My grandparents gave my family so much! We knew they loved us best! We were their only grandchildren. Their money bought TVs, stereos, a vehicle when we turned sixteen – and we loved being spoiled by them. But as children, we never thought to ask “does money buy true love?” When I was a young adult, and my grandparents needed some help around the house, I spent a few days 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 felt they needed to pay for everything, all the time. They could not comprehend that I simply wanted to spend time with them because I loved them.
Do you use money to “solve” problems or to make people like you more?
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 taken aback, hurt and saddened by that thought.
Using Money to Mask Insecurity
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. Even though the money was always used for positive experiences to create a loving environment, the cash did not create a bond; it was the act of connecting and caring that cemented the relationship.
Explore the Emotions that Propel You to Use Money in Relationships
Going out to eat, attending special events, and taking your family to Disneyland are all 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. Are you afraid people won’t like you if you can’t splurge on expensive meals and events? Do you need people to admire you or feel awed and impressed with your generosity? Is your money serving you well when you “buy” people?
Investigate the emotions that trigger your automatic financial response in relationships. Check out ways to examine your actions – set aside quiet time to reflect on what’s most important to you or begin to journal. Start making conscious choices that will generate an authentic connection based on love and trust. By cultivating genuine relationships with family and friends, you will construct a lifestyle of proactive abundance, and that makes all the difference in the world!