It’s easy to fall into the habit of buying affection when you’re not living your most Dynamic, Intriguing, Vivacious and Audacious life – sometimes we don’t FEEL the Diva within. Whatever is going on with your relationships has a definite effect on you – uncertainty can drop your energy level and darken your mood. When things are going well and communication is clear and easy and you feel affirmed and loved, your mood is lighter and reflects the overall happiness you feel.
There are thousands of books and lots of other advice in our world about how to make your relationships run smoothly – some of it very good, some of it very bad. The tips below are basic guidelines for relating to others in a healthier way so your inner qualities speak more loudly than your bank account.
You’ll also find suggestions for applying these principles in some of the stickiest situations, like those involving romance and parenting.
DivaStyle Guidelines for Overcoming the Urge to Buy Affection
1. Let people invest in you. Common sense and clinical studies show that people value each other more when they put their own time and resources into building a connection. Allow for give and take. Enjoy the intriguing side of your personality and the Dynamic qualities that encourage people to WANT to invest in you – accept that compliment!
2. Identify what you may be compensating for. It can be tempting to give your kids an expensive phone because you feel guilty about missing too many soccer practices. Ask yourself if you’re using money to substitute for time and emotions. What can you change in your daily routine to make more time for what’s important to you and that will alleviate the guilt that makes you try to “buy” the positive reactions you want.
3. Examine control issues. Some people equate power with money. Positive and respectful interactions reduce the dangers of feeling obligated or manipulated. Pressuring people into doing what you want using money might be effective, but it leaves behind a bad taste in your mouth – the “control” is only in force as long as the money / reward is maintained.
4. Review your conditioning. The way we’re brought up has a big impact on our lives. Spotting patterns like excessive spending is the first step in changing them. Being aware of negative or unproductive patters is necessary to start changing them – as long as you are unconsciously bound to your conditioning, it will NOT change.
Suggestions for Your Romantic Life
1. Take turns treating each other. You may be one of those people who always reach for the dinner bill. Try giving your date the chance to play host on some of your evenings out. Money creates power dynamics that may not be healthy for a long-term relationship unless they are managed and considered on a deeper level.
2. Graciously accept gifts and favors. Learn to accept the kindness of others in a positive and receptive way. Giving feels good, so feel happy about the pleasure they will enjoy.
3. Aim for equity. Be flexible if you and your partner have different financial capacities. Maybe one of you can spring for gourmet restaurants and the other can fix your cars for free. Everyone has a way to contribute to a relationship – be creative in finding those ways.
4. Set limits. Generosity is an endearing quality. Just ensure that you give for wholesome reasons and that your partner appreciates you. Being generous does NOT mean you are acting as a doormat – tap into your self-esteem and ensure that you are not being taken advantage of – because no one enjoys being “taken”.
5. Get off to a good start. Naturally, it’s easiest if you start out treating each other fairly. Otherwise, you may need to have a heart to heart talk or recognize when it’s time to change the dynamics in the relationship, or if they can’t be resolved, making the decision to move on.
Suggestions for Parenting
1. Spend more time with your family. Your time is the most valuable thing you can share with your family. Make family dinners and bed time stories a top priority. Things cannot replace YOU – and what your family truly wants is more of YOU.
2. Discuss any major changes. If you’re putting the brakes on lavish spending, let your family, significant other, or kids know why. Reassure them of your love and make it an opportunity to teach more important values. It can take time to “unspoil” a loved one, but consistency and firmness, with a positive message about the change, will eventually bear fruit.
3. Encourage free and low-cost activities. You can have a good time anywhere. Check out community calendars for free concerts and street fairs. Pitch a tent and camp out in your own backyard. Plan activities that don’t require a big infusion of cash in order to create positive memories.
4. Increase your philanthropic activities. Many organizations offer family activities that will allow you to volunteer as a group. Bond together while you clean up your local park and show your kids how good it feels to help others. You’ll be planting a seed that can grow with your family and it’s members over the years.
5. Coordinate gift giving with other family members. If you’re divorced, you may be especially vulnerable to using money as a way to mitigate the disruptions that occur in your children’s lives. Talk with your ex-spouse so you can take a united approach. Be centered and firm about NOT using gifts or money as a way of currying favor – remember that these patterns can continue through adulthood and will cause more problems than they solve later in life.
You deserve to be valued for who you are. It’s delightful to exchange gifts and favors with those you love, but set healthy limits. In the long run, you’ll strengthen your connections and enable everyone to share in the joy of giving.