Money and authenticity. I never really considered these two constructs together until more recently, but they are absolutely connected. Authenticity is defined as being our authentic selves, showing up and being seen for who we truly are. This means owning our shortcomings as well as our strengths. It means practicing our values rather than professing them and being honest when we fall short.
To be financially authentic – to me – means that we are intentional about our money. We place value on what we choose to spend it on and make decisions that line up with our goals, dreams and integrity. One thing that often gets in the way of this is comparison. Comparison often sneaks up on me and I find myself wanting to “cure” it by buying something. Just scrolling through Instagram or walking around town I’ll see someone else who I feel looks better or that I assume must be “doing really well” or “have things figured out more.” I don’t know AT ALL if that is true. How they look or what they own is not an accurate way to assess such things.
I know this will come up for me (again) during spring break when I see pictures of people traveling all over, usually at some fancy beach destination. My family and I are going to Denver – not even for the week, just for a few days. But I have to remind myself that this is intentional. There are major goals I want to accomplish financially and taking a luxurious vacation right now isn’t in line with those goals. We have, however, started saving for one in the future.
Capitalism thrives off of our unhappiness and dissatisfaction with self. Think about how much is spent each year on cosmetics, diet and weight loss products, and even surgery. If we really accepted ourselves and were thriving in our authenticity, would these industries even exist?
I’m not suggesting you never buy make-up or take a luxurious vacation, but I do challenge you to think about the underlying motivation or belief that may be fueling your financial decisions. Are you buying that car to prove something, to boost your own sense of self-worth? Are you going into debt to have that trip of a lifetime? Does that align with your goals or with you being your best self?
These are great questions to start checking in with yourself. Often when we move out of what other people think, out of comparing ourselves to others and really getting clear on our values, we’ll find we need less than we thought.
I also want to acknowledge the privileged place from which I’m writing this. I am a white middle class American who will never have to worry about caring for her basic needs. Being able to think about money in the way I am suggesting above is an absolute privilege and needs to be acknowledged as such.
Come join us on March 3rd to participate in an introspective workshop led by Danielle Howard, CFP, CKA. This interactive workshop will provide you with insight and perspective about your money and it is truly a unique opportunity to cultivate wholehearted living around your finances.
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