As promised…here is Part 2: Your Money Story…Pack it with Power…written by Denis Ledoux of The Memoir Network.
AND be sure to stay tuned in to your email…under separate cover I will be sending out an invitation to my 2 hour Tele-Class Event–“3 Simple Steps to Unleashing Money Miracles: Co-Creative Writing”. I had run this event a few weeks ago and it received such a positive response that I am offering it again in celebration of the New Year! Happy writing!
Who’s Telling Your Money Story? …written by Denis Ledoux
Every money story is told from a point of view. When you read this, you might have thought: “Yes! from my point of view.” Yes, of course, the story is about your experience and so it is necessarily from your point of view. But…
There is another more subtle aspect to the concept of point of view. That aspect is: Which “you” is telling your money story?
Haven’t we all had the experience of coming up with conflicting points of view to a problem: “One part of me wanted to do this but another part of me wanted to do that.” We might call these different inner parts of “you” the experience’s “points of view.” So, we might say, “One point of view (one part of me) wanted to spend the bonus on a trip to Puerto Rico to sit in the sun but another point of view was insisting, ‘Save that money for furniture for your new apartment.’ ”
Point of view is governed by archetype
These parts which, as a writer, I have called “points of view” have also been given other labels. Jungian psychologists work with the term archetypes. Archetypes, according to the psychologist Carl Jung, are imprints on our psyches (our non-theological souls) that lead us to react in certain ways as a means of fulfilling something within us. (I know this is vague, but bear with me.)
Archetypes can be roughly thought of as “hardwiring” or “instincts.” Just as homing pigeons go back to their homes, we return incessantly to certain home responses in our everyday living. Somebody near us says or does a certain something and we go into a rage or into a depression. “I couldn’t help myself,” we might say. “Something made me do it.”
Archetypes govern how we habitually respond, day after day, over the years.
The something that “made me do it” is what Jung called archetypes—an unconscious stimulus that can control our ”conscious” lives. (I place conscious in quotes because of how “conscious” can our lives be if they are driven by primitive impulses! I hope this article will help bring the primitive unconscious to consciousness.
My bonus-money example may seem to emphasize that archetypes control everything about how you responded today to this or that stimulus—but, perhaps you simply had a cold and that affected your reactions. Archetypes, on the other hand, govern our reactions not only today but over time. You—and I—have responded in similar fashion to similar stimuli—today, last year, 20 years ago.
Archetypes and your money story
Archetypes can govern and dominate us or we can become conscious of them and put a stop to being buffeted by reactions that don’t work for us.
Let’s look at the hypothetical money story above about spending bonus money and let’s make as if it were your story. The reasons—the archetypes in play and in battle with one another—that were causing you to have a conflict can be multiple. (The psyche is never simple.) I’ll just offer a few possible causes for the sake of this article. Sorry: it is you who will have to do the real work!
In understanding the operative archetypes of the bonus-money story, you’d have to ask yourself what the impetus behind “spend the bonus on a trip to Puerto Rico to sit in the sun.” If your feeling is that the money will be swallowed up soon by the daily demand on your income so you might as well spend it on a trip, you are probably a person who feels overcome. (Perhaps you have a “unfortunate weak me” archetype.) Perhaps you have lost your joie de vivre. You might be said to be reacting from the point of view of a person who is beaten down, a victim, a fallen warrior. (Are you the “no bounce left to her curls” woman?) Let your imagination wander until you find a name / label that feels right to you for the archetypal response you have had. The name you come up with can be that of a Greek god, a cartoon character or simply a type (the “no bounce left to her curls” or “the old lady with worn heels”).
Of course, you may simply have a lot of cash on hand and the few thousand dollars on the trip are insignificant for you and you don’t have to give “affordability” much thought. Perhaps you have had skin cancer and “sensible you” is reasonably resisting “carpe diem” you.
“Save that money for furniture for your new apartment” may come from a point of view that is full of practicality and it does not lead to thinking the person is brimming with a sense of adventure. Perhaps the archetype here is that of the plodder, the foot soldier, the home nester. Alternately, you may have a sense that you did not deserve the money and might in fact be fired any time once the boss finds out what a loser you are. Here obviously a different archetype would be in effect.
Scrutinize beyond today into your past.
To continue the archetype point of view, if you look into your past you will find similar feelings / reactions characterizing many of your memories. If you were emotionally or actually abandoned as a child—or perhaps experienced the death of parents—you might react to life as an orphan—always feeling that you are without community, roots, or support. In this case, it is possible you will clutch to money as a salvation., a security. And, then, perhaps you feel money will always elude you anyway and so you might as well spend it while you have it. You might forsake advice or community because as an orphan you might feel you cannot have a supportive community that might help you with money.
Another person might have been traumatized by childhood poverty and so might relate to money in a victim role. The victim archetypes would lead her to say: “No matter what I do or save, it will not make a difference.” This might be the impetus for a person spending money on a trip rather than on furniture.
Similar circumstances can evoke very different reactions from apparently similar people according to the archetype a person is living under.
Study the topic more
Books can be, and have been, written around this topic of archetypes serving as a point of view out of which lives are viewed. As you write your money story, look carefully into what feelings surround the telling of your story. Do you feel powerful or do you feel weak? Do you feel adult serious or do you feel childlike? Give these feelings names and then as you continue to write, you can ask yourself: Do I want “scared little girl” to be telling my money story? Would “aware adult with power” be a better choice?
Exercise: Steps to become conscious of money archetypes—and thus of your point of view
1. Give a label to the feeling / reaction you have around your money issue(s). While Jung, who developed the concept of archetype, used mostly Greek and Roman mythological stories to identify archetypes, you can use any character label you want: from a cartoon (Daffy Duck), a novel (Scarlet O’Hara), a legend (Sleeping Beauty), or from your own imagination (the old lady with rounded heels).
2. Separate the past from the present. Write how you think the archetype was activated n your life. Make of list of the reasons the operative archetype is not useful for you in the present, of the ways it is not true today. You might include here: professional competence, another time when you managed money well, other people’s responses to you.
3. Reread something you have written that includes a money story. Analyze the piece for archetypes that governed your point of view.
4. While you cannot change the facts, you can change the point of view from which the story is told. Choose another archetype—point of view—to tell your story. (Presumably the new point of view is positive!) Rewrite your story from that point of view.