Good morning everyone, and welcome to NF Learning Lab, where together, we access our innate, iNtuitive wisdom as unique and self-valuing women, and share who we are becoming in a safe, sensitive community.
In recent weeks, we have been exploring the ten areas of life that we work with in NF Learning Lab, and we’ve been using, as our discovery lens, the life area of ‘family of origin’. This week, we focus our family-of-origin lens on the life area of ‘money’.
We live in a culture where money has a very prominent place of importance. In fact, there are hundreds of quotes, from various scholars in fields from religion to economics, that suggest that in the last century, money has actually become our most revered and prevailing God. In his book Capitalism Banks and Wealth, author Miguel D. Lewis says, “Capitalism is religion. Banks are churches. Bankers are priests. Wealth is heaven. Poverty is hell. Rich people are saints. Poor people are sinners. Commodities are blessings. Money is God.” So, in many ways, our modern ideas about money are informed more by the prevailing influence of our society, than by the attitudes of our families of origin.
It is true, that we first learn about money as children, and we are greatly influenced by the beliefs and habits that our first family members pass on to us, about money. But it is fair to say that since the great depression of the twentieth century, when a lack of money devastated American culture, members of all families from every socio-economic origin, have been hugely influenced by societal values regarding money.
Of course, as women with iNtuitive-Feeling personality preferences, we have our own, unique perceptions about money. Though we may enjoy the physical safety, security and possessions that money can buy, most of us are not highly money-motivated. We are likely to care more about the welfare of the people around us, than we do about our own financial welfare. However, like everyone else in our money-focused global society, we are constantly bombarded by money-motivated prompts and incentives.
Digital Marketing experts estimate that most Americans are exposed to somewhere between 4,000 and 10,000 advertisements every single day, and every ad is designed to impact how we think about money. Fortunately, our brains screen out all but a few hundred of these daily messages, but even so, we must conclude that ad exposures silently program each and every one of us, every waking hour.
Some of us, in NF Learning Lab, remember a time before there were brand labels in every clothing item, before there were bar-code tags on every lemon, and every apple in the supermarket. We lived in times when commercials came only through newspapers, magazines, radio, and then television, so our ideas about money were far more influenced by our family members, than by the broader culture.
In NF Learning Lab, we explore how much all external influences impact us, as we try to know and understand ourselves more fully. We do this so that we can be more fully, and authentically, expressed, and thus, more fulfilled. Our exploration helps us to remember that true power comes from within us, and that anytime we look outside of ourselves for our sense of self-worth, we are likely to feel less than fully empowered.
When we automatically adopt money values from our family of origin, we are giving in to something called, ‘power by association’, that is power that comes from the other people in our lives. When we blindly adopt money values from our society, we are allowing ourselves to be overtaken by ‘power by symbol’, and there is no symbol that is more seductive, or deceptive, than the almighty dollar sign!
As we get ready to discuss money and family of origin today, let’s remember that we don’t need to ‘judge’ our family, or our society for their beliefs, mores and motives about money. There are no rights or wrongs here, just opportunities to become more empowered through our process of self-reflection.