In The Soul of Money, Lynne Twist explores two contrasting attitudes toward money and things in general. The prevailing attitude is one of scarcity and competition. The alternative is sufficiency, an attitude that leads to collaboration and a healthy flow of resources.
My purpose here is not to explain these concepts or to advocate for them, though I think you'll find the differences fascinating and inspiring if you take time to read the book. As she explores ways of changing attitudes, she explains a concept lifestory writers may find useful. She points out that the words we use in our thoughts about (money) shape our attitudes about (money) as well as expressing them. She has found that becoming aware of the wording of thoughts is the first step toward changing attitudes. Awareness creates the opportunity to rewrite internal scripts and thus change attitudes, for example from scarcity to sufficiency.
Many people have found a parallel situation in writing about past experiences. When we look back at some of the darker times in our lives, it's easy and natural to feel victimized, angry, guilty or sorry for ourselves. There is an alternative: we can look for the hidden blessings in those experiences. We can look at them as opportunities to discover things that have made us stronger and enabled us to do or learn important things. This insight seldom develops until we are aware of the underlying thoughts and attitudes, and writing stories is a powerful tool for bringing those thoughts to light. Once you are aware of the thoughts, you may revise your understanding of the situation, and edit those thoughts if you wish.
Your attitude about the past colors the way you describe it in your stories. Some may wonder if it's honest and true to change your perspective — whether that interjects a false note into “what really happened.” There is no absolute answer to that question, but John Kotre's explanation in White Gloves, that memory is the way we make sense of the past, may serve as a guidepost.
Looking at the situation from that angle, “what really happened” is only data, and that data is meaningless until it's interpreted. The interpretation may change from time to time as we learn new things, and a change of attitude amounts to learning something new. The interpretation is how you make sense of the past and your life, and what else would you want to convey to those you write a legacy for?
Whether or not you read The Soul of Money, you may find it intriguing to write about your relationship with money and your attitudes about it. Even if nothing changes as a result, these attitudes tend to be passed from one generation to the next, and documenting them is fascinating.
Sharon Lippincott, aka Ritergal