How to Begin a New Chapter in Your Money Story

written by Bari Tessler September 15, 2022
money story

Good Morning, Dear Money Adventurer!

Or afternoon or evening- whenever this finds you, welcome to the first loving sip of a brand new season of Money Mochas, my free money support mini-series.

Bari Tessler | Money Mochas

Each Money Mocha is a tiny taste test of the compassionate teachings, body-based wisdom, and real-life money-savvy skills that you’ll discover in my year-long money school, The Art of Money. This flagship program is now open for registration. If these bite-sized morsels of money inspiration have you longing for more, you can get all the details and join us for a life-changing journey right over here.

With today’s Money Mocha, we wade gently into the waters of money healing to bring loving compassion and mindful awareness to your money life.

Because–whether we realize it or not–money touches every part of our lives, influencing our choices and experiences, shaping our relationships and communities, what we believe is possible, and how we allow ourselves to show up in the world.

You see, from the time we are young, we are quiet witnesses to the stories the world tells us every day about money. We absorb every silent lesson, weaving an internal narrative of the beliefs we inherit from our culture and lineage, the money lessons, roles, and emotions we learn from our families, and our own daily experiences of enoughness, value, and self-worth.

These often unconscious and unintentional teachings are the beginning of your lifelong relationship with money–and your very own Money Story.

There’s good news about these stories, though: they’re not written in stone.

You are continually learning, growing, stretching, and evolving–and your relationship with money is constantly changing, developing, and unfolding as you do.

You have the power to write a new chapter in your Money Story anytime you like.

And this is the very first step. In today’s Money Mocha, we’re bringing gentle curiosity and loving awareness to uncover:

  • What is a Money Story?
  • How to get to know your own Money Story
  • What money patterns and beliefs have you inherited?
  • What does it mean to be “grown up” with money?
  • How to honor your past and become the intentional author of your own Money Story

This heartfelt money teaching is generously seasoned with gentle curiosity and oh so much love. And it’s available in audio and written format, so whether you read along as you drink your morning coffee, or listen in as you unwind with a cup of herbal tea before bed, you get to choose how you sip this Money Mocha.

So brew yourself a cup of something warm and cozy and take a few minutes to tune in or curl up and read today’s Money Mocha.

Also available on iTunes & Spotify!

What’s a Money Story?

Simply put, your “Money Story” is the entirety of your relationship with money. The pain, the joy, and the learning. It is as unique as you are. It includes all of the historical facts of your financial life. The emotional wounds and triumphs. The tough conversations. The beliefs and habits inherited from your parents and lineage, the ways you adopted them, and the ways you rebelled against or even transcended them. It includes your strengths and challenges with money, arising from your unique circumstances, wiring, and personality type. It includes all of the sensations and emotions and bodily reactions that money stirs within you. Your money story … is the whole shebang. Past and present. The big plot points and the subtle moments that still linger in your heart. Those memories of your mother paying the bills at the kitchen table on Saturday afternoons … when you could feel her anxiety. The moment on the school bus when you realized that your family had a lot more money than your friends’ families … or a lot less.

The pride you felt that winter break when you made $200 shovelling snow in your neighborhood — and opened your first bank account. Listening to your father talk about investment strategies with your brother and wondering why he never talked to you about all of that “money stuff.”

That summer in college when your job fell through and you lived on Ramen noodles.

That triumphant moment when you raised your rates — and your people actually said yes.

All of your ancestors who worked themselves to the bone, yet somehow remained cheerful and creative … who sing in your very DNA when you find the silence to listen.

You see…Getting to know your Money Story is courageous, vulnerable work. Most of us aren’t conscious of our Money Story — or at least most of it. But whether we look it in the eye or not, it is there: running like silent software in the background of our consciousness. Driving decisions, fueling fear, and whispering hypnotic truths we can’t possibly out-logic. That’s why this is some of the most foundational work I do with folks who want to understand, honor, and transform their relationship with money. It’s square one.

