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Feelings and Money: It's OK to Talk About It


"We destroy ourselves when we stop feeling. If you bury your feelings within you, you become a graveyard."

-Bernie Siegel


I'm driving out of town for the weekend, but realize it's payday so I stop at the restaurant where I work to pick up my paycheck. It's on the way, so it's no big deal. Next week's schedule is also out so I get to check my schedule at the same time. I feel pretty efficient.

As I walk into the back I can't find my name on the schedule. I check again but still don't see it. I don't understand so I go to the office and ask the manager if he screwed up. He tells me that, since the other restaurant across town closed, he decided to take me off the schedule and gave me my last paycheck.

I can't believe this. I'm furious. I wonder how they could do this to me after five years. I worked overnight shifts for them. I worked 13-hour shifts for them. All that and they just drop me without warning.

Years later my wife and I are watching the final episode of Six Feet Under. This is a combination of both the happiest and saddest sequence of events I've ever seen - in a movie or on TV. My eyes fill up with tears.

Of course, I'm sitting next to my wife so I try my hardest not to cry. I can't cry. I'm a man. Men don't cry. Instead, I try to push it away while trying to take in this amazing finale.


In the first case, I thought I was mad. Part of me probably was, but I couldn't recognize that I actually felt equal parts angry, betrayed, sad, and afraid. I'm only allowed to show anger - and that's really the only emotion I know how to show.

In the second case, I tried as hard as I could to not cry. As a result, I didn't get as much out of that episode - and thus the whole series - as I could have if I embraced my feelings and went on the ride the writers wanted me to go on.

talking about feelings

Emotions and Feelings

I can't talk about feelings without talking about emotions. Feelings and emotions are used pretty much interchangeably, but technically they are different. I'll be using the word "feelings" throughout this post, but feel free to think in terms of emotions if that's helpful.

I'll give you the highlights. According to Pediaa.com, emotions are physical states that come from external sources. Feelings are mental associations that are reactions to our emotions. For example, you might have an emotional reaction that is happy, and that could cause you to feel pleased, satisfied, optimistic, or delighted. I won't even try to add "mood" to the mix.

Just think of it this way; emotions happen in our bodies and feelings happen in our minds. We feel feelings because of emotions.

difference between emotions and feelings

Feelings Serve a Purpose

Believe it or not, feelings serve a purpose. They are a message about what's going on; about whether or not our needs are being met. If we can learn to pay attention to what we're feeling when we think or talk about money, then we learn to collect clues about what your values and needs are and whether or not they are being met. You can listen to what your body is telling you.

purpose of feelings

Our Struggle to Express Feelings

That all sounds pretty simple, right. The problem, of course, is that we've been taught not to express our feelings. Even worse, many of us have been taught not to feel our feelings. We were told it's not appropriate to feel bad and especially not to talk about it. Add money into the mix and you've got two