“Do you offer discounts to people in the building?” She looked up from the yoga brochure I’d handed her.
“No. I’m already offering my classes for less than the average drop-in rate around town. With the small class sizes and individual attention, it’s a fair rate.” Actually, it’s a steal, I thought. I teetered on the edge of feeling offended.
In the past, I would have scolded myself for the egoic reaction, however, now I know that’s not where it comes from. I’ve worked hard to get to this point. The hours of study, practice and experience, they’ve culminated in an understanding—I am worth it.
Money and I have had an avoidant relationship, in love and in work.
As a teenager, I assisted in my father’s office during the summers. A shadow of guilt stalked me as I helped the front office gals file charts and seal envelopes. They worked so hard and here I was, the privileged daughter coming in, treating their livelihood like an extracurricular activity.
From the time I understood the power of currency, I’ve been bashfully ashamed of coming from a well-off family. Why me? Why not her, who clearly has a fiercer work ethic than I do and three mouths to feed?
Those thoughts haunted me into adulthood, where I continued to live a charmed, married life, abashedly. I was taken care of. I still am in many ways, but now it’s on my shoulders to carry a household and pay the bills. So then, why haven’t I allowed most men I’ve dated to pay for my meal? Or, when I ask my children’s father to split the cost of a birthday party, why do I feel guilt clenching her hands around my gut? Even when the child support check comes in each month, I think: this is far too generous, how can I accept this?!
I was self-worth poor, and that was not providing for anyone.
So, I made a decision to stop living in a fractured state of insecurity. It was a choice. The ‘why me?’ is a self-indulgent distraction from serving the greater good, and I simply can’t afford to live in that place.
I still don’t know why I was blessed with a financial cushion, but I do understand more and more, that money can either be used to support our soul’s purpose, or destroy it.
My parents didn’t spend money on fancy cars, or designer labels, or lavish meals out; they worked hard and used their resources to live comfortably and invest in our education and our exposure to the world. How they valued their resources has guided me to accept money’s role in my life, which is meant to support my purpose: to serve others and help them through their own guilt, shame and grief.
I do it every day in my practice as a yoga teacher and writer. And, if I don’t declare the worth of my services, how am I supposed to continue to do my job, if I can’t pay my rent, or feed my children, or take more trainings to become a better teacher, or even enjoy a meal out with friends and share a good laugh?
Money is not destructive unless we choose to use it in a destructive, impure way. Money is harmful when it’s used for things that cause distress to our spirits, our bodies and our minds.
When I am involved in a monetary exchange, I am conscious. I am aware of why it is happening. And, I ask myself:
Will this exchange help me continue to do my job well and care for my family?
Or, is it an unnecessary exchange, one that is not in support of who I am and what I’m meant to do?
Not claiming or accepting what you’re worth, has the same damaging effect as accepting a monetary exchange that is impure. Discounting ourselves for someone else’s benefit, who does not recognize our value is destructive. However, the people who do value you will make sure to support you, so that you may continue to serve.
But first, you need to believe you’re worth it, and say it out loud. ~Rebecca