Bag Lady

By Jim Selman | Bio

I was recording a podcast recently in response to the question of how ‘elders’ should be dealing with money these days given the current and projected economic mess. The woman I was speaking to was clearly ‘worried’ about her financial future. I started my response by sharing that over many years of coaching I sometimes chuckle when speaking with women because they all seem to have a generic fear of becoming a ‘bag lady’. There was an interesting article in the Toronto Globe and Mail in December titled, “Why women look in the mirror and a bag lady looks back”. It seems this archetype pervades a lot of women’s deepest fears of failure and becoming destitute.

To be sure it isn’t funny if it happens; however, for the vast majority of women this isn’t going to happen. Yet the fear of it lingers on. My response to the question was that, while I have no particular expertise in money management, I do have something to say about how we relate to money—however much we may have or not have. People should consult qualified financial advisors at as young an age as possible and responsibly invest in their financial future.

With respect to relating to money, the first and most important thing to remember is that we have a choice in how we relate to money—and everything else. This is not the same as rationalizing or justifying. It is true that money doesn’t buy happiness, but neither does the lack of it. The point is that you ALWAYS have what you need as evident by the fact that you are still here. What we have may not be what we want, but it is sufficient.

The second thing is to understand that we get what we resist. If we are afraid of losing, we probably will. Ask any gambler. The alternative is a kind of profound acceptance that we only have what we have and never any more or less. If we can start by acknowledging and accepting what we have, even with gratitude, we are not fighting or controlling or resisting. When we are in a state of acceptance, we are free to generate and create and express ourselves in ways that we cannot when we are afraid or resisting.

The ideal relationship with money (and everything else) is one of abundance and sufficiency. If there is no scarcity. then we can put all of our energy and creativity into discovering what we have to offer that has value, and that is the first step to generating money (if we want it). Older women and older men are just as valued and valuable as the value they bring. No one is entitled to money and in a just society no one should suffer or starve—or be forced into becoming a bag lady.


© 2009 Jim Selman. All rights reserved.


One thought on “Bag Lady”

  1. Wise words! Thanks!

    I don’t know what it is about the ‘bag lady’ syndrome, I have it too and I am forever consciously advising myself that it’s ridiculous, but still it lingers.

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