Breaking the Cycle

We won the Lotto! 

True, we only won $7 on Tuesday, but still, it was a win!

Like many people, Craig and I are trying to win at Mega Millions, in the hopes of making our financial situation better.  We have a few sets of numbers that we play for four drawings at a time.  And we’re also using things we learned in The Secret to help send positive energy out into the universe to expedite our request for extra money.  So, while it might sound silly, we both jumped for joy that we won this week.

Sometimes you have to do what might seem silly in order to break out of a cycle.  Especially if it’s a cycle of a belief that you’ve had since childhood.  For the first couple decades of our lives, we look to our parents (and other adults) to help shape our beliefs.  It’s not until we get out on our own that we start discovering whether or not we truly agree with those beliefs.

Craig was recently talking about how his father believed that you couldn’t be an artist and be successful.  Since Craig hopes to be an animator at Pixar one day, he’s had a war between that opinion and his lifelong dream going on in his head.  But now that he actually sees the war, he’s able to make changes in his attitude that will help bring his dream to fruition.

My own father looked down his nose at anything he deemed “snooty”; probably because he felt inadequate around money, or people with it.  I remember taking him out to lunch at Olive Garden years ago.  I had recently been introduced to the chain, and loved their never-ending salad and breadsticks, so I wanted to share it with my dad (who truly enjoyed all-you-can-eat places).  At the end of the meal, he honestly said something about how ritzy and expensive the place was.  Olive Garden???  Really?  I realize it’s not a salad at McDonald’s, but I wouldn’t have equated either of his adjectives with the restaurant.

But it’s not just my dad’s view.  I think there’s an unspoken belief in many middle-class families that, if you have a lot of money, you’re either dishonest, cruel, or only interested in money.  Over the years, I’ve grown to question that opinion, and have come to the conclusion that it’s an unhealthy concept.  I am now working hard to change those thoughts in myself, as is Craig.  Hence the celebration of winning $7.

There are some who like to throw around the quote “money is the root of all evil”.  But the thing is, the actual wording was “The love of money is the root of all evil”.  There’s a big difference there.  Just because you have money, doesn’t mean you “love” it.  And just because you want more money than you might have right now doesn’t mean you’re willing to obtain it in dishonest ways.  True, some people might be of that ilk, but not everyone.  Certainly not me.

It’s hard though, breaking out of a belief cycle that was passed on to you by your parents, and their parents, and so on, but I think it’s very necessary to do just that.  Gene Hackman in Postcards From the Edge had a great speech that touches on it:

She did it to you and her mother did it to her and back and back and back all the way to Eve and at some point you just say, “Fuck it. I start with me.”

The quote is a little out of context, but I think it still holds true of the beliefs we inherent from our families.  While I realize that my financial situation isn’t the fault of my parents (or anyone but myself, for that matter), breaking out of a belief that I learned from others takes a lot of effort.  First, I had to find the courage to admit that I wanted more money.  Then, I had to take an honest look at myself and realize that I’m a good person, and having more money won’t change me inherently.  All that will happen is I’ll have more financial freedom to go after the other things I want in life.

Bring it on!

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4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Craig
    Feb 03, 2012 @ 09:14:20

    Amen. It’s really difficult when you grow up, not necessarily being taught, but just living the fact that ‘rich people’ are different. They are the ‘other’. Meaning, not you. So you never imagine that you could be one of the rich people. So you live your life adding in built-in limitations to keep you just where you are in the financial scheme of things. Where you’re comfortable. Because you just can’t see yourself with the kind of money the ‘wealthy’ have. As if, somehow it’s a bad thing, and they are bad. And of course, you don’t want to be a bad person, so you sabotage yourself without even knowing it. Well, nertz to that. It’s about time I imagine myself with the amount of money that makes me comfortable and provides me with the opportunity to do the things in life that make me happy. “Struggling” is a way to keep you where you are, and has turned into a perverse way of getting notoriety or admiration from others at how well we cope with it. Life can (and will) be lived just fine being financially comfortable, while all our dreams come true. You can take THAT to the bank.

    Reply

    • Alyx Morgan
      Feb 03, 2012 @ 09:58:06

      Thank you for explaining that it’s not even a belief that we’re consciously taught, Craig. I failed to convey that aspect of it, so I’m glad you did, & very succinctly, too.

      Thanks for stopping by & WooHoo! Let’s change this cycle! 🙂

      Reply

  2. Charity
    Feb 03, 2012 @ 18:04:13

    Really nice piece Alyx, on so many levels. Not the least of which is the continued improvement in the quality of your writing! And by the way, I got the point that certain beliefs are not consciously taught – but I still enjoyed reading Craig’s expansion on your theme.

    Reply

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