Recently, I had the following conversation with Jane (name changed). Feeling frantic, the young, professional woman said to me, “I don’t have the money to see you. But I will find it! I can’t go on like this anymore! I am so unhappy! Can you imagine? I am sorry I did not contact you sooner. I was too ashamed.”
This kind of sharing might seem strange to you at first. But to me, they are the staple of my work as a financial emotional intelligence coach. When my clients first come to see me, it is usually because the sh*t has hit the fan. As a result, they are feeling frantically desperate to resolve their problems.
Jane’s case is not alone. Like me in the past, the young woman waited until she was at the end of her rope … until she felt like she was about to lose everything. Only then, did her desire to help herself kick higher than the shame she said she was feeling at the time.
When asked why she had waited so long before coming to see me, the young woman frantically answered, “I thought I could figure it out on my own. But things just got worse and worse …”
And when asked about her current line of work, Jane flatly said that she hated her job; she wished she had studied something different in college. Looking away, she said she kept that job because she was craving “stability of income” above everything else. Sound familiar?
Let me ask you …
Why do we perpetuate financial shame?
Why do we crave stability of income above everything else?
I believe the answer is, because we think stability of income will help us stop feeling ashamed of our past financial decisions.
If that is true, how will perpetuating financial shame ever make us feel good about our past financial decisions?
Clearly, perpetuating financial shame does NOT work.
With that in mind …
How do things become better?
I believe things become better when we focus on:
becoming aware. ‘In what areas am I perpetuating financial shame?’
becoming intentional. ‘What can I do right now to effectively address my financial shame?‘
becoming accountable. ‘What can I do right now to keep holding myself accountable to thrive both emotionally and financially?’
When I allowed myself to feel my financial shame, I realized that by compassionately touching it, it was losing its power over me. Compassionately touching our financial shame gives us the clarity to make emotionally intelligent decisions that made us thrive in all areas of our lives. Therefore …
Here are four (4) rock solid applications showing you how to stop perpetuating financial shame in your life:
Write down all the areas where you might be feeling financial shame. For example, you might be feeling financial shame around your divorce, job salary, retirement income, education fund for your kids, credit card debts, bank loans, etc.
Ask yourself, “Why do I feel that way?” For each listed area, ask yourself what it is about the job salary or <insert area> that might make you feel financial shame.
Take a trip down your childhood memories. The knee-jerk in the application above is to answer superficially. Therefore, if you are keeping a job you despise because “you need the money” (that’s the easy answer), who taught you that making money is more important than acknowledging your true feelings? In Jane’s case, going deeper with me, she revealed that her mother keeps telling her that her daughter is “useless” unless her child holds a job and makes money.
Make your emotional well-being your #1 responsibility and here is why: a thought brings up an image in our mind. If we keep seeing that image in our mind, we then associate an emotion with it (we assign a meaning). Should we continue thinking this thought and evoking that emotion, we then generate a feeling. Our feelings are generated by dipping into our beliefs and memories (our past clusters of thoughts), which triggers a “new” thought. A thought brings up an image in our mind …. Now, can you think of what happens if the thought we are having triggers financial shame? Then what?
Remember … financial shame is a state of mind (thought) that we can stop perpetuating if we effectively address the root cause of our financial shame.
My name is Anne Beaulieu and I am a financial emotional intelligence coach who assists her clients in compassionately understanding where their financial shame comes from so they thrive both emotionally and financially. I can be reached at https://walkinginside.com/contact-us
Your financial EQ coach,