Many people, when they first start looking at their Money Story, feel a lot of shame. This is all really normal. As we pull our Money Story out of the closet (and all the secrecy and silence), it’s easy to focus on the bad stuff, first. Yet we all have challenges and strengths around money — and our Money Stories contain traumas and triumphs, pain and joy. Becoming intimate with our Money Story means looking at, understanding, and honoring all of this. Sound hard? It is. But the more we get honest about our Money Story, the more empowered we are in effecting real, lasting transformation.

If there’s one thing I’ve learned over the years, it’s that our past does not have to equal our future. Especially when it comes to our Money Stories. I’ve seen this too many thousands of times to ever doubt it again: in my own life, in stories from my dear community, and not least of all, in my dear husband’s own evolution around money.

You have the power to write new chapters in your Money Story. I’m going to say that again… You have the power to write new chapters in your Money Story.

It takes some work. But it is oh so worth it.

Here’s how you can start to get to know your Money Story…

If you want to create a new relationship with money — one founded on loving awareness, honesty, and empowerment — there are so many tools and practices that can help you to move forward.

But at a certain point, as you move forward, you must look backwards, too. In order to write a new chapter in your Money Story, you need to get honest about those previous chapters. (Or at least the highlight reel.) This doesn’t need to be traumatic, although it’s always helpful to have a Somatic Therapist by your side if you need additional support. And it doesn’t need to take years on a therapist’s couch, but again, it may be helpful to bring this Financial Therapy work to your therapist. If you’re ready and willing, you can take a few steps today, on your own, to get intimate with your Money Story: 1. Look back. What’s your first memory about money? See if you have any money memories pop up? The first time you received money as a gift. The first time you made money at a job. The first time you were aware of your family’s economic class? The first time you remember talking about money or learning about money? Let yourself journal about this…

2. What money beliefs have you inherited? What did your parents, grandparents, siblings, church, or community teach you about money? Are these beliefs or habits still guiding you, today? What money patterns or habits did you learn from your parents or grandparents? (negative or positive, conscious or unconscious). What money role did you take on early on with your siblings (who was the saver or the spender)? Let yourself journal about this…

3. How “grown-up” are you, with money? Only you can define what being “grown up or adult” with money means to you. Over the years, many of my community members admit, at a certain point, that they don’t feel like adults with money. Some feel like rebellious teenagers; others feel like toddlers; still others feel like nonverbal newborns! Where do you feel you are, within your own Money Story? Are you just getting started? Douse yourself with compassion, here — any answer you discover is truly OK. Let yourself journal about this….

4. Be present, present, present. All of these insights, even if they’re about the past, can only come to you in the present moment. Let yourself notice what money emotions are coming up for you? Anger, shame, grief, fear, anxiety, guilt or joy, excitement, hope. Learn how to do a Body Check-in. Journal. Dance out your emotions. Have honest conversations with trusted friends. Let yourself notice what money emotions are coming up in the present moment. Journal about this…

5. Forgive. I understand that forgiveness is a big concept. Forgiveness can take years or happen in a flash, in an instant. Forgiveness can be an important practice here to add in when you are ready. Try it out. Forgive yourself. Forgive your parents — they were doing the very best they could. Forgive your community. Forgive that testy IRS agent. Forgive, forgive, forgive. Let yourself journal about this…

So please: begin to make peace with your own Money Story. Say hello when it shows up. Share some cocoa with it and thank it for what it’s allowed you to do. Bless the hard times, honor the gifts of grit … and gently show those unhelpful patterns to the door. And always, always: celebrate yourself for showing up to this work. It is rare. And, oh so brave.

Own your Money Story. Bless it. And realize: you now hold the pen in your hand.

Here’s to writing something beautiful. With as much love as you can muster.

Here’s to writing your own new money stories.

P.S. The Art of Money is Open for Registration!

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