"Shame needs three things to grow exponentially in our lives secrecy, silence, and judgment." Brené Brown
What is money shame?
Money shame is a deep emotional feeling that ties our decisions about money with our self-worth and triggers secrecy from those we love. It leads us down a path of avoidance or mental blocks where money is concerned and negative self-talk that things will never get better and is rooted in the belief that we don’t deserve better. It is our negative feelings about money.
Combating Money Shame
Examine the Thought
Dose of Grace
Recognize shame when you see it or hear it. Shame is different than guilt. A shame statement is I am bad with money, compared to a guilt statement of I made a bad decision with money. Both guilt and shame are harmful but shame goes to the core of a person leaving lasting effects if not addressed. Our financial situation is a result of our behaviors, lack of knowledge, practice, not of our worthiness or weakness.
Many of us have not taken a course on personal finance, yet we are expected to just know. Isn’t there something wrong with that? If we didn’t study for a test and didn’t do well, we tend to say “Next time, I’ll study or I should have studied” We focus on the behaviors and our knowledge. Let’s do the same with our money.
Examine our thoughts to understand the origins of our shame. Challenge these thoughts by asking guiding questions.
Where did that come from? Who told you that? What is the evidence for this? Is there evidence that proves it wrong? We tend to confirm our beliefs by identifying how we are right instead of focusing on the proof that proves our thoughts wrong.
Grace is a gift that oftentimes the people who love us most give freely. To find compassion oftentimes we need to look no farther than a best friend, a loving partner, or a supportive parent. Start acting as your own best friend. If your friend was feeling shame, how would you respond? I am guessing with compassion. Act in ways that demonstrate your self-worth and value. Instead of focusing on failing, focus on your strengths and what you do so well, then build. “What about the things I’ve done right?”
Be vulnerable by talking to a trusted friend or professional. Oftentimes we will find the response of “me too” or “I have a similar experience.” Sometimes the best place to start is with some childhood memories. Be patient. It is a journey!