself an “athlete” except that I’m still exhausted at the moment.

Anyways, I was trying to up my game – and I hurt myself.

Instead of acknowledging that I was hurt, I just tried to push on through because I thought I was being weak, I thought I was finding an excuse and I thought it wasn’t trying hard enough.

It got so bad – I hurt my lower back – that I couldn’t even sleep.  And so it started that Round-Robin thing – where you can’t sleep, so your body can’t heal itself, and you’re still in pain and you can’t sleep…

I mean it just kept going on and on and finally I had to call my doctor.

I hate doctors.

Actually, I don’t “hate” doctors but you know what I mean.  I had to call and we had a conversation about what I had to do and basically he said, “You need to stop doing any physical activity whatsoever.  I just want you to try to walk around the block if you can do that but no more working-out. You need to let your body heal.”

And I didn’t really answer him back at first because I was kind of stunned.  And then he said,  “Did you hear me?  I said you have to let your body heal!”  And he said it in kind of a “fatherly” way even though he’s younger than I am – but it’s been stuck in my head. Basically, my doctor had just yelled at me about not listening to my body.

So, I did what he told me to do. I did the icing, the Advil and I did very little “physicality” at all (my God I’m so tired I just had a crazy workout by the way).

But this isn’t about working-out.  That’s not why I’m doing this video. 

The reason why I’m doing this video is because I want to share this moment I had after leaving my trainer today and while I was in the car…

I think I don’t listen to myself when I’m in pain emotionally or mentally.  I have a feeling a lot of us do that. Instead of listening to ourselves and acknowledging that somebody hurt us, or that work was painful today, or that something didn’t workout.   I think a lot of us do what I do — which is just push it aside or ignore it – and just plowing on through anyway.  It’s so much easier to push things aside than it is to deal with them.

And what I realized with the whole “back” [pain] thing is this:   that when I can acknowledge that I’m in pain, when I can realize that it has nothing to do with weakness and it has nothing to do with not being a “strong” person, but has everything to do with actually being human  – that YOU can get hurt sometimes.  When you can acknowledge that you’re hurt, then you can go about finding the remedies:  to heal thyself, to help thyself, to feel better.

It’s just something that I realized driving back.  That I want to take away from the whole experience from the past 3 to 4 weeks of being in such pain and not being able to work-out.

I just wanted to share that with all of you.

Thank you again for stopping by.  I appreciate it so much.

Have a sweet day and I’ll be back again soon for sure!

Bye.

Carmen

Your Resolutions From Me

Yup, you read that right. I wrote a 2019 wish list for YOU! You’re welcome.  😉

  • May you listen to more music on a regular basis and stop texting, especially while driving.bitmoji-20190101063153
  • May you meet your friends in person, talk to them on the phone, enjoy the reality of life instead of this “cyber” version we’ve all become addicted too.
  • May you read more books and take a journey anywhere that doesn’t involve a computer screen. bitmoji-20190101065859
  • May you stop having your entire life and relationships revolve around politics and Trump in general. Stop it!bitmoji-20190101065032
  • May you stop being so obsessed with your looks, your weight, your “outer” God-given shell and learn how beautiful you really are. This is how I see YOU. bitmoji-20190101080924
  • May you realize that life is both hard and then some days even harder – for EVERYONE. You’re not the only one having a tough time – walk on through it. We’re all over here, waiting for you, needing you too. bitmoji-20190101065401
  • May you be more generous with your time, your money, your love. Being selfish, cheap and self-absorbed is easy (and so unattractive).
  • May you realize that it’s not always about forgiveness, but about acceptance. Sometimes things are just the way they are – and that’s okay.bitmoji-20190101080058
  • May you celebrate your birthday so brilliantly understanding that this is the day YOU were gifted to the world and YES, we should celebrate that ALL. DAY. LONG. You matter!bitmoji-20190101065455
  • May you be considerate of others – while driving, while walking, while at the grocery store…you know, everywhere! Kindness stems from being considerate.
  • May you dance a lot more often and stop being worried that you’re doing it right. (If you’re dancing at all, you’re doing it right!).bitmoji-20190101065543
  • May you take care of your health – mental and physical. No excuses! bitmoji-20190101075845
  • May you reach out to others instead of sitting at home wondering why no one is reaching out to you. bitmoji-20190101080015
  • May you stop swearing – it’s the easy way out (I’m talking to you Arianna Grande, Adam Levine, Cardi B. and others… uhem, and yes to myself). bitmoji-20190101063056
  • May you have more people in your life who are not like you!  Racially, religiously, culturally, sexual orientation, etc. Let’s broaden that circle people! We’re all better for knowing and accepting difference! bitmoji-20190101075909
  • May you go out of your way and hug someone you’d never imagine hugging before, just because they need it (and so don’t you!). bitmoji-20190101065623
  • May you find the time to create art in whatever way it manifests in the unique being that is YOU!bitmoji-20190101080601
  • May you find that part of you that is warm and fuzzy and let that shine instead of that yukky part that surfaces in all of us way too often.bitmoji-20190101063338
  • May you break out of your comfort zone and learn what it feels like to really BE!
  • May you understand what true beauty is and that it has nothing to do with looks. bitmoji-20190101063532
  • May you love fiercely, cry with joy and see all the good in the world. bitmoji-20190101065827
  • May your 2019 be a monumental and beautiful year!bitmoji-20190101062605

