Love, the intangible currency: Introduction

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My first primer in this series:  Making Money is not a Sin:  How I went from being a stay at home mom of 8 to making a 6-figure income  is only part of my story.

Many are familiar with Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs.

My first priMaslow's hierarchy of needs, scalable vector illustrationmer discusses some of the basic needs that Maslow refers to as physiological and safety needs.  On my journey to financial independence, I had to grapple with tangible factors that made me feel unsafe and insecure, things like not having enough to eat, worrying about where we’d live, and stressing about what my children would wear to school.

I explained how I used prayer, surrender, seeking, planning, and learning to reach toward the career and financial success I’d dreamed of as a child.

What I didn’t explain was my intangible struggle with a sense of love and belonging, the third level of Maslow’s hierarchy, building upon the foundational physiological and safety needs.

For a long time, I wanted to completely ignore the reality of my need for financial safety and security.  I was in denial.  I said crazy things like, “Love is enough.”  My stubbornness even led me to despise anyone who believed financial security was more important than love and belonging.

I guess somewhere deep inside, I did want financial security.  I know I had dreams of becoming a very generalized version of success.  But I believed that if I had a sense of love and belonging, everything else would fall into place.

I was wrong.

I’m not 100% certain why I had these primal needs slightly out of balance in my life.  Maybe it’s because I always felt financially safe and secure growing up.  As a child, I watched my father, “the man of the house,” go to work every day, but I never considered that one day as a female, I’d be a part of the ecosystem of which I’d be responsible for my family’s basic needs financially.

Here’s why.

My mother worked in the home.  I never internalized the impact a woman might have on the family budget, by bringing in her own income, in addition to the traditional responsibility for taking care of the children and spouse.

I’d also watched and read plenty of fairy tales where money just happens in the background, and the princess is rescued by a prince who provides the sense of love and belonging for which she’d always longed.  I never thought about the prince needing to have a day job to pay for the diamonds and roses.  I’d also not considered the full financial weight of having a family and providing for their basic needs.

This is not to say that I had no work ethic or that I just expected to be taken care of whilst sitting on the couch eating bon-bons.  I always worked hard and contributed to family finances in addition to bearing the physical burden of caring for the household.  But maybe I believed deep down that the real financial burden was someone else’s to bear.

So how did I make the transition from my focus on intangible “love and belonging” to understanding the importance of having a financial backbone?

How did I go from a sweet, innocent, love-is-enough girl to a salty, seasoned, money-is-not enough woman?

You see, my newfound appreciation for money, is not because I believe money is the only currency.

Money will always leave some debts unpaid.

Love however, though often intangible, will always balance the books despite there being no balance sheet where love is concerned. If you take all your love experiences and add them up in life, you’ll still find it hard to quantify their intangible effect on your bottom line of happiness.  But this doesn’t mean love should be eliminated from the equation.  Quite the contrary, because no matter what we do in life, living without love is just a bunch of noise.  (paraphrased from Bible)

Despite the difficulty of solving the love problem, in this primer, I’d like to talk about different aspects of love and its intangible impact on our life for better or worse.

Maslow had something right when he recognized our fluid intrinsic needs for very different things that are sourced from very different places, at very different stages of life.

In the coming chapters, I’ll describe what I’ve found to be a limitless supply of eternally abundant love that fuels my ambition and will to live.  I’ll share the  foundation of love my parents built for me in childhood.  I’ll demonstrate the difference between choosing love and being chosen by love, and illustrate the interconnections of religion and spirituality when it comes to reconciling a journey toward love, that some of us may find much too long and painful.

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