Anxiety and Financial Responsibility by Dawn Jepson

Anxiety and financial responsibility can go hand-in-hand until we feel powerfully able to provide for ourselves. My life is an example of this presently. It frightens me to death to think of having to support myself financially, without any help from anyone else. I have never done it. From birth to 38 years old I had someone else make sure my bills were paid, my parents or a husband were my resources. I worked teen jobs as most of us did - a burger joint or two, retail, babysitting. But that was pocket money. I didn’t have to pay for college, accrued no loans and accumulated no debt. I married right after I received my first college degree and became a housewife (no children for awhile). In fact I married and divorced two times until, briefly single, I finally began to attempt to support myself. Child support payments and a part time job as a companion to my grandparents began my experience of being somewhat financially independent.

This time of my life was both scary and exhilarating. I made ends meet, but just barely. As things got tighter and credit card bills became harder to pay I noticed anxiety making it‘s presence known more loudly than ever before. Combined with the onset of menopause, anxiety blossomed like a flower, and not one that smelled the least bit sweet. I had to ask for financial help but it didn’t feel like a big deal. I was comfortable letting myself be helped by others.

I was never afraid to be physically alone, without someone by my side. I was never afraid I wouldn’t have a life for myself when my daughter left. I always knew I would have friends to confide in. But I was anxiety ridden over having to make the money I needed to keep a roof over my head and food on the table. I was scared I would lose it all and be homeless. I just wasn’t prepared to take care of myself financially. No one told me that financial independence might be my responsibility one day. No one warned me that my career choices might cause me a problem because they might not provide enough to pay the bills. I had no plan because I was never warned that I would need one.

Many of the wise financial gurus of today recommend people have a savings account, at least one retirement fund, an extra 3, 6, or 9 months of salary stashed away in case we find ourselves out of work. At 57 years old I am beginning where someone who just graduated from college might start. Wow this is scary!

Financial anxiety is torturous. It has triggered all my worst nightmares. How did I let myself get to this point? Why did I bury my head? And what could possibly be the lesson in all this?

As I have shared in previous writings, for me anxiety paralyzes. If I become paralyzed then it becomes hard to do what is necessary to begin to build financial security. Believing in myself and that financial independence is possible comes first. Believing this is hard to do when I am stuck in fear.

What I have learned through all of this is to use the tools I have acquired and use to help my clients. The other important step for me has been to ask for wisdom and ideas from people who are financially successful - find out how they got there.

As I now put these tools into action I am finding moments of calm. It is easier to shift my thinking from lack to abundance. But it does take persistence and patience. Old habits and behavior/response patterns don’t always let go easily.

What really excites me is that it is never too late to change. Life is an adventure! We truly never know what is around the next corner!!! My anxiety around becoming financially independent eases as I remember to send myself positive messages every day about what I want to create in my future.

Relationships and Creativity

Relationship energy and creative energy go hand-in-hand for most women because they emerge from the same space in our being. Lately I have noticed how single-minded I have become with work on developing my business. I am specifically aware of how my mind is directing massive energy and attention toward the creative aspects of my work, allowing me to express my passion and wisdom. I am thoroughly enjoying the process despite the many learning curves that I take and the tasks I must tackle, especially when those tasks are not very exciting. I am learning to focus on myself in a new way. What I am noticing is that it is natural and fluid for me to focus on my work because the relationships in my life are in harmonious and healthy conditions. As a woman, my organic psychological process of maintaining wellness depends on my relationships being well. It is simply how I relate to the world and myself, through relationships as well as through my "work". My personal well-being depends on healthy and vibrant relationships with those who nurture my inner world and support my growth. I do not think I am much different from many other women.

For much of my life, I adopted the role of wife and mother. Through these roles, the essential aspect of my success depended on healthy relationships. My energy and attention went to my children, to my husband, to creating stable family. No one told me to do this, I simply believed it was in my role, I felt that is was essential to my well-being, and I wanted harmonious relationships. Not superficially harmonious, deeply harmonious. So my life has been significantly shaped by my choices in my relationships and the ways that I have navigated these spaces in my life. I defined myself for most of my life through the success and health of my closest relationships.

Today I find myself with an empty nest and a happy marriage. Relative to the last thirty years of my life, I am not needed for much in these relationships. What I am needed for, I believe I am providing well. What does that mean? I am left with massive amounts of creative energy that can be used elsewhere. I feel grateful and thrilled most days that I found work that I love along the way of raising my children. Now I am taking that work role and expanding and engaging it in the world in new ways. My life has become focused on the creation of the next stage of my life. My work.

Why am I writing about this? Because I have learned a few things as this major shift in my life has taken place. I have learned them personally and I have learned them professionally by working with women who are in transition and awakening to the truth in the inner worlds. Let me share my lessons - (these may or may not hold true for all women - I am speaking about myself and those with whom I am connected intimately)

* Women care deeply about the relationships in their lives. They will sacrifice much, both consciously and unconsciously for relationships.

* Women define themselves in essential ways through their relationships, therefore their self-confidence and happiness connects directly to the health of their relationships.

* Women feel conflicted when they believe they must choose between the health of relationships and their own health.

* Women can unconsciously sacrifice their personal health to deliver what they believe they "should" in their relationship roles.

* Women's health and happiness depend on healthy relationships.

* A women's happiness depends on how she cares for herself.

* The collision of the last two sentences is often where women become conflicted internally and unable to satisfy both these needs simultaneously.

* The creation of harmonious and fulfilling relationships begins with a healthy relationship with Self. This is news to many women.

The dedication to my work is often motivated by the success I experience with my clients and the process of our work together. As we collectively bring these truths to light, the women of today are learning to navigate the world and our lives in new and exciting ways. We are beginning to tap into our creativity in ways that energize us tremendously. In order to do this well , a woman must consciously consider what is happening in her important relationships, and the ways she is investing time and energy into them. She must learn to accept help and support as well as give it, learn to develop and maintain healthy boundaries. She must recognize when she is experiencing resentment, depletion and frustration and deal with it directly. Dealing with it indirectly continues that heavy energy being perpetuated and most often is playing out in unpleasant and repetitive patterns that serve no one well. As women, we are redefining how to navigate our creativity and our relationships consciously and the conflicts that naturally arise from this attention. Bravo to the conscious woman!

Helping ourselves to find inner peace is the way we ultimately serve the most and the best in this world. When we do the hard work of turning inward and discovering where we are conflicted, then take the time to resolve that inner conflict, we are serving everyone in our lives. We become a role model of health and empowered choice. The world needs more of that for working with the many dilemmas in which we find ourselves today. Self-care directly impacts relationships and creativity in positive ways. Trusting and acting on this truth serves the greater good.

© Laurel Holland

Let's Talk About Fear - All Week!

This week is shaping up to be focusing on Fear as the topic. It seems to have been popping up all around me as a subject that could use some quality attention. I am sharing some empowering ideas - places to bring your attention for developing consciousness around the way fear may be limiting your life. Last week I interviewed Holistic Financial Coach Pete Smith. This time we turned our attention to how your financial life can be a guide to your inner world, and then to the myth that money brings happiness and security. You'll find dialogue about building self-confidence, looking within - to a place beyond any immediate impulse to spend, and the importance of developing habits of responsible financial management - from a place beyond fear. Wow, I just love how Pete urges us to look more deeply, and in doing so, leads us to a place of inner authentic power and peace.

You can listen to our talk about your finances and your inner life here.

Click here to watch our recording about the myth of money equalling happiness and security. Tomorrow - more about working with fear!