Nov 23

Is Money Your Friend Or Foe?

What is money to you? To some, money acts as a tool that helps them achieve their goals and dreams. To others, it may simply be just a form of currency. I used to think that money was evil because I associated it with greed. Money felt like a foe. Growing up, I always felt that money was something that defined us. It was how society perceived everyone. People with more money would be deemed as those who were successful and would be more respected, while people who were not as wealthy would not be as respected and thus rejected by society. I always felt like I had to do something, but as a young adult in today’s current society, the best thing I could do was to take charge of my own money narrative.
Wealth comes in 8 various forms of capital. They are financial, living, social, cultural, experiential, material, intellectual, and spiritual capital, all of which play a part in our daily lives. You will find that these forms of capital are all around us. For example, social capital refers to having many interpersonal connections and forming relationships you have with people. To have strong social capital, one would have a great amount of influence among others. On the other hand, living capital refers to the natural resources we rely on, such as water, land, air, and animals, etc. The 8 forms of capital are important as we are dependent on them, and it allows us to view capital from a different perspective. It shows us that we are surrounded by abundance in one way or another, and we should not have to think of money as our main source that determines how wealthy we truly are.
Therefore, money does not have to define us. It should not. We should never allow the money narratives of people to label and tie us down. We should learn how to define our own money narratives and take charge of it. Instead of allowing money to control us, we should learn to control our actions around it, such as changing our way of thinking when it comes to money. As a result, it contributes to a better quality of life.

However, my perception of money has changed. I now see it as a unit of exchange. It is just colored paper with numbers on it. Nothing more, nothing less. It enables me to purchase things that I want and need. Looking back, money was just a distraction. I used to spend on things impulsively, but I realised that this had to do with my self-control. As I wasn’t able to control my impulses, I would always give in to it and therefore I felt like it was evil.
Recently, I had a huge wake-up call. My grandmother was hospitalised. One of my aunts informed me that she was in a very critical condition and that her heart was weak. We were not sure if she was going to make it, but we hoped for the best while also preparing ourselves for the worst. It was life or death. Seeing my grandmother in that state made me feel extremely terrified and helpless. It broke my heart to see her struggle and suffer, but I could not do anything to help. At that moment, the reality slapped me in the face that I could lose my grandmother at any moment. Ever since I was a baby, my grandmother was the one who had always been taking care of me, making sure that I was well-fed with nutritious food and would always stay up late to make sure that I came home safely even though she was tired, yet there were many times I took her for granted. She would constantly worry about me because she was deeply troubled that I would not be able to take care of myself.

Then, I realized how lucky I was. I was surrounded by people who loved and cherished me, but I always took them for granted. From then onwards, I have learnt to be more appreciative and grateful. As I am content with what I currently have, I do not find the need to spend money unnecessarily on items. It also made me realise that relationships matter so much more. Instead of worrying about the things I want, I should prioritise my relationships over worries and stop comparing myself to others. Therefore, I found ways to not worry about it and thought of it more as a friend.

Having said that, the money narrative (Money as a unit of exchange) prompts me to pause and contemplate whenever I find myself deciding whether the item is a need or a want. Learning to discern has helped me a lot as I have made better decisions. If it is a need, I would probably get the product. However, I do not have to get it right away. There could be cheaper alternatives or products of better quality. On the other hand, if the item is a want, I can learn to delay my gratification. By taking a moment to pause and see if what we want to purchase is a need or want, we would be able to control our impulses better and make better decisions! In the process, I am developing the virtue of discernment which is an important life skill.

All in all, working at PlayMoolah has taught me how to be more independent and allowed me to form more meaningful connections with people. In other words, I have built on my social capital. For instance, being more open with my emotions and allowing people to be there for me is something that I’m currently practicing. I used to have the mindset that the only person I could rely on was myself, and I hesitated to let people into my life, even if their intentions were pure. Thus, I always tried to deal with things on my own, even if I really need help. However, it got to a point where it started affecting my mental health a lot and I realized that maybe I needed help. I could not let this go on. I decided to reach out to a few of my close friends and shared my struggles with them and I realized that it wasn’t so bad after all. In fact, it felt as though a weight had been lifted off my shoulders. I realise that asking for help takes courage as I recognise my limitation and I want to find solutions to it.

Although it is true to a certain extent that the only people that we can count on are ourselves, we need to remember that we do not have to go through anything alone. Reaching out to people may seem scary and tough at first, but in the end, it will be worth it.

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