Image credit: Topato
What purchases did you make today? What stores did you go to? Perhaps you bought food at the grocery store. Think about your feelings as you shopped and paid for that food. Was your mind filled with thoughts such as these?
- Ugh, the price of milk just keeps going up. Somebody has got to do something about this; it’s just milk!
- Why does organic food have to cost so much? These organic carrots look just like those regular carrots.
- I’ll never be able to afford T-bone steak.
- Why do I always have to wait in line? Can’t they figure out how to get people out of here more efficiently?
How did it make you feel? Was it a happy experience??
Pay Your Bills With Gratitude
Many years ago I read some financial advice that changed me. It was a simple, seemingly inconsequential suggestion from Suze Orman that I “pay my bills with gratitude”. It sounded crazy. At that point, paying bills meant feeling like I didn’t have enough money and never would, that I could never do anything fun because I had to spend all my money just for basic survival. So, I took the advice, figuring things couldn’t get any worse and it didn’t cost anything or even take any extra time.
The next time I paid my bills I dutifully thought “I’m glad I have electricity in my home to run my air conditioner and dishwasher.” “Thank you for providing me with TV service so that I can learn and be entertained.” “Thank you for picking up my trash so it doesn’t pile up around my home.”
While the thoughts I was forcing were just that–forced (and somewhat laced with sarcasm), they did begin to change my feelings as I paid bills. I began to be grateful for money– for the money I had coming in as well as the money I exchanged for the services I was enjoying. This gratitude spilled over into my everyday life as I began to notice the blessings in my life that I had taken for granted: when I came in from the hot outdoors into my cool air conditioned house, I was grateful. When I toted my heavy trash can out to the curb, I was grateful. When my old car got me to and from the places I wanted to be, I was grateful I didn’t have to walk. I began to see abundance in my life that I had never noticed before.
It’s counter intuitive, but if you’ve experienced living with gratitude compared with living with indifference or anger, you understand the difference I am writing about. I am a happier and better person with gratitude. You can be too.
“When you are grateful fear disappears and abundance appears.”
For so many of us, dealing with money means dealing with emotions such as guilt, shame, anger, and fear. Think about the shopping trip mentioned earlier and the negative feelings associated with it. How would your experience have changed if you replaced those feelings with thoughts like these?
- I’m so grateful I have a cart and don’t have to carry all this stuff.
- It is so convenient for me to buy produce, dairy products, meat, and household items all at the same store.
- I am so glad we have people who are willing to take the risk of farming, putting in long hours and depending on the mercy of the weather to bring in a good crop and provide us with fruits and vegetables and grains.
- Wow, these grapes came all the way from Chile. A lot of coordination went on to get them here, in this nice little bag, basically clean and ready to eat.
Can you see where I’m going with this? Does it change your perspective on grocery shopping?
Fear simply cannot coexist when gratitude is introduced. Your mind cannot simultaneously have thoughts of never being able to afford T-bones and gratitude for farmers and ranchers. The negative emotions you associate with money are actually banished with gratitude.
You can feel gratitude all day long when dealing with money. If you’re picking up a newspaper, buying a new car or filling your car with gasoline, stop and consider how many people and how many systems are necessary to get products from their raw form to the state in which you purchase them. It’s a bit awe inspiring.
How do you feel now?
Are you convinced you’d like to try to experience more gratitude in your life? Perhaps you don’t believe it can make that big of a difference. Maybe you think your relationship with money is fine–your financial life is not plagued by negative emotions. Wherever your feelings fall in this spectrum, I have some exercises that will make a difference in your life. Tune in Monday for some simple ideas that cost nothing and take only a few moments of your time, but will return a life where “fear disappears and abundance appears.”Subscribe to the Butler Project's RSS Feed and get fresh content as soon as it's posted.