I’ve long known that women’s difficulties with money have little to do with money per se and everything to do with their fear of power.
In a 2012 study, “Women and the Paradox of Power,” 38% of respondents said they’d rather be well-liked than powerful. As if the two were mutually exclusive.
Our confusion around power should come as no surprise. Historically, girls haven’t been groomed, expected, or encouraged to be successful, powerful adults.
If anything, we were raised to be the power behind the throne, often punished for even aspiring higher.
I’m convinced, beneath our dislike of or discomfort with power, lurks a deeper, more ominous concern—the dire consequences we might suffer if we become truly powerful.
Historical narratives of strong, assertive, outspoken women being harshly punished, even burned at the stake, have permeated our collective unconscious.
Somewhere along the way, financial incompetence became a safe house of sorts, granting us protection and, oddly enough, security. Think about it.
There’s no better way to limit our power than by lowering our earning potential or by mishandling, neglecting, or ignoring our money.
Our feminine psyche, operating like a highly sensitive sonar system, emits subtle warnings, inexplicable waves of trepidation, when we get too close to rocking the boat. To avoid making waves, we water ourselves down.
Isn’t it time we start cultivating female clout, exercising our power in a positive, authentic way, on our own terms?
Let’s start by redefining power using the words of renowned psychologist Eric Fromm: “The main task in life is to give birth to our self to become what we actually are.”
When you view power from that angle, you begin to understand our resistance more clearly. Essentially, our fear of power is our fear of becoming who we really are.
This fear keeps us settling for less instead of striving for more, shrinking to fit rather than playing full out, clinging to safety to avoid taking the leap.
Money does not give us power. But it does give us choices. Our power comes from the choices we make, choices that reflect who we are, not who or what someone else wants; choices that accelerate our growth, not placate others.
What can you do today to start living more authentically and powerfully? Leave me a comment below.