Don’t let me down people!  I promise to do my very best also!

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Health Benefits of Smoking

Did I miss the latest new breakthrough studies on the health benefits of smoking? I must have.  Because nothing else could explain why so many people are picking up the brilliant little addictive cancer sticks again, except for the mere fact that they now provide a cure to cancer or Vitamin D or something good, right?

I went on a short 3 mile run this morning.  And on my way I passed by at least four people who were smoking. Two outside at a coffee shop, one at a bus stop, another…wait for it…leaning up against his bike fully dressed in gear to work out – I guess it was his before-the-work-out cigarette.

Absolutely disgusting. And make no mistake about it, I admit fully to being an Ex-Smoker.  Yup. Seventeen years.  So, I’m a current smokers worst nightmare because I get it. I so get it.  And I still see no excuse for it.

Look, besides the health hoopla over cigarettes which everyone knows at this point, the fact of the matter is:   it’s just gross!  You also can’t smoke anywhere nowadays; a pack of cigarettes cost an arm and a leg and let’s face it – it just isn’t even cool anymore.  People look at you in complete dismay and yes, I judge you.  I think, “What a complete idiot to still be smoking knowing what we know!”  Actually, I don’t really think all that.  I just think “Loser”.

And please, I can’t listen to all the drama about how smoking’s legal and how you should have the right to smoke and all the lame comparisons to alcohol.  Blah, blah, blah! Boring!  Most people who have a glass of wine at dinner, only have one glass of wine.  Not everyone drinks to oblivion and gets behind a car drunk.  And hey, here’s a thought: it’s actually not legal to drink on the street in public.  So, at the very least, you’re analogy doesn’t work on so many levels.  Don’t smoke in public and maybe I won’t give a damn whether or not you kill yourself.  How’s that?

And while we’re on the subject of drinking, there have been some studies that say a glass or two of red wine a week can be good for you.  I’m not sure how much I believe it, but I’m very clear I haven’t heard of any studies that says one or two cigarettes a week has any health benefits at all.   And even if they’re out there, I’m thinking I wouldn’t believe them either – the cons to smoking will outweigh any possible benefits.  On that I’m pretty sure.

Smoking sucks.  But what sucks more is the excuses behind why people still smoke.  The economy is tough, Washington is in turmoil, maybe you’ve lost a job or you’re having family issues.  Whatever.  But stress is the culprit in most cases.  The last thing you should be doing is picking up a cigarette because you think it calms you — you’re just adding gas to an already embering flame.  Soon enough, things will get worse and you’ll be adding yet another negative to your life – your health.  The smarter thing to do when things are tough and feel so out of control, is to control the things you can.  And smoking or not smoking is something you personally can control.

Now, I know it’s not easy.  I had to quit too – and I haven’t forgotten how difficult that was.  But you can do it.  You should do it.  And goodness gracious I pray that you do.