For most of my life I have had a crappy relationship with money. And like all dysfunctional relationships, it has been mired with hurt, sadness, misunderstanding, distrust, neglect, anger and abandonment.
A few years ago I set out to radically change this relationship. To meet money like the love it actually is in my life, to heal the hurt and find the partnership I knew in my heart was there, underneath.
But let me start at the beginning.
My relationship with money — and maybe you can relate — was a bit like a middle school crush with no hope of reciprocity. Meaning I had it bad for money, and money didn’t seem to know I existed.
I got googley eyes every time I saw money, and secretly fawned over money, but money just went on living and being cool without me.
I tried to get money’s attention, but it always seemed to look the other way. I called its house and hung up twice a week. Too nervous to really talk to it, and absolutely sure I wasn’t good enough to be seen with it. But I kept right on loving it in private, and wishing it would one day realize its mistake in having passed me over…
that it would rush into my world like a good ole’ cheesy Rom-Com, professing its recognition of my wonderfulness, and vowing to stay forevermore.
But that’s not how it went down. The reality was a bit more like the photo that accompanies this article, one hand holding on, the rest of me looking away.
I thought I wanted money, and I did, but what I really wanted was for it to make me finally, finally, feel enough.
I wanted it to make me feel all the things that we want crushes we can’t have to make us feel… like we are loved, and worthy, and amazing, and enough. I wanted it to sweep me off my feet, and fill my void, and make me safe from the hauntings of my own mind and its habitual patterns of worry and lack.
And like all unrequited loves…
it couldn’t do that.
But NOT because it didn’t love me… but because it was just waiting patiently for me to learn to love myself.
It wasn’t until I recognized my OWN dysfunctional part in the relationship, that the relationship started to heal. And when I really saw that.. it turned the whole thing upside down.
Here I was thinking I was the one being treated like an object, like a hollow thing that can be used to prop someone up and then disregarded and ignored when it’s not convenient for them or makes them look good. Here I was thinking that I was the one who was not cherished as I am, and never good enough. Here I was thinking I was the one that was objectified and made into an embarrassment, when the WHOLE TIME it was ME who was doing those very things to money.
Seeing this truth took my breath away. It flipped on the switch and I was standing there looking at the truth…
that it was me not loving money,
not money not loving me.
It had been there the whole time, sometimes less, sometimes more, sometimes way less, sometimes way more, it had been there feeding me, clothing me, sheltering me since the day I was born. No matter the condition, no matter the amount… it was there.
It was there, meeting my needs. While I constantly yearned for it, scolded it for not being enough, and called it names behind its back. While I demonized it in one breath, and then exalted it in the next, while I made it good and bad, and right and wrong, and all matter of other things in my mind.
It was there. Just there. Loving me anyway.
So we sat there, me and money, face to face and eye to eye, and I told it that I was sorry. Sorry I had not seen all this, sorry I had blamed it and not looked at what it had been trying to show me all along in the hundred million ways it tried to do so…
to show me that my feelings about it are just a reflection of my own self worth, and my own deep wounds of insufficiency. And as I finally begin to see and feel that sufficiency, I finally see what is already here with new eyes, and what is already here, now flourishes.
I thought money wouldn’t truly own me,
but the truth was I wouldn’t own it.
I used it in the very same way I thought it was attempting to use me, as a boost, or a life raft, or security blanket to protect me from feeling the realities of the world. I thought it refused to see the miracle of me, but it was me refusing to see the miracle of it (and of me, through it).
In a REAL relationship, both parties do their part. Both can love and lift eachother up, cheer eachother on and support eachother, but one can NEVER replace the others own sense of inherent sufficiency and worth, and one cannot carry the other entirely.
That is true partnership.
Money can often take the shape of real-life monsters for us… our relationship to it can often resemble the most painful relationships we’ve been a part of in our lives. But all of those relationships boil down to the one we choose to have with ourselves. We don’t get to make that choice as children, but we do when we’ve grown up.
So I choose to have a different relationship with money, as a direct result of the different relationship I’ve chosen to have with myself.
In this relationship I will be a true partner. And what that means to me is this:
- Iwill truly see, and hear money as it is, and recognize it in all the ways it shows up in my life and world.
- I will be attentive to, and appreciative of, the things it does, and the ways it moves and IS.
- I will admire its strengths and weaknesses, and accept them all as part of its being.
- I will acknowledge and appreciate its presence in my life, and the gift that it is to me, and everyone I love.
- I will take care of it, support it and foster it where I can, and know it is perfectly capable of taking care of itself where I cannot.
- I will allow it its moods and its timing (just as I do my husband or child).
- I will give it the benefit of the doubt. I will assume its best intentions, and remember all the times and ways its cared for me.
- I will SHARE it with others, both in thought and in deed, I will not be ashamed to talk about it or show it proudly.
- I will not hide it away in shame any longer.
- I will not accuse it of not being enough, or of being too much, any longer.
- I will accept and embrace its mysteries and imperfections as part of its great gift in my life.
- I will love it fully, and appreciate it wildly so that it may grow and be a beacon unto others. I will be there for it, come what may.
See that list? Now go back to #1 and read it again, except this time replace money with YOURSELF. 👆
Did you do it? DO. NOT. SKIP. THIS.👆 (I’ll wait)
Okay fine, I’ll do it for you…
- I will truly see, and hear me as I am, and recognize myself in all the ways I show up in my life and the world.
- I will be attentive to, and appreciate of, the things I do, and the way I move and AM.
- I will admire my strengths and weaknesses, and accept them as part of my being.
- I will acknowledge and appreciate my presence in this life, and the gift that I am to me, and everyone I love.
- I will take care of me, support me, and foster me where I can, and know I am perfectly capable of receiving care where I cannot.
- I will allow my moods and my timing.
- I will give myself the benefit of the doubt. I will assume my best intentions, and remember all the times and ways I’ve cared for myself and others.
- I will SHARE myself with others, both in thought and in deed. I will not be ashamed to talk bout myself or show me proudly.
- I will not hide in shame any longer.
- I will not accuse me of not being enough, or of being too much, any longer.
- I will accept and embrace my mysteries and imperfections as part of my great gifts in life.
- I will love me fully, and appreciate me wildly, so that I may grow and be a beacon unto others. I will be here for me, and with me, come what may.
You see? You see how beautiful that is?
I believe it is part of my calling in life to heal the relationship between people and money, by healing the relationship between people and themselves.
And of course that calling begins with me doing that. ❤️
Me and money have been on quite a ride together. And my gratitude for that ride is overflowing.
The dysfunctional relationship with money in our society has thrived on shame and distance and taboo, it has thrived on judgement, misunderstanding and miscommunication.
Things thrive in the dark when they’re KEPT IN THE DARK, and that’s why I for one am coming OUT of that dark with money. When we claim sufficiency, in and of ourselves, we CREATE sufficiency in our world.
So… hi, my name is Sunni Chapman, and I love money, and money loves me. We got a pretty good thing going, me and money. We’re a partnership. Sometimes we’re super close, and sometimes there’s distance, sometimes we’re there for eachother big, and sometimes in just the small ways, but we always got eachothers backs. We support eachother, we take care of eachother, and in our doing so, we uplift and nourish countless others too.
This is the way of the future.
To mend these relationships and DARE TO THRIVE until it tips the balance in this world. Until the old paradigm with money all comes crashing down.
Let’s create the time and space and CONNECTION we want to feel with money, instead of waiting for money to create that time and space and connection in us.
Who’s with me?