Do you use money to “solve” problems or to make people like you more?
My grandparents gave my family so much! They provided TVs, stereos, a vehicle when we turned sixteen – and we loved being spoiled by them. When I was a young adult and my grandparents needed some help around the house, I spent a weekend in their yard fixing things up. At the end of the weekend, my grandfather tried to give me a hundred bucks, which I politely refused. My grandparents were very confused and hurt. They could not comprehend that I simply wanted to spend time with them because I loved them.
It wasn’t until recently that I realized what my grandparents were really saying with their overly generous attention: “We don’t feel worthy of your love, but if we give you lots of money, will you pretend to love us?” I was totally taken aback and saddened by that thought.
What I came to understand is that my grandparents grew up feeling insecure and unworthy of attention. The only way they thought they could convince people to love them was through bribery. My grandparents taught my mother the same lesson, which not surprisingly trickled down to my siblings and me. Buying expensive presents, always treating friends or family to meals or providing luxuries that they cannot afford, to make others love you more, isn’t a “real” relationship.
All of these activities are positive things that we do with friends and family because we care about them. However, if the underlying emotion is based on fear and need, it might be time to explore your actions. Is your money serving you well when you “buy” people? Investigate the emotions that trigger your automatic responses in relationships. Begin making conscious choices that will generate a genuine connection based on love and trust.