Here’s his story: “After a nasty divorce, one of my clients ended-up in a much different financial situation. Socially, she could no longer afford to do the things to which she had grown accustomed. Her network changed as her old friends continued their lifestyles. As she tried to cling to her old life, she became more anxious and unhappy.
“We took her through a list of things that she wanted to keep in her life as well as the reasons why--soon realizing that some people in her life were more like possessions than real friends. They didn’t fulfill her.
“Compiling a list without the reasons is not a useful exercise. Through defining what we want to keep in our lives, we can see whether we are doing so because of our true values or because of fear about our image or fear of change.
“Another couple I've worked with keeps pushing their financial limits beyond what they can reasonably afford. Their house is too big, their trips too extravagant, their cars too luxurious. They feel like impostors. This also wreaks havoc in their marriage, and yet they are still unwilling to adjust their lifestyle, and live in self-imposed chaos."
“Interestingly," he says, "an effective, yet counterintuitive strategy for money fear is generosity. We grasp and cling because we don’t feel like we have enough or that we are enough." Levin says although we feel like we are trying to control our often uncontrollable worlds through over-spending and other draining activities, we could take the paradoxical path of being generous to lead us out of our own world and into that of others.
Says Levin, "clients who are generous with their time or their resources have found it regenerative.
“When we give our time and money to causes and people in which we believe, we are subtly moving [mentally] from scarcity to abundance." We are then giving because we believe we can, that we have enough, he says. And, that is a transformative belief!
I like Mr. Levin’s list-making idea about what we spend our money on. I especially like the part about really focussing on why we feel that we have to spend money in a certain way. But more than anything else, Mr. Levin brings real-life experience to the magic of the effect of generosity in our lives. As always, I urge you to try it and if you are regularly generous, to expand your giving. It will expand your whole life!