When life is reduced to a ledger
If life becomes an extension of the financial ledger system of debits and credits, when everything that we do for others or that others do for us become entries into our mental ledger, we are closing the portal to expansion and the freedom to create. In our attempts to keep the ledger balanced we become fixated on whether we owe or are owed.
When life is restricted by ledger limitations, the following may apply:
- Inability to trust others
- Aversion to surprises
- Inability to embrace uncertainty
- Being a stickler for routine and organisation
- Maintaining high standards of preparation and responsibility
- Prizing self-sufficiency and independence
- Difficulty in asking others for help
- Difficulty in accepting gifts
- A need to be in control
- Avoidance of risks
Self-limiting beliefs that we adopt and own from our upbringing can severely inhibit our experience of life. A guarded existence can be the result of a deficiency of love during childhood, where affection, attention and praise were thin on the ground, says Tim Laurence, director of the Hoffman Institute. If we didn’t receive enough love, he says, we don’t learn to receive well. A self-image of ‘unworthy’ or ‘undeserving’ causes us to question why others would give to us.
Striving for approval to secure acceptance sets a pattern in which true feelings are replaced by calculations, leaving little room for carefree joie de vivre.
In relationships, ledger-bound lovers may not know how to demonstrate spontaneous affection but will seek to earn commitment from the other by giving and doing for them. However, each act is still recorded in the mental ledger, which has the effect of replacing the flow of natural reciprocity from the other, with a monitored process of giving aimed at avoiding debt. Freely expressing and demonstrating love falls under the anxious shadow of ensuring balance.
Awareness is always the first step in turnarounds. We cannot control all variables in life, including other people. Acceptance of this fact helps us to embrace uncertainty in life.
Slavish routine and predictability can stunt imagination and creativity. Consciously breaking unnecessary routine and experimenting in the realm of the unknown, although scary at first, will introduce the colour and enrichment of variety and encourage personal growth.
Receiving, on the other hand, not only allows joy for the giver, but is affirmation of your own self value. If you find it difficult to receive from others, ask yourself what the worst thing is that could happen if you accept a gift or help? In fact this is a useful question to pose in any break from convention or decision-making process.
Break free of moulds and trust in the natural flow of reciprocity. Checks and balances are necessary where funds are limited, but fortunately love has no such limitation. No matter how much you give, or how much you receive, there is always more.