Why Is It Taboo To Talk About Money & Success?

Photo by Sam Truong Dan on Unsplash

I rarely use Facebook for personal use anymore, but sometimes when I’m visiting for business purposes, individual posts in my news feed grab my attention. I discovered this one today:

The woman who wrote this is a voice actress, an on-camera actress and has worked other jobs in film and television here in Toronto. Her face has been on TVs all over the world.

For the sake of this post, I’ll call my actress-acquaintance “Rachel”. Rachel was supportive when I commented that her post had given me blogging inspiration, but I still don’t want to reveal names in a post that Rachel filtered to an audience rather than making it public.

What lead up to that post:

Earlier, Rachel posted a few photos with a caption that said, “3 studios in one day……knackered and happy!” It was a suggestion of gratitude. A woman made a rude comment in response. I didn’t see that comment, because it got deleted before I saw any of it. Facebook drama.

This was my response, along with additional commentary:

I’m going to use the space below to unpack my comments, but if you’re a “scan the headings” kind of person, here they are. They work on their own:

  1. Talking about money is still taboo.
  2. It’s best to find gratitude and be happy for others.
  3. Money isn’t good or bad, people are.
  4. Our beliefs and inner dialogue about money begin in childhood.
  5. Don’t project your insecurities onto others.
  6. Allow yourself to “be triggered” & don’t worry about triggering others.
Photo by Kristina Flour on Unsplash

1. Talking about money is still taboo.

Talking about money is still taboo. Money is a part of life.

Maybe if we did talk about money more openly, there would be better financial literacy, less poverty, less money shaming, more pay equality and other positive outcomes.

Photo by Carl Attard from Pexels

2. It’s best to find gratitude and be happy for others

Money triggers people’s insecurities and such, but I think that we should have gratitude for what we have, be happy for people to have anything that makes them happy, and otherwise feel neutral about money.

Why can’t we be happy for others? Why can’t we carry an attitude of gratitude? In the comments below one of her other posts, Rachel shared that there’s enough to go around:

This is the right attitude to have! Rachel has worked hard for decades, and now she gets to share it with others. She gets to share.

You don’t “have to”, you “get to”.

You get back what you put in. When you share, others share. When you step into your light, you permit others to do the same. You don’t “have to”, you “get to”. You get to go outside. You get to interact with the world. You get to go to work. You get to share yourself with your colleagues and customers/clients.

Why? Because we’re grateful and a positive attitude is contagious. A negative attitude is also contagious. You act like you’re in a bad mood, others will get in a bad mood too. We adapt to our surroundings so that we don’t get eaten by predators. We can be the power hub that shares gratitude, positivity and love. →There’s a whole other post in my brain about this. I’ve been mulling it over for nearly two months.

Being happy for others brings happiness.

Photo by Fabian Blank on Unsplash

3. Money isn’t good or bad, people are.

Money’s not intrinsically good or bad.

People have negative attitudes toward money and people to have it. I’ve never understood that. I don’t understand people who judge “rich people” as a whole — strangers — as judgmental. How can you undoubtedly believe that someone you don’t know is judging you?

There are lovely poor people and poor people who as assholes. There are kind rich people and shitty rich people.

I recently heard someone — a Millenial, which might or might not be relevant — complain that her father has lots of money, but she works two jobs. I told her, “His money is his money. You’re an adult. He has no responsibility to support you.” He can choose to but doesn’t need to.

It irritates me when people perpetuate stereotypes, which is why I mentioned that she’s a Millenial. I do see that sense of entitlement in people within a specific age range. Not everyone of course, but that’s the thing about stereotypes; they’re generalizations that apply to some members of a group.

My parents — god bless them — give me $20 or $50 when they can without my asking for it. It’s one of the ways that they demonstrate their love, and it makes them feel good to provide gifts to their adult children. I’m so grateful for it.

However, demonstrations of love and support need not be financial. Teaching one’s daughter or son independence and resilience are demonstrations of love and support.

Honesty, patience, compassion, empathy, praise — all of these demonstrate love and support.

Lead by example. Act as you want your children to act. Be models, because they will model their behaviour on yours.

Parents’ actions can also teach how not to be/act.

Money isn’t intrinsically good or bad, but some people misbehave.

Above I said, “When you step into your light, you give others permission to do the same.” One school of thought is that money is energy, and an exchange of money is an energy exchange. Treat money with love and care.

Photo by Ben Wicks on Unsplash

4. Our beliefs and inner dialogue about money begin in childhood

Everyone has their money story that starts in childhood and how their parents view money influences how they do. I’ve heard that the beliefs of the adults in our lives are imprinted on us in the first five years of life and I’ve heard that it’s the first seven years.

Regardless of which is accurate, the suggestion is that there are several consecutive years in childhood in which we’re most impressionable, and when we internalize our parents’ stories, even if we’re unaware of it or remember those origins as adults. These stories could be about ANYTHING — for example, their finances, marriage, opinions of members of the opposite sex, views about homosexuality, race, body image or material possessions.

