Think You Can’t Afford It?

Think You Can’t Afford It?

Christy Diane Farr

I can’t afford it…

These words are quite complex and they’ve been popping up  a great deal  lately – both for the women I work with and in my own head. I’ve noticed that we  are quick to claim “I can’t afford it…” when often, at least it appears to me,  we mean something entirely different. And while these words may be quick to our  tongue, they fall short of the empowered state in which most of us intend to  live. Here are a few of the most common ways I’ve noticed this case of mistaken  identity playing out:

1. When “I can’t afford it” really means “I don’t want  to.”

This happens all the time and, honestly, who are we protecting by blaming the  balance in our checking account for our “inability” to do something we don’t  actually want to do?  Whether it is a lunch date or a new house or a  workshop, if you receive an invitation that you’re not interested in accepting,  just say no. All you have to do is say“No, thank you,” or “That doesn’t feel true for me at this time,” or “I’m  looking for a different type of support right now.”

As I learned many years ago from one of my first teachers, “No,” is a  complete sentence. Just decline, politely if you wish. You do not have to  explain yourself to justify saying no. And if you’d like to explain  your decision, do everyone involved in that situation the decency of offering  the truth. If they have a problem with you, then they have a problem.  You don’t. The truth is enough, just offer it and let it work its magic.

2. When “I can’t afford it” really means “I’m not worth  it.”

This is when someone has access to the resources, really wants to invest them  in this opportunity, but isn’t sure that it’s okay to give themselves the gift  of this opportunity. I’ve seen women do it with everything from education to  clothing (especially bathing suits), and health care to vacations. These are the  same people who would never let their partner go to work without being perfectly  attired, their children go without medical or dental care. They make sure that  their co-workers’ shifts are covered so they can take time off. They give and  give to make sure that others have their needs met, but they won’t invest in  themselves.

This is not a life-affirming way to live. The “I’m not sure I’m worth it”  mindset leads to burnout, illness, and perhaps most painfully, an unshakable  case of martyrdom.

3. When “I can’t afford it” means “I’m afraid it won’t  work.”

That’s a reasonable concern, but instead of just saying, “I can’t afford to,”  let’s dig a little deeper. This either means that you’re unsure the thing you  are considering is worth the investment, or you’re unsure that you’ll do your  part to ensure your success after you invest. If it’s the quality of the  investment — the membership, certification, services, or products — do some  research before you give up on something that resonates as true for you. Ask for  recommendations, typical results, and whatever else might help you decide if  this is true for you. And don’t forget to find out if there is a money-back  guarantee, and what you have to do to ensure you’ll get a refund if the  investment doesn’t produce what you’d hoped it would.

If it’s that you aren’t sure you can hold up your end of the deal, then  that’s another matter altogether. Take time to think about what you’ll need to  succeed here. Support is key, and, depending on what you’re investing in, there  are plenty of things you can do to set yourself up for success. New gym  memberships work best with a workout partner. Recoveries are strengthened by  support groups, sponsors, and perhaps therapy. I’ve even noticed dramatically  improved results when my Sick of Being Stuck students share their experiences  with the people they live with.

If you find something that you believe is true for you, go the extra mile to  make sure it’s a solid investment and that you have what you need to show up  strong in the experience. Once those two things are in place, dig in… and change  your life.

4. When “I can’t afford it” means “my resources are  otherwise committed.”

This is a tricky one because there are plenty of ways to spend your money  that make sense and there are plenty of others that do not. The line between  those two groups of expenses varies from person to person. Since your life today  is (quite simply) the results you’ve cultivated by  investing your resources  (money…but also time, energy, creativity, etc.) the way you have in the past, it  should be relatively easy to assess how it’s working out for you.

Take a moment to think about your life as it is today. Is this what you want  more of in the future? If it is, then you’re set — keep doing what you’re doing.  This isn’t a matter of not being able to afford; this is about making choices.  You’re choosing to invest as you are, and it’s getting you exactly where you  want to be. No worries. Hold your head high, and let your choices speak for  themselves.

If you’re not pleased with the results you’re getting, it might be time to  move that line.

For example, I used to think that I didn’t have the money to eat the way I  knew was true for my body (sugar- and gluten-free vegan). I used to tell myself  that I couldn’t afford to make the change. Then, I realized that I was spending  money every single month buying the junk food that I was putting in my body,  plus the money I spent managing my poor health, and I was dangerously close to  needing to invest money in clothes in the next size up. This doesn’t even  account for the non-monetary investments, like energy I sacrificed by fueling my  body with junk and through the constant internal battle around food. I  sacrificed much sanity and self-esteem in this war, all of which I got back when  I made the change.

Essentially, it took a pretty harsh reality check about how many of my most  vital resources were being invested with such lame results. I knew I had to make  a change, to move that line to a place that was more aligned with my integrity,  so that I could bloom into who I wanted to be.

5. When “I can’t afford it” means “I want this, but I’m  not sure how to do it.”

This is where the magic is, if you ask me. When you feel the words forming in  your mouth, “I can’t afford to…,”  pause and consider if this is the kind of  opportunity you want to cultivate for yourself. If it is, make it so. Release  that old way of thinking, the belief that you cannot afford to have this thing  in your experience. Instead, declare it as your own, and open your mind and  heart to make room for it in your life. I’ve seen these opportunities become  possible in as little as 25 minutes and as long as years, depending on the  situation. Regardless of how long it takes to make it possible, if it’s  true, it was always worth whatever it took to make it happen.

I connect with people regularly who say they want to register for a class,  join a small group, or schedule a private session (with me or one of my peers)  but recognize that their budget currently does not include this sort of  experience. Some of them inquire, get the details, and vanish into thin air,  while others go to whatever lengths necessary to create this opportunity for  themselves.

That might mean redirecting funds from another lower priority, opening up to  additional income streams, or converting resources we already have into money we  can spend on what we want and need. As much as I can bear to, I strive to be  open to all manner of possibilities, and my needs and desires have been met in  all of these ways, plus gifts, mysteries, and more than a few downright  serendipitous experiences.

This weekend, in fact, we are going to use one of my favorite tricks from the  Sick of Being  Stuck program. We are having a yard sale to turn the stuff that no longer  serves us into the cash we need to take a huge next step in the life of our  dreams. For us, this is about redirecting resources, cashing in on what we’ve  brought into our lives in the past to keep dancing forward into our beautiful  future.

And after sharing the Sick of Being Stuck experience for almost a year now, I know  that — even without going through the motions of selling it all — releasing what  no longer serves you from your physical environment is to change your life.  Assuming, of course, that you want it changed. It will heal you, free you,  restore you into the kind of person who calls in exactly what you desire.

If you think you can’t “afford” something, you’re probably right. But it  doesn’t have to be this way. You are worth more than a distorted perception of  yourself and the limited returns you think you can cultivate. Even if the  decisions you are making aren’t cutting it right now, you must remember  that you are still in control. You can make different choices. This is your  life… go live it.