How I fix my unhealthy relationship with money

Is your relationship with money healthy?

Are you constantly worried about money? Are you triggered by the recent economy impact from Covid 19?

There is nothing as universal as the concept of money. People of different races, religions and political beliefs are able to transact through money. In a way, money is a unifying force across borders, languages and many other barriers. However, people also attribute money to the cause of breakdowns in relationship and self.

I have a bad relationship with money. Or rather, I used to have an unhealthy relationship with money. When it comes to money, I have a negative emotional charge to money. Looking back, I will say, there is perhaps a morsel of hatred for money and rich people.

Early days of my 20: "Money is evil"

I used to think that money is evil. I used to think that having money will cause people to do bad things. I used to think that in order to be rich, I need to be unscrupulous and selfish.

It has taken me almost a decade of attending wealth seminars and being constantly broke to realise the fallacy in my perception.

What is money? Fundamentally, money is a construct, albeit a powerful construct. In the book, Sapiens - A brief of history of humankind, Yuval Noah Harari describes the monetary system as a inter-subjective imagined order of humankind. Now before you balk at this statement, here is the following excerpt from the book for some context.

The inter-subjective is something that exists within the communication network linking the subjective consciousness of many individuals. If a single individual changes his or her beliefs, or even dies, it is of little important. However, if most individuals in the network die or change their beliefs, the inter-subjective phenomenon will mutate or disappear. Inter-subjective phenomena are neither malevolent frauds nor insignificant charades. They exist in a different way from physical phenomena such as radioactivity but their impact on the world may still be enormous. Many of history's most important drivers are inter-subjective: law, money, gods, nations.
-- Sapiens, Yuval Noah Harari

Think about it, in the concentration camp during World War II, cigarettes are used as currency.Going way back into historical time, cowry shells and even barley, could be used as a form of currency.

Are they still applicable as currency or money now? No. At least not in the sense in which most of us define currency or money.

Why is that so? Because the collective belief of people have moved away from viewing the aforementioned objects as a measurement of value.

Rebirth: Into blockchain and cryptocurrency

2017. I start to look for ways to make more money. I start to trade cryptocurrency.

I have no understanding of the economics of this relative new wave of digital currency. In fact, I have no knowledge of concept of money or currency beside the fact that it is a daily necessity.

Because of the intersection of finance and technology in the nature of blockchain, I delve deeper into the nuances of money. I start to see the abstract concept behind money. I learn about the historical progression of the evolution of currency.

It is a new world. It is a much needed knowledge injection for me.

Because of the nature of the industry, I meet many bright minds, both opponents and proponents of digital currency.

I am captivated by the promise of blockchain. At the same time, I mull over the repercussion of the accessibility of early stage venture funding to average people like me. I am not savvy. But I make good trades in the beginning.

Blockchain ignited the voracious hunger of seeking out knowledge of understanding how money works. There are still many things that baffled me. Such as how does EU regulate the euros? How does a unifying currency determine and balancs the cost of living and purchasing power when the nations have varying GDP and economies? How, despite surmounting global debt, does the economy seems to seemingly maintain an upward trend?

Exploring the system

I start to learn to see money for what it is.

Fundamentally, money can exist in various formats.

In current context, we have put faith in trust in the numerical value in our bank, the government regulated paper notes and metal coins. We have also accepted the validity of company and market backing the value of the paper and digtial records of liabilities, shares, bonds and etc.

The system exists and thrives because collectively as a species, we human, with our capability for abstract concepts, have determine unconsciously that these will maintain a reliable form of exchange currently and in future. We will trust that in most situations, the agreed exchange will mostly be fair or at least beneficial in some form to us.

While, even if we are skeptical or wary about the whole system, our negative connotations of the system does not resolve our responsibilities to conform to the system.

Money has no emotions. People do.

Money does not make a person evil. Money is an enabler. When I start to see money as a form of value exchange, it becomes apparent that an exchange of money can only happen when two or more parties agree upon the amount of money to trade for services or goods.

We anthropomorphize money, just like we do to animals, gods, or even inanimate items we own.

There are circumstances which restrict the mobility of people to transcend financial strata. Circumstances like bad GDP, inadequate social spending and stretched family resources. In such cases, when one is almost, unfortunately, condemn to a lifetime of abject poverty, the lack of money influences and triggers certain unwise monetary behavior.

However, for most of us who are living in first-world country, we have access to opportunities. And we have the capacity and possibility to change our circumstances.

We could then perhaps ask ourselves this question, because the fact that we are born or live in a country with better resources, are we by definition more evil than our counterparts living in more dire situations?

For me, I look at reality in the face and smash the restricting monetary beliefs that hold me back.

What about you? What are your viewpoints of money? I'll love to hear what you think.

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