How To Use Self-Introspection To Increase Financial Intimacy

financial empathy financial intimacy Jun 01, 2022

Understanding all of the roles your brain plays in helping to develop and maintain financial intimacy is essential.

That’s because the more ways you have of understanding something, the deeper your learning.

There are three major roles of the brain when it comes to financial intimacy. 

  • Process information
  • Maintain a relationship with the self
  • Maintain relationships with others


Process Information

The brain plays the role of processing information. This is essential to developing financial intimacy because it helps you understand what is happening so that you can make informed decisions about money. 

Your brain makes decisions by continuously processing information.

It takes in information from the environment, from people around you, from your past experiences, from your senses, and from your body in order to help you understand what decision to make. 

You’re essentially collecting data all of the time and this creates the foundation on which all of your decisions are made. 

This includes who to trust when to feel afraid or anxious, and when to be bold. 

Maintain a relationship with the self

The brain is actively engaged in taking care of you all of the time. It ensures that you're seeing yourself accurately and that you’re managing your needs.  

Self-awareness is a critical part of financial intimacy because it allows you to be honest with yourself. It allows you to critically evaluate your behaviors, your feelings, and your choices. This is essential when it comes to your finances and to your intimate relationship. 

Maintain social relationships

The brain helps you manage your relationship with others. Your brain is a social brain that helps you interact with people and balance that with your relationship with yourself.  

In order to have financial intimacy, you need to be able to communicate with your partner about money. 

You also need to be able to balance your partner’s needs with your own. This is at the core of developing financial empathy in your relationship, which is foundational to financial intimacy. 

Communicating effectively with empathy also helps you feel connected to your partner and stops arguments about money in their tracks. 


The Human Brain Is Flexible And Built For Change

The human brain is flexible, which means it can learn and change throughout its lifetime. 

This ability is called neuroplasticity

Neuroplasticity occurs when experiences cause your brain to physically change. For instance, if you learn to play the piano, the part of your brain responsible for processing music will become larger. 

“The Brain Is Built To Change in Response to Experience” Neuroscientist Richard Davidson

Your brain is built for change because it has the ability to create new neural pathways. Neural pathways are like roads that connect different parts of your brain. When you learn something new, or have a new experience, your brain creates a new neural pathway. This process is called neurogenesis. 

Your brain is flexible and plastic. It keeps developing and growing as you continue to learn, heal, and grow. So the things that you experience as an adult can either help, or hinder, your ability to increase your financial intimacy, or your comfort with money and in your intimate relationships. 

Some experiences, like learning a new skill or mastering a difficult task, can cause your brain to create more neural pathways. Other experiences, such as stress or trauma, can cause your brain to lose neural pathways or to create neural pathways which aren’t necessarily beneficial such as conditioned responses or hypervigilance. 

It’s nurture and nature. This is why there’s so much hope that you can foster financial intimacy because your brain can create new wiring as you process new information and learn new things.

As you create new experiences you’ll change the literal shape of your brain. It’s like when you go to a gym. Over time you’ll see your muscles change in size and shape as you go to the gym continually. 

The same happens in your brain. When measured in a an fMRI machine the way your brain responds changes through time as you learn new things. This means that it’s never too late to create new experiences and change the way you are in the world. 

You can literally change your own mind! 

The ability of your brain to change is amazing. However, it does have its limits. The brain can only create new neural pathways up to a certain point. Once you reach adulthood, the number of new neural pathways you can create starts to decline. 

This doesn’t mean that you can’t learn new things or that your brain can’t change. It just means that the process of neurogenesis is not as efficient as it was when you were a child. 

What are ways to change the way your brain works?

The good news is, that there are things you can do to help your brain create new neural pathways. 

We can change the way our brains work through: 

  • Intention
  • New Action
  • New Experience

You can set an intention for what you want to change and decide to create new actions and experiences that reinforce that intention. 

You can take new actions and each action reinforces a new neural pathway that reinforces the new way in which your brain is functioning. 

You can cultivate new experiences, like learning new things, which changes the way you see things and helps to create new connections in your brain.

Consider trying something new that helps you feel more comfortable with money or intimacy. 

Maybe it’s taking a financial literacy class or going to therapy. 

By doing things differently, you can change the way your brain works and respond to different situations.

And that can lead to a more financially intimate relationship with yourself and others.

What is Self-introspection?

Self-introspection is the act of turning your attention inwards and observing your own thoughts, feelings, and emotions. 

This can be done through journaling, meditation, or simply taking some time to sit with your own thoughts and feelings.

When you take the time to self-introspect, you may start to notice patterns in your thoughts and emotions. 

This can be helpful in identifying areas that you may want to work on or change. This can also help you begin to see the patterns in how your brain works to develop and maintain financial intimacy. 

For example, you may begin to see that you feel a certain way when you focus on empathizing with your partner instead of on just your own experience. Or you may begin to notice how your body tenses up when you have a conflict about money but not when you discuss it calmly. 

This type of information can help you become more attuned to both yourself and your partner. 

Self-introspection can also help you to become more self-aware, which can lead to a more intimate relationship with yourself. When you know your own thoughts and feelings, it becomes easier to manage them and respond in a way that is healthy for you.

If you’re interested in deepening your self-introspection, consider trying one of these methods:

  • Journaling: Write about your thoughts and feelings on a regular basis. This can help you to track your progress over time and see how your relationship with yourself changes.
  • Meditation: Spend some time each day focusing on your breath and clearing your mind. This can help you to become more present and aware of your thoughts and emotions.
  • Therapy: Talking with a therapist can help you to explore your thoughts and feelings in a safe and supportive environment.

By taking the time to self-introspect, you can develop a more intimate relationship with yourself. 

This can lead to greater financial intimacy as well, as you learn to manage your thoughts and emotions around money.

Therapy Informed Financial Planning can help you develop self-introspection as you develop your financial plan. I invite you to schedule your free 30-minute discovery call today. 

Wishing You Healthy Love and Money,

Ed Coambs,


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