All too often our finances get most of the attention, and our emotional health gets put on the shelf to be visited another day. But the truth is, gaining financial health means nothing, if we can’t enjoy it once we get there.
But how do we manage our emotions? I mean, with finances everything is laid out logically, but with emotions, the spectrum is overwhelming. The great news is, emotional health has a lot of similarities to financial health, so if you can do one, you should be able to do the other. Here are 5 similarities that will help you manage your emotions as well as your money:
1. Live within your means
With all that requires your attention out there, it’s easy to become emotionally overextended. Family, work deadlines, financial difficulties, news stories, global warming, health concerns, and even deciding on what to eat for dinner, can all make withdrawals from your emotional bank account. Just like you would with your dollar bills, you need to learn to say, “No,” to those things that aren’t a priority for you. Realize that you have a limit, and just as with your finances, there will be times when you have more emotional energy to give away than others, so pay attention, and adjust accordingly.
2. Don’t get into debt
It’s hard to owe someone money, but it’s even harder to owe someone emotionally because of guilt. When you do something to hurt another person, like cheating on a spouse, or getting angry and breaking things, you are now in their debt. From that point until the point where they say otherwise, you are the bad guy and you will have to take whatever emotional abuse they choose to give you. This is not a good situation to be in, and should be avoided at all costs. If you are already in this situation, just as you would with a debtor, come up with a plan to square up with them, otherwise you’ll be paying for the rest of your life.
There are also situations where you feel guilty in a relationship but don’t know why. This is usually caused by a previous pain in the life of the person who’s making you feel guilty. Bring these issues to the forefront, and deal with them head on. You don’t want to be paying for someone else’s debt, because you didn’t check up on it.
3. Make investments
Relationships can be difficult, and it’s easier to let go of the more challenging ones rather than to invest in them. But some relationships are worth the investment of some heartbreak in order to gain a new level of health.
For example, you may have to become more honest so that trust and intimacy can be built, but the truth may hurt initially. You will have to deal with the fears of both parties, and the shock of what wasn’t previously known, but if you can make it through to the other side, the relationship will be more solid, and well worth the effort that was put into it.
4. Get out of the rat race
You start out in life with everyone telling you what to think, who you are, and how you’re supposed to feel. And much like financial freedom, in order to be emotionally free, you’ll have to take some risk, think outside the box, and go against the grain.
But don’t let this discourage you, because being emotionally free is worth the effort. Just as you would with financial advice, listen to those that live a life you want to live, and not the people you’re surrounded with who have never dealt with their deep seated issues, but are quick to hand out strong opinions.
5. Be charitable
There will always be people in your life that are incapable of giving you anything emotionally, but are in desperate need for you to support them. This can be for a short period of time while they’re going through a rough patch, like a divorce, or a longer period of time while they go through something more permanent, like an illness. And helping them through it is worth it because you care for them.
But just as you would with financial assistance, avoid enabling. If your 30 year old son still lives in your basement playing video games all day, at some point you have to stop supporting him for his own good. And if you have a friend who is always going through drama and dragging you along with them but never getting any better, at some point you have to stop being their go to therapist. Continuing to encourage their behavior will only cost you in the end. Set healthy boundaries and everyone will be better off.
Dealing with emotions can be a messy process, but having some guidelines and thinking of it in a logical way, can sometimes clear up confusion about what to prioritize and when to hold back. And thinking about it like you do your finances, may very well be the first step to getting your emotional life in order.
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Author: Tara Schiller
Tara Schiller spent the last 10 years of her life dedicated to coming fully alive. She now works as a life coach, authors absolutelytara.com, and helps others on their journey to emotional freedom.