“Acknowledging the good that you already have in your life is the foundation of all abundance.” – Eckhart Tolle

I grew up in an Eastern-European middle-class family. After the Romanian revolution in 1989, money got depreciated at such a level that, with the same amount of money my parents could buy a car, they ended up buying a new TV.

I was raised thinking money was evil and being rich was bad. That’s not what I believe to be true today, and we can’t feed the poor from an empty plate. Financial stability helps us feel safe and secure, and that is a basic human need. Money is as it is: not bad, not good, not evil. What people do with the money can be either right or wrong. It’s all about how we use it.

But if we let the money own us, we turn into hostages. We start running a never-ending rat race toward happiness and project it into an imaginary future, and forget to be grateful for everything else we have.

Looking back on my life, I came to realize that I didn’t know how to be happy. I continuously kept myself busy, always running somewhere so I could achieve more or better. Turning my happiness into a project and waiting for “the big things” to happen so I could finally feel joyful and satisfied. For too many years, I spent a lot of my precious time complaining. I thought I never had enough time, money, or love.

I often used to think disempowering thoughts like:

The day I can afford my own flat, I will be happy.

When I buy that car, I will be happy. 

The day I make x amount of money, I will be happy.

In reality, that was a trap because it never felt like I had gathered enough.

Years ago, I used to work in China. I lived in a beautiful compound in downtown Shanghai, all paid for by my company, and I was single, with no loans, debt, or financial commitments. It all looked wonderful, but deep inside, I was so unhappy! I knew I always wanted to travel the world and meet people from different cultures. I had enough money to afford that, and still, I was so afraid of spending! Even today I am thankful to the good friend who insisted on me following her on a trip because that’s how I finally managed to break that wall.

As a child, I often saw my parents saving money for the “black days” of their pension years (the time when one would not earn a salary and could potentially “start starving.”) As a result, I followed the same behavior once I started to make my own money.

So here’s what I’ve decided:

Money is my friend. I spend some, and I save some. However, I won’t spend my precious younger years saving everything for my retirement. Saving money is a form of self-care, and something I currently do. However, I know I won’t die with my savings account, and I won’t look back on my life with regrets once I’m older. I invest in myself and my learning, and I spend part of my money on experiences, making sure I gather more precious memories than material things.

If you tend to value your human worth through your money or your possessions, think of bankruptcy. Think of those people who suddenly lose what they have in their accounts. Life is a precious gift, worth living to the fullest. Grow dreams, not regrets. 

“You will never regret what you do in life. You will only regret what you don’t do.” ~ Wayne Dyer

And now, I would like to hear from you. How do you like spending your money?

Sara Fabian is a Women’s Empowerment & Career Coach and inspirational speaker, on a mission to help professional women to discover their unique strengths, gifts and talents, boost their confidence, find their calling and live a meaningful life of purpose. For weekly inspiration, subscribe to her free newsletter at www.sarafabiancoaching.com or follow her on Facebook.