by Dr. Bonnie Eaker Weil

With Michael Jackson’s passing recently, the world lost a great musician who contributed infinitely to our cultural and musical landscape – he touched so many different worlds from fashion to culture to music and beyond. But there’s no doubt that he lived rather tragically toward the end of his life. From a perspective of the outside looking in, there are a few things we can learn from him in the realm of relationships and finances (and a lot more in many other areas as well!):

What’s your “Imago”?

How do you look at your money based on your past? This is tricky for most of us and no doubt even trickier for someone who starts in show biz as a kid, but it’s an important step to take in having a healthy financial outlook. The key to avoiding such destructive behavior is communication, and there are many different ways to communicate your feelings about money and finances – which leads to my next point.

Engage in dialogue

I teach a technique called “Smart Heart Dialogue” where I instruct people on how to talk about money and other volatile topics within their closest relationships. Perhaps Michael Jackson had a close confidant – and I hope he did – but he seemed isolated and when we shy away from having someone who we can have real, difficult situations is crucial to connecting on a personal, fundamental level.

Don’t give into financial infidelity

Whether we have enough money or we’re financially strapped, financial infidelity can still be taking place. Financial Infidelity (as I talk about in my book by the same name) like sexual infidelity, is spurred on by feelings of stress, loss and separation. As with any addict, the choice to self-medicate in any number of ways—with alchohol, medications, sex, or money—can begin with a desire to relieve stress or mute depression. I call this the “biochemical craving for connection,” as the addiction then progresses to a preoccupation with where their next “fix” will come from, and often involves a strong desire to create rituals around obtaining the “high.” This preoccupation becomes a compulsion—to use drugs or alcohol, or to have sex, or to shop—followed by depression and despair as the effects wear off, leading to the start of the cycle all over again. It’s something that’s understandably developed by people who are always “on,” who feel they always have to be on top.

Your money gram

Along these lines, I strongly believe that doing a “money gram” is one of the most crucial things you can do for yourself to understand what your financial history and tendencies are. This will help you to understand your attitudes, fears, beliefs and patterns in your money history. It may draw attention to issues you weren’t aware of. Ask questions like “how was money handled in my family?” “Was I aware of any financial troubles as a kid?” “How did this affect my view of money?” “Was money used as punishment or reward?” How has this influences my finances as an adult?”


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