Gratitude Changed My Financial Life For The Better
I was extremely unhappy with parts of my life that once were my happiest parts
Gratitude. A pretty big word with a whole lot of meaning. "Well, what is it? And what the hell does it have to do with my money?" you ask, while scrolling for the bolded sentence that gives you some insight into whether you should take 5 minutes to actually read this post.
I get it. If you're anything like me, you already have your mind set that this blog post will be a bunch of "hooey", as my elder buds might say.
In fact, up until this year, the word gratitude meant nothing to me. I honestly thought anything that had to do with the noun was based around spirituality -- something that I'd never use to describe myself as. Spiritual, that is. I'm more of a "whatever happens, happens" kind of girl, and "you are the only one who can make decisions and choices that affect your outcomes".
In other words, I'm pretty cool with whatever life throws at me. At least, I thought I was.
Honestly, I thought I was super tough, that I handled my emotions well, and was calculated in each conversation I had. Nothing I did or said was based on how I was feeling, and I certainly chose to keep it that way with most everyone in my life.
I sucked at emotions (and still kind of do)
My friends can probably vouch -- although my writing presents a more emotional and fun side of myself -- real life me says "I'm so excited" in the same voice she would say "Large coffee, black".
Well, this year, that started to change. This year, I have struggled heavily with anxiety and depression.
A truth bomb I never thought I'd feel necessary to share on my financial blog. But, here we are.
Apparently the two go hand in hand. I mean, who knew? After 27 years of bottling up my feelings, dodging stress, and avoiding serious conversations with myself, I broke down.
I started to feel uncomfortable in situations I would normally throw myself into (and claim myself to be the center of attention). I started to be unable to handle any sort of confrontation (which used to be my bread and butter), and I was extremely unhappy with parts of my life that once were my happiest parts (which made me question everything).
I've always assumed that if I save what I need, spend what I should, and work the right amount, everything else would work itself out. My goals would fall into place, my career would keep me satisfied, and my surroundings would be, well, enough.
That's when I decided it was time to fill my tool belt
As much as I'd love to share every gushing detail of my experience so far and my decisions when it comes to my mental health, I'll choose to keep parts of my life private. After all, this is the internet, and no secrets will be kept. However, I will share that I am currently in therapy.
Which, unsurprisingly, most people I tell have also gone at one point in life.
I found that to be extremely refreshing and a good source of support. It's true when everyone says you're not alone. It just takes awhile to realize that it's true for you, too.
Therapy has been everything I needed. Finally talking to someone about my life that holds an unbiased opinion, provides proper tools, and boosts my confidence, has been well worth every dollar spent. The same week I decided to go was actually the same week one of my favorite bloggers shared this post: The Best Gift My Emergency Fund Has Ever Given Me.
To which I will agree wholeheartedly -- spending money on mental health is never a bad decision. In fact, it's probably the best decision anyone will ever make.
But, what does this have to do with gratitude, girl?
Let me tell you, what.
Every single morning, I pull out my little black journal, and I jot down three things that bring me gratitude.
It's simple. It's practical. And it's changed my outlook on life.
This small activity has made my relationship with finances that much more sure in knowing what I want, and what I need to do to achieve those things.
In life, I've been constantly battling between old habits and desires to spend all that I earn, and new habits and desires to save every dollar I earn. The balance in both my personal life, professional life, and financial life -- has become one big dose of "everything-is-fine". Which, as I'm sure you know, never ends up working out.
Many of us have a twisted and confused sense of our relationship with money. We cannot decide whether we need it, want it, hate it, love it, or why it revolves around every single day of our lives. Feeling acknowledgement for every dollar I receive, spend, and gift has given me a sense of gratitude I never thought possible.
Although I haven't hit my financial goals by deadlines, I've still made progress.
Although I've dealt with debt and financial struggle, I wouldn't be as money-conscious if it weren't for that experience.
I am grateful to have a job that provides me with food in my belly and a roof over my head.
I am grateful to be able to be paid for something I am so passionate about.
And most importantly, I am grateful that anyone at all, let alone the thousands of you who choose to actually give a $hit what I say, choose to read Mixed Up Money.
Hitting my personal and financial goals doesn't seem as unachievable once I provide myself with tools and strategies that actually align with who I am and what I need to stay healthy and happy.
Giving ourselves freedom to recognize what stress feels like in our bodies, and then choosing not to avoid it is what gratitude really embodies. Choosing to take money away from one goal and putting it towards another that provides happiness and support for your mental clarity is what gratitude becomes.
Money is a large part of who we are as a society, and what we need to survive. But we will never survive if we don't lead ourselves down the right path.
I mean, let's be real. It's easy to be a terrible person, and it's hard to be good all the time.
So instead, let's just be gracious.
What are you grateful for today? Let me know in the comments!