Is it hard for you to quit worrying about money, even if you’re in good financial shape? Could a lack of money be related to a lack of self-worth, including internalized homophobia? These questions may be difficult to answer, but it’s worth a try.
People with money problems tend to fall in two major camps. There are those who have money but worry about losing it. This group is inclined to worry about more than just their finances.
Money often represents security, and a good retirement fund, for example, can offer it. But you have to ask yourself what’s really going on if you’re constantly concerned about losing your money. It’s often a deeper issue, and you have to examine yourself to find out what’s really going on.
People in the second group – who have chronic financial difficulties – tend to have other problems that they should be worried about. For instance, many people who avoid doing their taxes and are late on monthly payments tend to avoid other responsibilities, such as keeping up on car maintenance, attending to medical problems, and completing tasks. Some people in this group might be dealing with problems related to drugs or alcohol, gambling, or overeating.
If this some of what I’m saying seems familiar, it could be because you have a problem with your relationship to money. So what’s holding you back from feeling good about your finances? For one, it’s possible that you say you want financial security, but there’s a basic, underlying belief of unworthiness. If that belief is stronger than the desire for security, your belief in unworthiness will trump your desire.
Another obstacle is the desire “to be rich.” It may mean that there’s an emotional void inside that can’t be filled with money or objects. Research backs me up on this. People who are rich are no happier than people who aren’t. They might be more comfortable when it comes to day-to-day living, but that’s not the same as happiness. Retired people know this too. Surveys show that retired folks value friendships, community, and health over money.
Also, think about what you learned as a child regarding money. Have you heard that “money is the root of all evil?” If you believe that money is dirty, how can you have it without guilt? Besides, the actual quote is “The love of money is the root of evil.” In other words, valuing money over community and other people can lead to a lonely life.
How could internalized homophobia contribute to financial difficulties? Financial problems often originate in the emotional realm, which is where many, if not most, problems with relationships (including the one with money) originate. Does someone who is seen as sick, immoral, or sinful deserve anything of value? Should this person go to college, have a good career, and retire with ample money to live on? While many LGBT people become successful and have financial freedom, many of us delay it until later in life or unfortunately it doesn’t happen at all due to feeling shame about being LGB or T.
As it says in the book “The Nine Steps to Financial Freedom,” financial freedom is not the same as having lots of money. Rather, true financial freedom is not worrying about it. The book offers exercises going back to childhood in order to recall your early experiences with money. You may be surprised at the way that childhood experiences and observations of your parents handling of money influences your financial well-being. We look to our parents as role-models, and if they didn’t take very good care of their financial health, it’s often passed down to us.
It takes work to come to terms with your relationship with money. You have to overcome negative messages in order to feel worthy enough to have financial freedom. However, don’t focus on the financial aspect of your life first; that’s like the tail wagging the dog. Rather, work on accepting yourself as an LGBT person who is worthy of the good things in life: Finding yourself having a few close friends, being with someone, having a sense of community, good health, and work you enjoy combined with self-respect, confidence, and balance. Then you have the potential for true prosperity: Quality of life. Then it’s possible that financial freedom will emerge as part of the overall picture.