Personal Financial Wellness
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© 2018-2020 Shake Your Money Tree


Social networks do best when they tap into one of the Seven Deadly Sins.” - Reid Hoffman, one of the founders of LinkedIn


LUST = Tinder (or maybe any dating site, ever)

ENVY = Pinterest (hello, Pinterest fails!)

GREED = LinkedIn (Hi, someone I don't know - I'd like to add you to my professional network)

GLUTTONY = Instagram (what pretty pictures you have my dear, now let me eat you!)

SLOTH = Netflix (okay, so this isn't a social network, but close enough!)

WRATH = Twitter (it's a Twitter war every day!)

PRIDE / VANITY = Facebook (oh, the boasting in the scroll)


Yikes! When you think about it, it's strangely devious of these networks to lure us in like they do, and then pin our human emotions against us. There are a whole host of studies showing that the high use of social media is clinically addictive, leads to depression, causes weight gain and creates a multitude of other negative consequences!


I recently listened to a podcast episode about the Seven Deadly Sins which got me thinking about how the holidays can heighten our tendencies toward three of them: envy, greed and gluttony.


Think about it - while we like to believe the deeper reason for the season, it's actually become a season of overindulging in food and drink, greedily shopping till we're dropping, and trying our damnedest to keep up with those Joneses.



None of us humans are immune to these feelings every once in a while and I want to dive deeper into how we can overcome this season!



The Green-Eyed Monster


Envy is a tricky one because it's not just wanting what someone else has. More importantly, it's the resenting them for having it that's the kicker.


The thing with envy is that most of us don't admit to others when we're feeling envious because that's outwardly admitting that we feel like we are less than them or that we don't have what they do. So we bottle it up inside, which then makes us feel even worse about ourselves because we can't fully express our feelings. Or we do, and it becomes gossip and backstabbing. Ouch!


In the Bible's 10 Commandments, envy is referred to as coveting. In modern times, we especially experience this while scrolling the highlight reels of our friends' social media posts, or driving through a ritzy neighborhood and muttering to ourselves "wonder what they do to be able to live here", or feeling jealous of a friends' new job that pays much more than yours does or gives her a bigger title.


Envy can range from simply feeling happy at someone else's misfortune because you want them to remain below your level (he got too big for his britches anyway), to feeling sad because someone else's fortune has risen above yours (why did she get the promotion, when I was clearly more deserving of it?).


Because of this, envy is thought to be the most potent cause of unhappiness.


Here are some tips for rising above when the little green monster of envy hits you this holiday season:


  1. Recognize it's a human emotion and give yourself grace when those feelings arise

  2. Accept that we can't always get what we want (I hear you singing the Rolling Stones here!) and be incredibly grateful that you have MORE than others do already. What someone else has doesn't ever take away from what you have!

  3. Keep calm and move on knowing that you have the power to stay in control of your feelings

  4. Realize life isn't always about you and choose instead to give of yourself to others so you can feel better about who YOU are on the inside



We're All Greedy Bastards Sometimes


Ah, the desire to gain wealth. The urge to play the lottery, to work harder, to bend the rules of only buying what we can afford in favor of buying everything we want… even if it's on credit. This is where the phrase "money is the root of all evil" comes to mind because the relentless desire for more money can cause people to do unscrupulous things to get it.


We can be greedy without even realizing it.


Sometimes greed shows itself when we shun the homeless man on the street because we think, "I only have $10 in my wallet" rather than considering we have $100 more in our bank account.


Or we're greedy with our time by saying we're so busy and can't volunteer, but then sit on the couch for hours watching mindless TV or surfing the web.


In some cases greed can show up when we are friends with others for what they can give us in status or stuff, rather than befriending them for who they are and giving of ourselves in equal parts.


I'm not immune to greed, and neither are you 100% of the time.


The simple desire for financial security and independence is not a bad thing, but an excessive desire for attaining wealth at all costs definitely is. We can combat greed by monitoring our habits and in the case of money, stick to a budget.


When we catch ourselves hiding the last cookie from the kids, or throwing out those pleas to send in $5, $10, or $20 to feed the hungry, we can reconsider the blessings we have this season and give just a tiny bit more than we want. The law of attraction says the more you release the focus on wanting more in favor of focusing on already having enough, more naturally comes to you.


And if you feel like you're one of the misfortunate ones who is in need of help this year, feel blessed when someone reaches out with an offer of assistance, and remember that kindness when times are more prosperous for you down the road.



What Gluttonous Fools We Are


The concept of gluttony is oh-so-fitting considering soon we won't be able to squeeze into our pants or may suffer withdrawals from the sweets or alcohol of the holidays. Which of course we pinky swear with the angel on our shoulder that we'll be better in the new year and then make plans for moderation and temperance in the roaring 2020's.

This is where I'm definitely needing to improve as I enter this next decade.


And it reminds me of what I always tell students and clients "you may know what to do, but it's the how that's the hard part!".


Even though I spent 7 years in a corporate job creating wellness initiatives for employees and gleaning all kinds of healthy living tips, this is still one area in which I struggle personally. I know I should eat less sweet stuff, stay clear of the fatty foods, and exercise daily… but do I do it? Not consistently. And as I get older, the struggle gets harder.


I'm in this one with you, for sure!


We can all solve our gluttony by simply stopping the snacking, ordering smaller portions or putting half the meal into a to-go box as soon as it gets to the table, or having only one glass of wine instead of two.


One of the best kitchen contraptions I ever bought was a food sealer - I always have a stocked freezer, and easy to prep meal at the ready! I also order kids meals whenever they match what's on the adult menu but simply come in smaller sizes and lower costs. Why eat and pay for more than needed? Not to mention the extra calories saved!


Greed, gluttony and envy, plus each of the other Seven Sins, are wholly human emotions. As Lord Darlington, in Oscar Wilde’s comedy, Lady Windermere’s Fan, states, “I can resist everything except temptation!


Now that deserves a laugh, doesn't it?


The opposing Seven Virtues suggest we should:


  • Increase gratitude to fight envy

  • Practice generosity in the face of greed

  • Instill a bit of moderation when fighting gluttony

  • Overcome lust by focusing first on love

  • Eradicate sloth and laziness by instituting a bit of self-discipline

  • Practice empathy and kindness when anger arises

  • Remain humble when pride rears up


I think we can all set more effective goals in the next decade by remembering these concepts, don't you?


Tell me, what kinds of goals are you setting for yourself in this next year and decade?

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