Clear your emotional baggage
Rather than start at the beginning, I turned to Key 2: Dump the emotional baggage. It turned out to be exactly what I needed to read (and dovetailed nicely with the self-love work I'd been doing on a group coaching programme with Daring & Mighty mentor Katie Phillips).
Laura makes it very clear that when we focus on wanting something, we actually manage to repel that very thing. "Wanting and having are two very different things. In fact... energetically it is the wanting that is preventing you from having," says Laura, who asks you to think of something you really want (a shiny new car or house for example) and then compare that feeling to the one you get when you think about something you already have. Often, there is no attachment to the things you already have, but a kind of magical 'energetic pull' towards the things you want that you believe will make you happy. The wanting has an energy of lack that sets up a barrier to that very thing coming into your life. Gregg Braden says exactly the same thing on his DVD The Science of Miracles and also on the DVD of You Can Heal Your Life: "If you want something, the universe will respond with 'Ok, so I'll let you want, and want and want."
Laura encourages you to let go of attachment to outcomes (very Buddhist) and of wanting, so you are in a clear state to receive. She also talks about how the way you feel about yourself – how you value yourself and skills in the world – has everything to do with what you attract and how much money you make.
It was then I had a Gru moment:
I had to laugh as I realised I'd been learning the hard way about want, lack and self love, or lack thereof, for the best part of two decades. I recall walking in to the administrative office during my first week at the University of South Carolina – I was on an exchange programme – to fill out various forms; an embroidered sign behind the desk caught my eye and its message has stayed with my to this day...
"Happiness is not having what you want but wanting what you have." author unknown
At age 20, deep down a part of me knew this must be true, but I didn't understand how to incorporate this truth into my life. As such, I struggled over the years, causing myself great emotional and mental angst by being so doggedly attached to things or people I desperately wanted, which only pushed them further away. In the example of relationships, I only recently realised it was my desperation for love and approval that pushed away the very men I was attracted to, as I emitted a strange and needy vibe; conversely, the ones I was not all freaked out about would line up! It was only in my early 30s that I actually discovered I didn't love or approve of myself (despite having read Louise Hay's affirmations!) and the reason my love life was such a mess was because I wanted acceptance and validation from a man, rather than finding it within. Robert Holden has a good example of this in his book Loveability, where he talks about his childhood friend who was overweight and not particularly a looker, yet he got all the girls. He asked his friend one day 'why are you so popular?' and his friend replied 'Because I love myself and you don't'. Not in a narcissistic way, but in a self-approval way.
In Wire Yourself for Wealth, though it's about money, it's essentially about self-love and respect too - not the kind of things you'd normally expect in a finance book! Author Laura suggests that we often want things because we're really wanting love. And, when we want love, it's because we disapprove of ourselves and don't realise we already are love. "If you notice you are disapproving of someone or something (or yourself), let go of the feeling of disapproval and then send them/you some love. This releases the 'lack of love' feeling from your system," she says.
So much anguish could have been prevented in my teens and 20s had I know this! Instead of holing myself up in my bedroom, feeling depressed that my current object of attention was going out with someone else and didn't like me (which often wasn't even true as I'd discover years later!), or analysing messages and texts and wondering what/when/how to reply, I could have focused my energy on things that brought me fulfilment and joy, such as more dancing, painting, performing, writing etc. But, as Oprah says often, this life is a school; we're here to learn. So while institutional education may end at 16 or 18 or 21 or beyond, our learning continues for a lifetime. I only enrolled in the school of self-love, thanks in part to Katie Phillips, very recently so it's still early days and I'm still testing out my new muscles of being kinder to myself, supporting my efforts instead of beating them down, and being a friend to myself rather than a harsh critic.
From money to love
So, how have we gone from money to relationships and self love? Because, it's all linked. As I am beginning to learn, everything in life is an inside job: health, wealth, love, happiness etc. You can't get love from someone, you can only receive it when you are loving yourself and in the flow. You can't get money by expecting or or demanding it, you can only receive it when you do or create something of value. You can't get health by expecting doctors to look after you and blaming them when you get ill, you have to take responsibility for your health, learn about good nutrition, and work with health care practitioners rather than put the power and responsibility solely in their hands. And, you can't get happiness from someone or something else, you can only create it from within by starting out from a place of gratitude.
Kate Northrup's book is almost entirely about self worth and respect within a financial context. And Laura's book, while 70% practical and focused on generating money, is set upon a foundation of self-respect and understanding the energy of emotions, and how they can help or hinder you. Both are worth reading.
Allow in your desires
I'll finish up this post with some practical advice from Laura who advises letting go of want and need, and instead using the word 'allow', which changes the dynamic. "Saying 'I allow' is also very passive. It assumes that when you stop putting energy into resisting it, or wanting it, the natural state for you is to have it."
Why not affirm the following on a daily basis?
"I allow wealth and prosperity into my life!"
"I allow a new car/house/job (your words) into my life"
"I allow love into my life!"
"I allow health and happiness into my life"
Even if it seems phony to begin with, you'll be slowly and steadily upgrading your vibration.
For more help, check out one of my favourite Abraham financial teachings here (the background music is irritating but it's worth sticking with it!)