“You’re so bad with money”. “A fool and her money are easily parted, and you are the fool”, “Money burns a hole in your pocket”, “Why can’t you do anything right?”

Comments you are likely to hear from your worst enemy?

No, things we are constantly saying to ourselves about money. And shockingly things we believe to the core of our being because we are constantly reminding ourselves that this is who we are with our money.  To paraphrase a wonderfully appropriate quote, our beliefs become our thoughts, our thoughts become our actions, our actions become our habits and just like that our financial destiny is created. This is the ultimate form of self-sabotage, buying into the stories in our head. 

Psychologists have identified a few common signposts to identify when we are immersed in our own personal form of self sabotage. Do any of these resonate with you?

Ongoing procrastination

There is something we really want to do to put our dreams in motion or something we know we have to do to get on financial track. But we don’t do it. This is so much more than being lazy although we may use laziness as one of our excuses, this is about something deeper than the task we have to do. For a large number of us it boils down to simple fear.

I say fear is simple but it is not. It is a strong and powerful force that prevents us from being who we want to be and doing what we want to do. It permeates every aspect of our lives, it feeds us lies, that we are not good enough that we don’t have what it takes, that achieving what we want is not an option for us, that somehow we have been excluded from the world of achievers and we believe it.

 

Addictive behaviour

When we hear addictive behaviours our minds always default to the usual suspects of alcohol and drugs but there are equally as damaging behaviours that may fall into our regular daily routines. A shopping addiction, whereby we continually add to the clothes in our closet, the high end technology in our house or ironically the countless self-help courses that we invest in and never complete to the more insidious hoarding of our money, and never spending, investing or making any attempt to grow it.

And once again this is not about the addiction it is about the underlying cause. Fear stealthily lurking in the background. It may be fear of what money means to us. Maybe to our subconscious money means unhappiness, the absence of love, judgement or becoming someone that is regarded as greedy or corrupt.

 

Constant worry

There is a constant undercurrent of stress that we feel running below the surface. Sometimes it erupts as anger or tears. It feels like the backpack we cannot take off, always there.

We cannot pinpoint the exact cause as it seems all encompassing.  We fear looking at our bank account, opening bills or reviewing our credit card statements as we know a spark that will ignite our worry into a full blown inferno rests in them.

Our fear has once again manifested into worry. Worry about the present, worry about the future and worry that in the event that our formless and almost nameless worry occurs we will prove inadequate and helpless in dealing with it.

Unfair comparison

For many of us our favourite form of self sabotage is to compare ourselves to someone we have judged more accomplished, more beautiful, more something than us and of course come up grossly inadequate.

This is the easiest form of self sabotage as the level of proof of that person’s superiority rests totally on our own judgement. We can choose the level of our inadequacy as measured by the yardstick we set. And you better believe we are going to set it so far above our own achievements that it gives that person an almost godlike status of perfection.

This ranks right up there as one of the most dangerous forms of self sabotage as it is the frontrunner of procrastination, hopelessness and depression.

Feeling hopeless

Feeling hopeless brings us a strange sense of relief.

It places us in the victim seat and removes all responsibility on us to take action. After all any action we would take would be for nothing because it is all so hopeless and out of our control.

This is a slippery slope to acceptance and once we accept the status quo as unchangeable and our fate in life we become more disinclined to take action and that is how we get caught up living in that vicious cycle of complaining about our circumstances but never doing anything to change them.

 

How can you combat your self sabotage ?

Recognise the behaviour

Challenging our self sabotaging behaviour means recognising it.  Identify when the persistent limiting thoughts take root in our mind. Monitor and journal them for later analysis.

Challenge the behaviour

Adopt an onlooker perspective  and start questioning your thoughts.

What are the thoughts about?

Where might these thoughts be limiting you in your life, this is important to get clear and also important to journal. Putting the words to paper brings them into the open and gives you something concrete to challenge and contradict.

What could be the stories behind these thoughts. Get curious, what are your first money memories as a child. What money experiences play in your head regularly and probably more so when you are falling into your self sabotaging behaviour.

This is not an opportunity to beat yourself up. It is the time to question yourself from the perspective of a caring supportive counsellor who is there bearing no judgement.

Develop self supporting Behaviour

What encouragement and positive thoughts can you use to replace your negative reel. Start by creating affirmations that are supportive and within your realm of belief. Affirmations that don’t resonate with you contradict your deepest beliefs and are limiting rather than empowering. You need to grow into your affirmations, start with simplest statements based on action steps that will move you away from the self sabotaging behaviour. Start consistently reciting that affirmation and support it by becoming the person that achieves it. “I am becoming a person that would rather take my lunch to work then spend money buying it everyday”. Be this person.

Set a target date and add a new affirmation, slightly more challenging but still doable. “I am becoming a person that saves £50 per month.” Or a statement addressing something that is important to you and moves you further away from the negative talk you have playing on repeat.

Get bigger and less fearless in your affirmations as they become a part of your new mindset.

 

In conclusion

Negative self talk is the prehistoric part of our brains most effective method for keeping us safe and unchallenged within our comfort zone. It won’t ever be silenced but if we can arm the evolved part of our brain with tools to question and contradict it, we will have created a path for us to step into each challenge and become the person we need to be to make our way through it to our next level of achievement in every aspect of our lives.

 

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