Financial Resources vs. Mental Resources (Part 2) 

We are often taught how to acquire financial resources and make money through our eight-to-five jobs, starting a side hustle or monetising our talents to increase our sources of income to secure the bag. Seldom are we taught the mental and emotional resources required to manage the financial resources. Things like setting boundaries or having uncomfortable conversations with our families and our loved ones regardless of the type of relationship is key. I sit down with Mpheng Ayat Thamae, a counselling psychologist who is passionate about mental wellness to discuss financial versus mental resources. 

What are mental resources?

Ok, so just so that people don’t go to Google to search for ‘mental resources’, I was telling you that I was having a conversation with my dad, tying to understand why people don’t understand things. I would usually ask him questions, struggling to reconcile the world and just people’s school of thought. My day would always say, but Mpheng you have the mental resources that other people might not have to understand a particular thing.

So, for me, mental resources are the capacity that you have emotionally and mentally to understand your environment, to deal with challenges and with life. It is the capacity to deal with things such as finances, boundaries and relationships. That is how we can simply put what mental resources are.

What are your thoughts on ‘black tax’?

I think sometimes we are helped by reframing or rewording things because it is less heavy. Being someone who is black and from a black family with legacies of trauma and everything I’ve decided to call it gratitude instead of ‘black tax’ because that helps me. By calling it gratitude, we are not even trying to go away from the fact that we call it ‘black tax’ because people feel like something is being taken away that is not necessarily being taken away in other instances. Some people feel like ‘black tax’ is an obligation because that’s how it is treated in their families and ask themselves ‘what do I need to do to get out of this?’

What are boundaries and how do I set them?

Talking about boundaries, I think they are important. I don’t think they are easy to put in place, but it is something that can be done. We must be aware that you cannot set boundaries overnight because we are dealing with systems or dysfunctions within our families that have been functional all our lives. Just because you go to therapy in your twenties or thirties, and you want to change the entire game can be very difficult. You are talking to a generation that is not even within where we think you know. 

Setting boundaries for example can be you saying ‘this is what I can reasonably afford to give you at the end of the month’ or ‘this is what I will be willing to give’ so that where you are giving, there’s also effort as well in. In a way that helps you. I think we need to put those boundaries in place and be okay with not being liked. We need to be okay with the repercussions that come with those boundaries. 

How do I process the guilt that comes with setting boundaries?

a) Go to therapy and ask for help.

Firstly, this is not an easy question, but I will give a few pointers because there are many reasons why people feel like that. This is why we advocate for therapy because you won’t know until you get help. We deal with many issues in therapy where for example you are probably thinking ‘I am such a nice person’ or ‘when I haven’t helped people, I don’t sleep’ meanwhile it is your own issues. You realize that you have experienced trauma for example and when you were in that trauma, you felt abundant or neglected. There’s a possibility that you project those same feelings every time you see someone that seems to be in need. These are things that you realize when you’re in therapy, where you are like ‘oh I am not really such a nice person to be honest, I am just wounded, and I need to heal. I think once you know that if you can go for therapy, if there is a means to go to therapy, that will help you.

b) Affirmations 

Where the issues are not even anything deep, I think you can talk yourself up or remind yourself that you’re doing enough. There are many people who are doing a lot in their families, but their families still make them feel like they’re not doing enough. So you must be the one to look yourself in the mirror and say things like ‘Mpheng you are doing well, you are doing enough’. Remind yourself of what you’ve done or achieved because once you believe it, it’s much better for you to live it out too.

c) Talk to someone you trust

Talk to that that one person who knows you and that you trust as your sounding board. You can always say ‘this is how I am feeling about the structure of my family or this relationship. How do I deal with this? Personally, talking to someone I trust has helped me, where they affirm what I have already told myself that I am doing enough. 

d) Ask yourself questions

Another tip, especially this generation is to ask ourselves questions such as ‘Why do I do certain things? Why do I always have to pay the bill? Why am I always paying for things? Is it generosity or is it control? By having this conversation and asking yourself uncomfortable conversations, only then can you discover and get to know yourself. 

d) Seek counsel 

In conclusion, I encourage you to seek counsel, seek financial advice from qualified professional. You don’t know everything. Just the fact that you have a salary doesn’t mean that you know everything about money, so call people that know you, pay for services that help you understand more about money and take it from there. I think we underestimate the insight we can get from seeing a professional about things. We are in a generation where we are opening businesses, without always doing thorough research. What is the risk? What am I seeing? What am I spending on this? I believe if you need counselling before you go into marriage, you need counselling before you buy a big property. So, please seek counsel.

Love. Peace. Money 

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