Part 1: Sometimes money is just money

by Meredith Resnick

It started on Facebook, when someone commented beneath a link to The Money Study that “money is evil,” to which someone else replied: “Money is paper; people project their fears onto money, and that evokes evil acts.” That someone else was writer, Melanie Votaw, author of 11 nonfiction books and a nature photographer in New York City.

I understood about projecting fears onto another person—but onto an inanimate object? Get. Out. That would be like projecting fears onto a lamppost.

But Melanie’s words resonated. They felt—correct. I sent her a message and asked where this view came from. “My interpretation is essentially Jungian and psycho-spiritual in nature, based largely on my reading and workshop experiences with people like Marion Woodman.

Woodman, a Jungian analyst, teaches us to be wary of emotional projection onto [that which is] physical, as this causes unhealthy attachments, she explained. “It amuses me when people say that money is evil since money is just a tool,” Melanie added. “It would be no more valuable than scrap paper if we didn’t place that value [feeling, emotion] on it.”

I thought about this from a relationship standpoint. In one way or another, every one of our relationships (and how we view them, behave in them and revere or fear them) are in some way a reflection of the self (our own self).

So, in a total re-frame, I’m not talking dollar amounts; I’m talking relationships. In a person-to-person relationship, both sides would, theoretically, have a say about the tone and ground rules of the union. But since money is, in fact, paper, I’m clearly the one with all the power in the relationship. I’m the one doing the imbuing, the projecting—whether I realize it or not.

This leads me to my second money truth: I can improve my relationship with money by noticing (without judgment or disdain) my emotional reactions toward it.

(More from Melanie in Part 2 of  “Sometimes money is just money”)

Meredith

P.S.: Read more about The Money Study here.

Great news! This portion of The Recovering Creative will soon have a new home (address to follow) and a new name: The Money Study. More to be revealed. For now, enjoy the posts right here.

Sign image courtesy Flickr/aga.silva
Photo courtesy of Melanie Votaw.

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{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

Liz Zuercher

Ultimately, it is all about the relationship – what we do with the money, what we want from it, how we feel about having it or not having it. Like any relationship, it can be complicated or it can be simple. It’s up to us to decide. Like you say, Meredith, that gives us all the power, which is liberating.

Jennifer Haupt

People have so much baggage around money, myself included. This was a very interesting post.

Sheryl

Yes, money is an inanimate object…but a powerful one, at that. And one that we need to get things we need/want. I wonder if it’s possible to have a (well)-balanced relationship with it. It seems that sometimes, money rules while other times, we can easily rise above its pull.

noel

The freedom to change your feelings about money seems directly linked to just how important it is. Ask some one who make six figures and money is nothing. Ask some one with a spouse and kids to support who make 12 thousand a year and money is as important as as his own blood. Abraham Maslow touches on it in his theory.

Alexandra

I often think about the money I have made in three different jobs. No money as a mother/cook/housewife, etc. Minimum wage, once divorced, as a toddler teacher at a large daycare center where the parents made tons of money. And, today I get paid a good amount of money for future work as an innkeeper, far less full-filling and so much easier than child-care. So, I will follow your study of money with much interest.

MarthaandMe

This is interesting to think about – it’s really hard to separate my own emotional reactions to money and think about it in a detached way.

Kerri Fivecoat-Campbell

I just watched “What the Blip do we Know?” (not sure how I missed that when it came out), but that documentary talks about our relationships and also our “addictions” to the emotions surrounding those relationships. It made me realize my own feelings and emotions from the past make my own relationship with money toxic. Now I just need to figure out how to change those emotions to change the toxic relationship!

Barb

Money is just money, but it gives worries–especially when there doesn’t seem to be enough. We have enough, but I worry about it anyway…I’d like to give that one over.

Tom McCranie

Woodman, a Jungian analyst, teaches us to be wary of emotional projection onto [that which is] physical, as this causes unhealthy attachments…

As others have pointed out, it difficult not to have an emotional “projection” with something that in our current society is needed to live, to feed and care for ourselves and those that depend on us.

This leads me to my second money truth: I can improve my relationship with money by noticing (without judgment or disdain) my emotional reactions toward it.

I suspect you can improve your relationship with money when the things you need/want match the income you have, with a little left over of the latter.

Left brain or pragmatic?

Thanks for helping get me thinking this morning.

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