Let's start by stating something you ABSOLUTELY need to know:
What does that mean? It means your past does NOT determine your future!
Money was always tight when I was younger. There was always a screaming match about the bank account over-drafting or the credit card bill. When I was about 10, I remember a particularly bad fight. They yelled swear words back and forth, and I said, "why do you guys always have to fight about stupid money?!" Immediately, mom snapped and told me to shut the f*** up and go to my room. And right then, I saw my dad react in a way I've never seen before. It was as close to a physical altercation without ACTUALLY getting physical.
I remember thinking that money caused this. And that memory was engrained in my mind the rest of my life. So for the majority of my adult life, I hated money. Whenever it came up, it seemed like someone was about to get punched in the face (even though that never happened). But all the stress around money made me genuinely hate and fear it. So when you paired that with consistently seeing overdrafts and fights, not having a peaceful Christmas or birthday, never going on vacations and seeing my parents challenged every day, it led me to believe that money was terrible. I thought that it tore relationships apart and I believed it caused nothing but pain. I was even afraid to get engaged because I feared that if my wife and I had money, it would tear our relationship apart.
Why is that important? Because if you fast forward to now, my life is COMPLETELY different than my parents. My BIOGRAPHY is NOT my DESTINY. I had to learn how to take the pain of my past and make it empowering. It started to happen when I hit a point in my life where I couldn't save money for the life of me.
My bank account never rose above 1,000 dollars. It didn't matter how hard I worked. No matter how bad I wanted it, I was stuck at 1,000. There was always too much month at the end of the money.
But deep down, I simply believed that money would hurt my life. In reality, all I was doing was causing myself pain. I wouldn't put myself in situations to make more of it. I wouldn't save it. Even more importantly I blamed my parents for my lack of it (when it wasn't their fault). So I went through an exercise to change that.
To be honest, I laughed when she told me to do it. I was like, "how the hell is this going to help me?" That exercise ended up changing my life.
I realized money wasn't bad. In fact, I was being an asshole to money. This letter made me think of money as a person, and I realized that every time this "person" came around, I kicked it out of my life. NO WONDER IT NEVER WANTED TO BE AROUND ME!
So ask yourself: If money was a person, are you being mean to him/her? Are you kicking them out of your house? Do you avoid them? Do you get rid of them the second they come into your life? Do you waste your time with them on things that don't matter? I did. Do you?
My lack of financial independence had NOTHING TO DO with my parents. I needed to learn that my pain wasn't a bad thing. It was a GREAT thing. I took my pain and made it empowering. I changed what my memories meant to me.
My parent's previous arguments over money now mean that I had a great example of what NOT to do in a relationship AND money management.
When I adopted this belief, I started reading investment books and get out of debt books. We took Financial Peace University by Dave Ramsey and went on a MISSION to pay off $92,000 of student loan debt!
Just because my parents went through financial struggle does NOT mean I need to. Same with you.
Life is nothing more than events and the meaning you give them. You need to take your past and ask yourself what amazing lessons did you learn because of your history! Find the blessing in what you currently see as a curse.
Story: My grandma saved $45,000 for me to go to college. When I got to the University of Illinois, I learned my parents used it. Taken. Gone as a result of irresponsible decisions.
I remember having so much anger, disgust, confusion, and frustration toward my mom. And I remember thinking, "How could anyone take that from their kid!?" For YEARS, I blamed my parents for my student loan debt. Why do I bring that up?
I blamed my parents. Who do YOU blame? Who do you look at and say, "because of this person or situation I *fill in the blank*."
What part of your life do you look at and say, "I'm not responsible? It's because of THEM!"
Until you learn to let go of what happened and forgive the other person (or even yourself), you'll always be stuck. I held so much resentment and anger toward my mom for years. I said my financial well being was HER fault. I wouldn't allow myself to take ownership of my own destiny.
I thought, "I don't need to figure this out. It's up to mom to figure it out." But in reality, that's a bunch of bullshit. It's 100% up to me. It's not my parent's fault.
I had to learn that my mom isn't responsible for my situation. It's my responsibility. I chose to go to the University of Illinois. I decided on a more expensive education. I chose not to be aware of that account decreasing.
You need to take 100% responsibility for your life and learn to forgive. You need to let that situation go.
You could blame the other person all day long. The pain they caused you very well may have been challenging! But blaming them will NOT make your life better. Blaming them doesn't make them feel any worse.
Blaming someone else does only one thing:
It only hurts you. It does NOTHING to them. They don't even know you're feeling it so when you're blaming them, you're just making your own life. Then you get stressed out and frustrated. You hold onto resentment.
Nelson Mandela said, "Resentment is like drinking poison and expecting your enemy to die."
Really! What if you could?
I learned how to blame consciously. What does that mean? Tony Robbins taught me that it's not about letting them off the hook. It's about changing your perspective about what they did and what it means to you.
So ask yourself what did your painful situation create within you? How is your life better because of that situation? Are you a stronger person? Are you more independent? What blessings came from what you used to perceive as a curse?
The constant fights with mom growing up: without them, I would've never learned forgiveness, empathy, and compassion.
My parent's divorce and day to day screaming matches: without them, I wouldn't be nearly as great of a spouse to my wife as I am now!
Money challenges: without them, I would've never learned financial responsibility.
What if that person/ situation in your life that you blame was the exact situation that NEEDED to happen? What if that person played the EXACT role they needed to play?
Without my parents, I wouldn't be nearly as hungry, driven, passionate, loving, caring, or as on fire as I am now. What if those people in your life were placed there for a reason? What if they were crafting you, molding you, and sculpting you into who you are today? What if that person was loving you and the only way they knew how at the time? What if the pain was their own insecurity? What if they need you to be the bigger person? How much would it mean to them if you had compassion instead of anger? Realize the beauty that your pain created!
From learning how to be grateful for the painful parts of my past, I discovered the skill of forgiveness. Now, I have a much better relationship with my mother!
Forgiveness isn't saying that what they did was comfortable or okay to do it again. But it is saying that it WAS NOT wrong. It wasn't wrong because it created YOU.
Forgiveness sounds good in theory, right? But it's effortless to want to be angry, blame, and pawn off responsibility. I know this because I did it. It is so much harder actually to forgive than it is to understand forgiveness. If forgiveness is one of the things holding you back from the life that you really want, once you let go and forgive, life will change FOREVER. I'll teach you how in Appreciation Academy.
When you stop blaming, something beautiful happens: You're forced to take 100 percent responsibility for your life. It seems SO much more comfortable to blame and give responsibility to someone else. But it's actually MUCH harder because you're never progressing. When I took 100 percent responsibility for my finances, marriage and everything else, my life COMPLETELY changed. I learned so much because I HAD to grow. I HAD to study money. I HAD to learn from my own experiences. I learned to GROW every day instead of HATE every day. How would that change your life?
Self-confidence is nothing more than a muscle you work out. It's not something you're born with. To build it, you just need to exercise it. Forgiveness is a self-confidence workout. Compassion is a self-confidence workout. Responsibility is a self-confidence workout.
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