My mother grew up in the 60’s with a migrant family from the UK. She was one of twelve children and from the time she was born (10th child in a family of 4 girls and 8 boys) she had entered into a world of uncertainty and financial struggle. A pattern, that became part of her belief system, and ultimately, became part of how she viewed her world. My mother grew up with sacrifice all around her. She learnt that to get what she needed to survive in life, something was sacrificed and that became “Self”.
My mother was an intelligent girl who learnt hard lessons. When she was 14 she saved up enough money to buy her first pair of jeans. She loved those jeans and wore them daily. One day her mother – my grandmother, who was extremely tired and working full time to support her large family, came home from work. This day was particularly hot, around 35 degrees, my mother recalls, yet she was enjoying her new jeans and was minding her own business doing her chores. My grandmother, upon noticing that my mother was wearing her new jeans on such a hot day, became irritated. She demanded that she take them off and wear something more appropriate. My mother refused, of course, saying “I’m fine, I’m not hot.” Again she was asked to change her clothes and again my mother refused. So my Grandmother became so angry that she said “fine if you love those jeans so much you can wear them everyday!” and then proceeded to my mother’s wardrobe removed all her clothes, underwear included, and burned the lot in the incinerator out the back.
Of course my mother was devastated and this further impacted her belief system about keeping her possessions close. She became very protective of her things and perhaps this is when her belief system around material security, became her most important need.
My mother’s self-worth was determined during her childhood and by the time she was 16 she had given birth to her first child… (me). Some might say she was a child raising a child. Lucky for her my father a true romantic, loved her and chose to support her, maybe it was naïve young love as he was only 18, however with his family’s support they stuck together and got married when she turned 18. My mother had my sister at 18 and by then they were on their path of domesticity and responsibility, not leaving much room for following their dreams. Life had become about survival.
From as far back as I can remember my parents were always arguing about money, we never had enough. There was always some big issue needing a large sum, which we did not have. The pressure was always on them to work. My father became a Builder which eventually allowed them some freedom, however even this industry was up and down. My mother’s fear of security and certainty was always at the fore. My mother constantly needed to control the money and accounting in the family, never trusting my father to do it and slowly he relinquished any part of that side of things. He was almost like a child at a times, frustrating her with his lack of understanding about their financial situation, yet she never allowed him to participate.
Eventually I grew up, I got married and funnily enough, as we often do, followed the patterns of my parents. Married young, children young, my life had become about the same survival needs and financial concerns as theirs.
I went through a phase when my children were small, to make ends meet, I’d steal clothes for them, nappies, and food. Our budget was extremely tight and didn’t want to burden my husband with cries of not enough and wanting to avoid the arguments around money. I’d had my fill of that as a child. This pattern of mine to, avoid conflict and to avoid the issue of feeling poor, gave me a little joy and eventually led to me becoming bold and stealing larger amounts of things. One day I realised that I was unconscious when I did these things and furthermore, what was I teaching my children?! I’d read a book recently about children learning through observation, this scared me and I realised that I needed to change and take some responsibility. I told my husband and he was so angry and in this moment we nearly split up. It was challenging times on so many levels. I had no power, no self worth, and no hope. I had 3 children under 5 and felt worthless. I even felt like a crap mother, as I was always comparing myself to my own mother. My self-talk went something like this: “If your mother could do it, then you can.” And this would be confirmed when my mother would visit saying “You should do this, you should do that.”
At this time, I was around 27 years old. I decided to start looking at ways to improve myself. I knew I needed to change something, as this depression I’d been living was becoming increasingly numbing. I started to visit a psychotherapist and through lots of meditation sessions and healing work, I discovered that I had a belief system of “poverty mentality”. She taught me many things about the law of attraction, the law of reciprocity, abundance, following your heart and living more authentically with your soul.
I guess this was around the time I really started to become aware of the mind and self-talk. I realised my patterns of self-worth had come from generations of family passing on this belief of sacrificing your heart and soul for security, for control, of wanting to feel safe. I realised that this belief system was the very thing that was slowly killing my soul and slowly, like cancer, eating its way into my being. I was becoming a fearful, powerless human that would slip into the abyss of self-loathing and depression, if I did not change my beliefs around money, security, safety and ultimately my “Self”. I desperately needed to start loving myself and learning to feel safe in the world, without the need to possess or control things. I was turning into my mother.
Fast forward to 40 years, I am divorced, I’ve travelled to many places, I’ve bought and sold houses, I’ve created a career, I’ve found my creative talents hidden under layers of self doubt, I’ve been poor enough to need charity and I’ve been rich enough to own investment properties.
Poverty mentality is not about whether you are rich or poor, it is about the state of your ego and your ability to live authentically, without fear of not having. It’s about your Self Worth. It is about your belief in your ability to create your world, your way. I will honestly say I am still breaking, smashing and stripping away layers of poverty mentality. Every day becoming more authentic and everyday becoming braver, following my heart and soul and accepting the 2 sides of every coin. Learning to feel safe in the world, knowing that I am the creator of my reality. My power is determined by my own thoughts, energy and intention. I continuously challenge and face my fears by stepping of the edge of the cliff, testing the faith in my wings and knowing that freedom comes from being brave enough to take that step. Holding on to anything, creates suffering and pain. To hold on, is to not accept and therefore it is a holding pattern. Like a plane going in circles. To break the pattern, we must step out, do something different, take the plunge, rise to the challenge, have faith in our ability to strive and create our reality. We have to take a risk and trust. TRUST is the key… Trust in yourself to know yourself, your needs, your desires, your dreams and then have the courage to listen to your heart and follow that. It won’t always be easy, but I promise you, it will be WORTH IT, because YOU ARE.
KATE HANSSENWWW.KATEHANSSENNEPAL.BLOGSPOT.COM WWW.KATEHANSSEN.BLOGSPOT.COM
Motivated by change and inspired by stories of others, Kate loves to engage people and connect with them. She views life as an opportunity to explore “Self”. Her most recent life experiences has seen her teaching Bounce Programs as a Life Skills Trainer and volunteering in Nepal after the 2015 earthquakes, where she raised $50,000 AUD and coordinated the relief to help those who were most impacted by the devastating earthquake. Kate also has taught Meditation, provided guidance counselling and studied in alternative health. Kate is a keen writer and singer and hopes to dedicate more time to her writing and public speaking to empower others and see their lights ignite.