I’ve also heard that identity is most influenced between the ages of 6–14 — though as adults we know that we change over time. It’s not easy, but it’s possible.

Some people have been raised to believe that money, or a lack of money is something to be feared. They’ve grown up with a scarcity mindset. Others are raised to think that money can come to them with ease and that opportunities are there if you see them.

I don’t believe that money will automatically come to us if we believe in it and that growing up with money means that we’ll always have it. Life has taught me that. I do think that we tend to see opportunities when we‘re open to seeing them and that the scarcity mindset closes us off. I try to approach life with an abundance mindset and be open, which is difficult when I’m hitting my overdraft limit and rent is due soon. Still, I know that abundance happens because I see examples of it.

Your physical world is affected by your thoughts and beliefs. In many ways, we create our reality, especially when there’s subjectivity or perception involved. Your version of “poor” might not match someone else’s “poor”. Quantifying what’s “enough” varies from person-to-person and fluctuates over time as situations change.

Your attitude is so significant. Or, as I said in a previous post when I quoted Adriene Mishler,

Take responsibility for your vibe here. The pose is one thing, but how you exist in the pose is EVERYTHING.

The “pose” here, is a metaphor for your financial situation.

I knew I’d be able to reuse that one. :)

Photo by Bram. on Unsplash

5. Don’t project your insecurities onto others

People aren’t born snobby or rude. A baby might not like the way you smell, but they don’t know ego-related judgment, and they certainly don’t believe they’re better than you (unless you think that babies are evil, in which case to be clear, I’m talking about babies, not cats :) ).

Our experiences, lessons and beliefs shape our reality. Some truths are absolutes — an apple is an apple — but so much of how we see the world is based on how we were taught to view it. That pear might look like an apple, but it’s still a pear. Teach us love, and we express love. Teach us fear, and we express fear. If the adults in our childhood taught that money is dirty, we believe that money is dirty.

Refer back to point #4 above. Everyone has their money story that starts in childhood.

The person who claims that talking about money is “insensitive” and “tacky” had to have learned that. It can be unlearned if they’re willing.

Years ago on Facebook, I mentioned my dire financial situation and one of the acquaintances that responded expressed that I shouldn’t talk about it.

Again I ask why.

Photo by Donald Giannatti on Unsplash

6. Allow yourself to “be triggered” & don’t worry about triggering others

So many times I’ve written full posts in my head about people being “triggered”. I’ve never gotten it down on a page.

Apologies for this cliche, but you are not a special snowflake. The world is not going to accommodate you because you’re offended.

I am empathetic almost to a fault, and I physically feel other people’s pain and energy, but even I often think, “Oh, for fuck’s sake!” about other people’s sensitivity, and I think, “Suck it up.”

We need to be empathetic, and sensitivity isn’t a bad thing, but we also need to know how to cope in life and give others the opportunity to do so rather than paste trigger warnings all over the place and then call it a day so that people who might experience discomfort can avoid it.

Sometimes a trigger warning is necessary, but I believe in reasonable use.

As I’ve written in the past, we live in a society that denounces discomfort, when we should lean into it. Leaning into it puts you in charge. It’s empowering.

Being triggered can be healthy

Being triggered can be healthy. You know why? It opens us up and provides an opportunity for healing and growth.

Being triggered opens us up and provides an opportunity for healing and growth.

I knew a man who disclosed that he was triggered by the Christmas tree in his workplace because his father died around Christmastime. Buddy, I’m sorry that your dad died, but Christmas isn’t going away, so find a way to face it, whether it’s group support, grief counselling or whatever works for you. It’s not up to me to tell you what will work for you.

More relevant to this date in time, I feel sympathetic towards people who are uncomfortable around Mother’s Day. This time of year can be emotionally difficult for those whose mothers died — regardless of the cause of death or age of mother or child — or those who grew up without a mother, or those children who have miscarried or are infertile. There are plenty more reasons to be sad, for sure. However, as sympathetic as I am toward these people, Mother’s Day isn’t going away either.

Coping skills are an essential part of life.

The world isn’t going to accommodate you.

When you complain about being triggered, it puts the responsibility on another person. No one wants that. You’re making others an unwilling accomplice in the head games that you play with yourself.

We all need to handle our shit. Sometimes we aren’t aware of our triggers until we experience them, and that’s when growth can happen. If someone else’s success, happiness or money triggers you, ask yourself why. Look at your money story and the other tales you tell yourself. Pay attention to your inner dialogue. Lean into it rather than running from it. Avoiding or fighting your inner gremlins will only make them stronger.

Happiness is an inside job.

❓❓What do you think?

P.S. Check out my new mailing list, which at this point will be a list of what I’ve been writing and reading:

Digital Marketing Manager | Freelance Writer | ADHD Coach for adults | Available for hire. http://andreawrites.ca.

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