Bartering, how can bartering be bad? How did stopping this practice offer me less stress and more respect for the services that I do want to be a part of my life?
I've been a massage therapist for 18 years and bartering has ALWAYS been a part of my professional life. I've bartered with other massage therapists, acupuncturists, hair dressers, estheticians, contractors and even with an organic farmer. The concept seems so carefree, it's a positive exchange, "let me exchange my service with someone else who offers a service or product that I enjoy receiving".
Well, earlier this year, I had a week where I was performing my end of bartering with several other professionals. I ended up offering almost $500 in services in one week. Again, you may think, "How amazing! You are giving and receiving so much in services without any money being exchanged!". This particular week was a gift to me, because even though I had lined up so many other services to receive from others, I had rent to pay, groceries to buy, utilities to pay, and other bills coming that month. That $500 was a big financial hit instead of a positive. I felt drained and frustrated and knew I had to assess why this wasn't working for me anymore.
I found that I was just exchanging services without any concept of what my actual budget was for self care, services or products each month. I started a new budgeting program the same month that I discontinued bartering and it gave me real perspective on how I was directing my time and money. I felt confident with moving forward and shifting my bartering options and offering the professionals that I was seeing the money that they deserved for their services.
You see, there is an positive energetic exchange that happens with paying someone for the services they provide. I began paying someone money that they could use, to pay their bills, to put towards their savings, for food on their table, etc. and the biggest weight off my shoulders was the EMOTION that can be attached with bartering. I've seen it, I've felt it, I've dealt with it through all of the years I have bartered. The emotion that happens when someone moves away and doesn't hold up their end of the exchange, or cancels or reschedules for their end of the exchange. Or maybe something shifts in me, where I no longer desire someone else's services, then the emotion I have to put out there to let them know that I won't be exchanging anymore. Emotion, emotion emotion. No bartering = no emotion, at least the negative emotion that was a creeping into this practice for me over the years with bartering.
The services I receive now feel so much more rewarding because I am making the conscious effort to budget what I need each month and to pay the practitioner for their service, offering them what they request from the universe and believe they deserve! Check out this great article by Denise Duffield-Thomas that inspired me to end bartering and put abundance and positivity into my practice at all times.