It is of them who learned of freedom that you should ask what freedom is. Ask not the sparrow how the eagle soars, for those with little wings have not accepted for themselves the power to share with you. A Course in Miracles
When you have been financially dependent for a longtime, for whatever reason, it is often hard to see a clear path to financial freedom because there are a number of obstacles to overcome along the way.
The most common obstacle? The people around you.
When you are in a dependent situation, the people closest to you have usually been part of the reason for being in the situation and/or have ‘enabled’ you to stay this way. This could be your spouse/partner, children, parents, siblings or other family members; your business partner, boss, co-workers or other colleagues; friends, those that may be in a similar situation, or those that have not been in your situation and don’t understand, or try to; teachers, counselors, therapists and other advisers. You may have a combination of these people impacting on your ability to work toward your financial freedom.
Very often you are dealing with these people on a daily basis, sometimes for a number of hours each day; so how to do you escape this most common obstacle to financial freedom?
- Seek advice from, and even surround yourself with, people that have the skills and mindset that you wish to achieve. By listening to those that DON’T have the mindset you are aiming for; whether it’s regarding how to work toward financial freedom or something else to lead you along the way; you are either getting the wrong advice or, worse, putting yourself out there to be discouraged.
- Join networking groups, online and offline, to build a community of like minded women (and some men :-), at all stages of their careers and mindsets. From this community you can learn, ask advice, find role models and mentors and seek support. Click here to join the WomenPowering Community on Facebook.
- Read, watch and listen – find books, videos, podcasts, live events, etc. featuring people that have the right mindset and skills that you are aiming for.
- Become a mentor for those that also have the same goals and mindset, but are a few steps behind you along the way. This helps to reinforce what you are learning and confidence in yourself — and by giving, you receive!
- Be clear and confident in what you are working toward, even when faced with negative attitudes or comments from those around you.
- Learn to trust and value your own knowledge, ideas and intuition and don’t automatically defer to others’.
- Listen objectively and access if the comments are of use to you or not.
- Do not take the attitude or negativity personally. It’s not about you, it’s about the person (their fear, insecurity, etc.). This can be difficult to put into practice, but it will become more natural in time.
- Be grateful for this person and their attitude and comments. Okay, this can be very hard; but this will make you a stronger person — IF you take it in this light!
On a daily basis, do something that reinforces this mindset so that it becomes easier and easier for you to tap into it when needed.
- Evaluate any current relationships with a negative impact on your life. As harsh as this may seem; just like the clothes in your closet, sometimes you ‘outgrow’ people or a person may never have been a good fit in your life — and you are just seeing it now when you are looking to make changes in your life. As the people around you are key to your ability to reach your goals, it’s important to ensure that only those that are inline with your goals are closest to you and have the ability to impact your progress.
- For each person, or group of people, think about:
- How much the negative behaviors are keeping you from moving forward. Are there any positive behaviors that are benefiting you. Is there a way to change this balance more to the positive?
- How frequent is your interaction with this person? Can you interact less frequently?
- How easily can you change the way you interact with the person?
- What will your life look like with this person still in your life in the same role versus how it will look with this person in your life in a different role or with this person completely out of your life
- Determine if each person is someone that you want to either:
- Keep in your life as he or she currently is — those that are inline with your goals;
- Keep in your life in a different way that is less of an impact on you — those that aren’t exactly inline with your goals, but you are confident that you can still maintain a relationship without them impacting your progress;
- For very close family members, that are likely to always be a part of your life; you may want to consider counselling to improve the relationship.
- For important business relationships you may consider mediation.
- Remove from your life — those that there is no way you can keep them from impacting on your goals.
- You will need to decide if you need to do this immediately or over time.
- You may try to keep the person in your life, as above, but then realize that the relationship is only going to be harmful to your own growth.
- Find an appropriate way to discuss the changes you are making with the relevant people.
- This is not to make excuses or ask for permission, but to communicate, in a matter of fact way, the changes you have made and will be making and what your goals are. You may find you get some great supporters this way.
- Very often, it’s lack of communication that causes others to react negatively and having a discussion may avoid issues altogether.
- The other person may still reactive negatively and, if this is the case, access the relationship and consider the next point.
- For each person, or group of people, think about:
- Do not wait for anyone to change to move forward with your work toward your goals. Very often when you grow intellectually or spiritually you expect, or want, those around you to grow with you; and, if they don’t, you may become impatient and frustrated. In time, your growth will help you to learn and deal with your feelings about this better, but in the meantime, keep in mind:
- One of my greatest things I’ve learned from Eckhart Tolle — that people are only as conscious as they can be at the time. Don’t think that they are trying to hold you back or sabotage your growth. It’s their own growth that is the issue. This thought has saved me a lot of wasted energy on being angry and frustrated with other people.
- Each person is responsible for his or her own growth, you are not responsible for theirs. Even for your children, you can only impact their growth to a certain extent. Look up Dr. Shefali for more on this! Remember what they say in airplane safety announcements: “Put on your own oxygen mask, before you help others.”
- For your own growth and understanding you may wish to look at why the person may have developed this mindset and why they are holding on to it; but do not judge or hope for a different scenario. And it’s not about making excuses for the person, it’s not for you to excuse their behavior, either, but to understand.
- Are you using the feelings about the other person as a delaying tactic instead of addressing another reason you are afraid or uncertain about moving forward? Lack of confidence in yourself to move forward? Lack of confidence in addressing the issues you are having with others?
In The Law of Divine Compensation, Marianne Williamson writes, “From a metaphysical perspective, every experience begins with a thought, and our experience changes when we change the thought. If we have a problem in any area – whether relationships, health, money, or anything else – the first place to look for a solution is in the nature of our thinking.
What is the nature of your thinking? Where can you get the strength to change your thinking to the point that you can see this clearly and take the actions needed in a completely genuine and straightforward manner?
While having a great support network of people around you is important. That is an external factor that you don’t have control over. You only have control over your own thoughts, and that may take some practice. Some feel that their belief in God, whichever manifestation of God they believe in, gives them this strength. Others look to the Universe or to the Soul. Some look outside of themselves, while more and more people are looking within.
You need to find, for yourself, what it is that you truly believe to be your source of strength to move forward. You may be guided to this answer by others, but you need to truly believe, and trust in, what it is for YOU.
Personally, I used to think that truth and hard work were the answer. I have since found that Love is the answer. Whenever I am feeling challenged, whether it’s with myself or another person, if I look at the situation with loving thoughts, I can see my way through. Not romantic love; but agapé, universal, unconditional love; with compassion and empathy. This first came to me when Oprah was interviewing the parents of a 6 year old that was killed in the Sandy Hook school shooting. When she asked them how they could get through such a terrible tragedy and go on to start a charity to help others; one of them said, “Love is the answer. Love is always the answer.” From that time, this thought has guided me.
The teachings of Marianne Williamson and Wayne Dyer have reinforced this with the belief that the opposite of love is not hate, but fear. When I find myself in a situation where I am feeling stressed, upset — fear; I come to see that this is the lack of love and that applying loving thoughts to the situation is the answer — for me.
There’s nothing you can do that can’t be done
Nothing you can sing that can’t be sung
Nothing you can say, but you can learn how to play the game
Nothing you can make that can’t be made
No one you can save that can’t be saved
Nothing you can do, but you can learn how to be you in time
All You Need Is Love, John Lennon / Paul McCartney