It's All About The Money

The attitude that you hold onto surrounding the concept of money plays such a large role in your overall character, doesn't it? I find that I, personally, gravitate toward those who are willing to let go of their hard-earned cash without a second thought, since I can relate to that.  And no, in case you are wondering...I'm not referring specifically to rich people. I've spent most of my life poor.  I've been bankrupt, I've subsisted on peanut butter and Lipton's, and I've paid for gas with exact change.  I'm in a better place now, but even then, if I scraped up some extra cash and wanted a certain pair of shoes?  Well, they were as good as mine. I grew up in a family that put a negative spin on money and affluence.  I think that a lot of people grew up this way.  My siblings and I were always provided for, but money always seemed to be at the forefront of my parents' minds.  There was never enough of it, you had to hold on to it when it came to you, and frivolous spending was frowned upon.  As many do, I veered into a completely opposite direction as I blossomed into adulthood.  To me, money is only worth anything once it's spent.  Otherwise, it is nothing more than a dirty pile of germy green paper.

As a child, I visualized the rich as a completely different breed.  To me, they might as well have been aliens.  In my community, I rarely came across someone who had a lot of money, and the truly rich were discussed with judgment and a certain sense of righteousness: "He comes from money, but he doesn't show it off."  "They're rich, but you'd never know it."  "She's got a lot of money, but she's actually a good person!" (This last always came with that little uplift of surprise at the end, as if being a decent human being and having money were mutually exclusive).

Unfortunately, the attitudes of the community that you are a part of usually rub off on you, at least to some degree.  I didn't grow up to despise the wealthy, but I did begin to wonder if money really does change you.  In the course of my varied, colorful past, I gravitated toward careers that, while emotionally fulfilling, wouldn't have me driving a Benz anytime soon.  I taught, I wrote, I sculpted and painted.  I was happy, but becoming rich wasn't anything I expected or even aspired to.  It simply wasn't a part of my reality.

This anti-money attitude prevailed during grad school; in fact, it intensified.  I think this happens in a lot of holistic health fields.  You're in it to help people, and for some reason people feel the need to choose between altruism and affluence, you are looking for personal satisfaction in your field, you're not in it for the money...right?  But why can't we have both, if we want it?  I remember one if my professors telling me, "You'd better love this medicine.  Because in this field, you'll be happy, but you'll also be poor."

Pardon my language, but what the fuck?  What kind of attitude is that to pass on to a student?  Way to help your students embrace and manifest poverty.  You can make as much or as little as you want to in this field, so why would you want to mentally sabotage your financial success before you treat your very first patient?  There is so much guilt surrounding the concept of affluence, and I have a lot more to say about this, so be sure to check back tomorrow for part 2!

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