“Never be bullied into silence. Never allow yourself to be made a victim. Accept no one’s definition of your life, but define yourself.” Harvey Fierstein

Sometimes, our biggest bully is ourselves when we succumb to believing the untruths that people have spoken to us for years and years. Because money is intrinsically linked to every choice we make, our financial position in our early life will affect how we view money today – and have a knock-on effect on how we think, feel and behave. Being aware of this can help us change how we view our money, and in turn, help us make better decisions about our life tomorrow.

When we put things into words – whether we’re writing them down or speaking them out – we start actively making empowered choices. It’s incredibly disempowering when we remain silent against our will to speak out. As Edmund Burke said, evil triumphs when good people do nothing.

But, it’s hard to act when you feel like you don’t have a voice. If you want to turn your money situation around, you need to be able to articulate precisely what it is that’s holding you back, and you need to be able to define how you would like your life to look.

Many of us experience this burdensome sense of helplessness at various stages in our lives, and it’s often referred to as a poverty mindset. It’s a form of self-sabotage (becoming our own bully). 

The motivational author Alan Weiss puts it like this: “A poverty mentality is one that influences behaviors consistent with beliefs that money shouldn’t be spent, opportunities are limited, any risk at all is dangerous, any success is temporary and non-replicable, and generally remaining in the back of the pack is safest.”

It’s important to realise that a poverty mindset has nothing to do with how much wealth you’ve created; it has to do with how you understand the relationship between your wealth and your identity.

Here are some signs of what a poverty mindset could mean to you:

  • The belief that you are a victim of others’ decisions and choices.
  • Fear of spending money on non-essentials.
  • Constantly search for the cheapest alternative, even if it’s a discomfort.
  • An obsession with getting “deals” and free entry.
  • The belief that you’re lucky when you succeed and incompetent when you fail.
  • Feeling guilty as soon as you buy something.
  • Being constantly worried about money or thinking about it often.
  • Making decisions based on fear.
  • Thinking small rather than thinking big.
  • Feelings of guilt when you have more than someone else.
  • Fear of being seen as boasting when you describe a simple accomplishment.
  • Never feeling like you have enough reserves or resources.
  • A belief you can “lose it all” despite everything you do.

The opposite of the poverty mindset is the abundance or growth mindset. 

An abundance mindset empowers us to appreciate what we have already and focus on opportunities ahead of us. When we know we are full of energy, love, inspiration and desire, no one can say otherwise – we will be unlikely to stay silent or feel like a victim.

Self-belief in our ability to make money, invest wisely, empower and support others overrides everything; it means living in our wealthspace and having an abundance mentality. We will be able to choose and define our own life and not feel stuck living someone else’s.