Re­la­tion­ship with

Focus of SWFL - - Beauty & Style - 72 FO­CUS of SWFL 2014

And in the cor­po­rate world: Ev­ery­one has a re­la­tion­ship with money, but for women, it’s much more fraught with emo­tion, says Mer­i­flor Toneatto. When we avoid and ig­nore those emo­tions, we al­low them to qui­etly guide our decision-mak­ing – which in­evitably holds us back. “Un­der­stand­ing our emo­tions, fears and doubts about money and how they af­fect our be­hav­ior can help us heal them so we can ex­pe­ri­ence fi­nan­cial and per­sonal free­dom,” says Toneatto, an en­tre­pre­neur, cer­ti­fied business and life coach, and au­thor of “Money, Man­i­fes­ta­tion & Mir­a­cles: 8 Prin­ci­ples for Trans­form­ing Women’s Re­la­tion­ship with Money,”. “For women, money is an emo­tional cur­rency. It’s tied to our sense of self-worth and self-con­fi­dence, and our feel­ings of safety and se­cu­rity. Th­ese feel­ings of­ten trans­late into self-lim­it­ing de­ci­sions.” The ef­fect can be pro­found. Con­sider fe­male en­trepreneurs: “The num­ber of women-owned U.S. busi­nesses is grow­ing 1.5 times faster than the na­tional av­er­age, but a 2013 re­port found that they’re still con­tribut­ing less than 4 per­cent of over­all business rev­enues, about the same as in 2007,” Toneatto says. “Our busi­nesses are smaller be­cause we’re less likely than men to bor­row in or­der to ex­pand. We’re afraid to take fi­nan­cial risks,” she says cit­ing a U.S. Depart­ment of Com­merce re­port. Women com­prise half the work­force, yet hold the majority of lower-wage jobs in the United States, ac­cord­ing to the 2014 State of the Union ad­dress. What are the emo­tions shap­ing so many of our de­ci­sions? Toneatto cites five: • Fear: The most common emo­tion among women is fear. With money, we fear not hav­ing enough of it; that some­one will take it; that we’ll lose it all and never get it back. Nearly half of all U.S. women fear be­com­ing a “bag lady” – in­clud­ing those in house­holds earn­ing more than $200,000 a year – ac­cord­ing to the 2013 Women, Money and Power Study. And we fear an abun­dance of money. We may fail to ne­go­ti­ate a higher salary be­cause we fear we can’t live up to it. Suc­cess­ful women may be re­luc­tant to reach higher be­cause we fear fail­ure -- and los­ing it all. Th­ese fears of­ten have roots in sit­u­a­tions we were ex­posed to grow­ing up, and feel­ings of vul­ner­a­bil­ity and self-worth. They send a strong sig­nal that we need to root out their source and heal it. • Guilt: Peo­ple who say things like, “I feel guilty when I spend in­stead of save” or “I never buy any­thing un­less it’s on sale” have guilt feel­ings as­so­ci­ated with money. Th­ese, too, are of­ten rooted in the fears and mes­sages we saw and heard in child­hood about not hav­ing enough money. Many of us are nat­u­ral nur­tur­ers who’ve got­ten the mes­sage that “good” women are self­less, and so we may freely, even reck­lessly, spend on oth­ers while with­hold­ing from our­selves. • Shame: This painful emo­tion cuts to the core be­cause it springs from how we feel about who we are – whether we’re “good enough,” wor­thy and de­serv­ing. We avoid talk­ing about shame, and so it ex­erts con­trol over us. With money, shame is com­monly con­nected to amass­ing a lot of debt and hid­ing it be­cause we fear be­ing judged, hu­mil­i­ated, and dis­liked. • Anger: This emo­tion re­pels money, op­por­tu­ni­ties and peo­ple be­cause it can leave us closed off emotionally and phys­i­cally from oth­ers. It’s based in a belief in the un­fair­ness of life and/or the un­fair­ness of money. A per­son who be­comes angry about money may be angry at her­self for miss­ing an op­por­tu­nity or for mis­han­dling money in the past. Anger can lead to trust is­sues and to over-pro­tect­ing ev­ery cent – even hoard­ing money. • Blame: Anger and blame of­ten go hand in hand. It stems from feel­ing dis­ap­pointed or wronged be­cause you be­lieve your life would have been eas­ier and/or bet­ter if some­one – maybe par­ents or a spouse -- had been able to pro­vide you with more money. Blame can sab­o­tage re­la­tion­ships with both peo­ple and money for years. “At some point in our lives, we all have felt one or more of th­ese emo­tions,” Toneatto says. “The good thing is, once you be­gin to rec­og­nize them, they’re like a flash­ing yel­low ‘cau­tion!’ light.”

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