“We can’t afford that!”
If you hear something repeatedly, and over a course of many years at some point, it becomes a very solid part of your belief system. You may call it brainwashing even though there was no mal intent. Now, compound the consistent message with a lack of discretionary spending and it all begins to appear very real.
I speculate that many of us have an embedded belief that we are destined to be where we are financially. We see our neighbors with newer cars, random tech gadgets, and other shiny things. Some of us even go so far that we attempt to defy this affordability belief by taking out credit cards so that we can at least have something newer and shinier to call our own.
Therefore, you are either insanely jealous or drowning in debt. These scenarios do not help you to feel good about yourself, nor give you the tools to identify why you are feeling this way.
When a parent tells their child that they cannot afford something, it does not usually come from a place of anger. It may be that they do not have the cash or that they do not think that you would get the right amount of value out of the purchase. It may even be that their focus is somewhere else. Ultimately, however, if you keep hearing that you cannot afford something, you believe it.
How many of us stayed in the closet longer than we wanted to because the expectation seemed to be to follow the societal norm. You can only hear, “Do you have a girlfriend?” so many times before you go out and find the nicest girl you can in an attempt to give society what they are asking for.
It takes time to come to terms with being gay. Even in the most loving and accepting of families, most of us were not offered an alternative to being straight. I was not asked if I had a boyfriend until after I had come out.
When it comes to your affordability belief, were you presented with any alternatives? If not, you likely dream for the day you win the lottery or that someone notices how amazing you are and offers to make you famous. It is also likely that you find yourself resenting those that have more money than you do. You talk about “The Rich” in a tone so negative that your envy seems like hate. Many view wealthy people as lucky and believe that life must be easy for them since everything has been handed to them on a silver platter.
Well, there is an alternative. Just like coming out of the closet, you do not instantly have it all figured out. You may get a toaster oven, but you’re likely still a bit lost. You start seeking answers and you start opening yourself up to new ideas.
So, think differently about money. Stop being so poor minded. Instead of telling yourself that you can’t afford something, ask yourself “How can I afford it?” If you really want it, then start seeking those answers. I realize that there is no ‘gay bar’ concept for those seeking financial insight, but the answers are still there.
If growing up, you had been repeated asked “How can we afford that?” would you have a different mindset today? You’d likely have an easier time prioritizing your spending. There would be little desire for instant gratification as you would be accustomed to waiting and saving. You’d have a deeper understanding of how money multiplies and you would be open minded to different ideas about money.
You wouldn’t necessarily have everything you wanted, but at least you would have a plan.
When you tell yourself, “I can’t afford it,” you give yourself no option but to put your head down and sulk until dinnertime. Stop being such a poor little poor kid and start asking more from yourself!