Money, Ego, and Relationships
Money and relationships don't always work in harmony, especially when the ego is involved. Learn to navigate them with a little humility, gratitude, respect, and responsibility.
It’s said that money is one of the biggest challenges in relationships; however, it’s not just the lack of money that causes problems. The role of the ego in the handling of money is also capable of challenging, if not destroying, our relationships.
Here are some reminders for maintaining healthy fiscal relationships with your loved ones, business associates, and with yourself. These golden rules can take you much farther than simple riches can.
When someone gives you something, or some kindness, always find ways to return that kindness. Return on investment doesn't have to always be money. It can be respect, time, communication, or assistance. If someone cooks for you, offer to clean for them. If someone loans you their car, fill it with gas, wash it, and communicate gratitude and respect. If someone tithes their time, knowledge, or money to you or gives you a place to stay, go overboard in trying to return the investment. A little effort, gratitude, respect, responsibility, and communication go a long way.
Do everything in your power to avoid debt. It racks up. It is sneaky. It follows you and it can destroy relationships, businesses, and your happiness.
[Read more about mindful money management.]
The most important present is being present. Even expensive gifts, when given without a personal connection, can feel empty. Time, attention, thoughtfulness, and interest in someone else go a long way.
Be humble. While the ego’s mission is trying to protect you, it rarely does so in a healthy way. If you let your ego run your relationships, you will always hit the metaphorical iceberg.
When it comes to your parents (and perhaps your spouse), keep in mind that the people who raised you or supported you did so in the hopes that you would exceed them, not so that you would judge them. In fact, they likely sacrificed what they would have or could have done, investing everything they had in making sure you had what you needed so that you would excel. Lift them up, or simply accept them without judgment.
Spiritual ego is the worst and most dangerous kind. Spiritual ego fools you into thinking you’re better than others. Spiritual ego on a large scale is what causes wars and holocausts, and on a smaller scale encourages prejudice and destroys relationships. It helps to remember that Spirit can hide in unique and clever costumes and those you judge may well have the most to teach you.
When someone talks about the virtues of Jesus or Buddha, they may push others away. However, when they behave with the virtues of Jesus or Buddha they draw people in. Similarly, when someone talks about the importance of money, behaving with integrity and having clear communication, they may intrigue others with these principles. But when someone actually demonstrates the value of a financial agreement, the ability to handle money, and shows respect in their communication, they do far more to spread the message than talk ever will. Talking without the walking only creates distrust and disbelief.
Money is worthless if you haven't treated others with respect, gratitude, and kindness. You may hit the target of being a millionaire, but you will miss the bull's-eye of integrity, self-mastery, happiness, and being a good human being. “Being good,” speaks far louder than “looking good.” Always leave others feeling better from your presence than feeling worse.
Seek gratitude, kindness, respect, friendship, humility, health, mindfulness, and love. The money will follow. Maybe, the money won’t even be so necessary.
For more from Eve Hogan, read “Steering a Relationship on the Rocks.”