Being Ethical ≠ Being Peaceful
Being ethical with money is not enough: you have to be in alignment with money inside yourself in order to feel peaceful about it. It’s strange that you can be ethical yet not feel peaceful with money. Yet you’ll notice it’s true if you observe your own thought, beliefs, and actions around money. Many’s the time you’ve done the right thing with money yet you still felt queasy and awful about it.
Integrity is Head + Heart + Gut Agreement
To be in alignment inside yourself means there’s agreement among your head, heart, and gut. Your gut gives you the quickest read when you are out of alignment. That’s why I use nausea, queasiness, wanting to throw up so freely as an indicator of alignment. You can tell right away how your gut feels about just about anything if you’re paying attention to your body signs at all. But don’t skip to the end right away (where I talk about the gut). I want you to understand how all three parts of you talk to each other–the gut just talking the loudest.
So below you’ll find the simple three-part checklist I use with myself in making money decisions. I start with head first because the head is where most of us live when it comes to money.
1. Ethical is Head Agreement
Let’s assume you did the right thing with money. For example, you gave away money to a cause you believed in. You paid someone what their work was worth. You charged someone what your work was worth. And still, you felt like throwing up. You decidedly do not feel peaceful, even though you know you behaved ethically. At least your mind is at ease: your rational thoughts about money and your actions with it are in alignment.
2. Heart Agreement is Not Necessarily Head Agreement
Here’s the deal: even when you behave ethically with money, you may have a whole bunch of negative feelings that linger afterward. You may feel you paid too much, charged too much or gave away too much. This feeling doesn’t make it true by your mind’s rational standards. But it does mean your heart is out of alignment with your head. Your feelings in this case run counter to and may even contradict your rational thoughts about money.
Have you noticed this? You may firmly and clearly believe it is right to charge $___ per hour for your services but when you charge that much, you feel scared. Or you know that the market for a haircut means your haircutter is not gouging you yet you feel angry about the cost of the haircut. Or you donated just what you had set aside to your favorite nonprofit, but a sadness arose when you sent off the check rather than satisfaction. (You might even have felt both sad and satisfied!)
These are observations I have made in myself and heard from others. We will blog in more detail about the reasons they happen in the future. For now, I want to encourage you to observe your own rational thoughts and feelings–without needing them to agree. I want to create and offer you the space to notice and talk about them here in comments to this blog post, and even with me as your coach.
3. Gut Agreement: The Bottom Line
Your gut may not be extremely refined about it, but it speaks loud and clear. Let’s assume you took ethical action with money. You know that all that means is you did what you rationally thought was right. Now let’s assume that your heart agreed. But you are listening to your gut, and your gut’s still not happy. You feel queasy in fact. What is up?
For me, what’s up is deep resistance to releasing or accepting money. My first guess would be that the resistance arose in response to something when you were small and not in charge of the money in your world. But you know, if it makes you want to throw up, pay attention!
Fear, anger, or sadness are heart-level feelings.
Terror, rage, and grief are gut-level emotions.
The gut does not lie if we listen to it. Terror especially can arise easily and commonly around money when we are small, and continue when we are grown even when we behave with money in ways we know are rationally correct and believe in our hearts are right.
Peaceful is Heart + Gut + Head Agreement
Let me say: do not suddenly let your gut make all your money decisions just because “the gut does not lie”! A terrified gut is a very poor financial advisor. It can lead you to overspend addictively or to hoard. Both may make a terrified gut feel “safe”!
Likewise, a sad heart is a poor financial advisor. And you know what? A self-righteously correct mind is also a dreadful financial advisor.
I believe agreement among head, heart, and gut is what makes us peaceful with money.
How to achieve this? Stay tuned for more blog posts in near future, and let us know what your questions are.