Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Money Mind

"Money is about flow. You want to have a little reservoir so that you have something to eat when you’re dying, but otherwise, it’s about flow…"

--Verity Credit Union member John

A few months ago I bought some supplies for a group that one of my sons is in. I spent around $150 total and each family owed me about $40.  I didn't know a couple of the people very well and after a few days I started to worry about whether or not they were going to pay me back.

I tried to be Zen about it and let the Universe take care of it, but in the back of my mind I was worrying about it every time I thought about it and getting a little bit anxious and upset.

Fast forward to a few weeks ago and I have become pretty good friends with one of these people and have realized that their family is going through some very hard financial times.

Over the holidays we once again made a joint purchase that I paid for, but this time I went out of my way to try and NOT take the money. Every time it was mentioned I said, "Don't worry about it. Pay me later," and tried to put them off.

The most ironic part about this is that the amount I was owed in this second instance was more than double what I was owed in the first instance. 

Nothing much had changed with my own financial situation in the ensuring months. It would still have been great to get reimbursed, but once I knew that this family is having a hard time my attitude about being paid back completely shifted. 

As long as I THINK they need the money more than I do, I am okay not getting it back. 

But my logic is faulty here....

If someone doesn't pay us back, isn't it always because they NEED the money?

It may be a true financial need or it may be a psychological need (they feel somehow that we "owe" it to them, they think our family is "better off" than they are and don't "need" the money as much as they do, etc.) or even a karmic need (my past self owes their past self some kind of a debt). 

If I had known in the first case that their family was having financial difficulties would I have minded not getting paid back? Or was it the developing friendship that made me feel more generous? Or maybe the holiday season?

Whatever it was, I had to laugh at myself for the 180 degree shift in my attitude and for all the time I had spent earlier this year worrying about $40. 

I especially had to laugh when I received a check in the mail later that week and was kind of disappointed to receive it.

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