“Shame, the intensely painful feeling or experience of believing that we are flawed and therefore unworthy of love and belonging “
Shame is an internal emotion, inexorably linked to our identity. Although we use “guilt” and “shame” interchangeably, guilt is very much external, “I did something bad”. Shame on the other hand is that sly serpent in our heads, spewing its poison message telling us that we are bad.
That poison permeates our thoughts as we look for more and more evidence that corroborates its truth.
The result, in the words of Brene Brown, “Shame corrodes the very part of us that believes we are capable of change.”
When it comes to shame and its impact on our wallets, it’s clear this staggeringly crippling emotion is not fertile ground for money success.
What does money shame sound like to you?
Shame comes in many flavours, each one totally unique to our individual life experiences.
Despite being totally bespoke it speaks one common language, and that is that we are terribly flawed and undeserving.
Common shame themes are;
“I’m bad with money”
“I should be further ahead in my salary/my savings/ my investments. What is wrong with me?
“Why can’t I stop overspending and get out of debt, am I just stupid”
“They don’t pay me more because I don’t deserve more, what’s the point of arguing”
“I am so ashamed that I earn more than my friends and family, it feels totally wrong”
“Why did I let myself get into so much debt, what will everyone think of me”
“ I’ve inherited a large amount of money, but I’m don’t understand anything financial”
Money shame imprisons us in the belief we a powerless, beyond redemption and totally unable to change and until we break free, we are destined to live our current money story.
How to escape the shackles of shame
There are 3 steps to getting on top of shame:
- Acknowledging it’s there, consciously bring it out into the open and gently and compassionately uncover and understand its source.
- Challenging its narrative. Shame thrives in the negative self-talk we constantly bombard ourselves with. “I’m bad with money”, “I don’t deserve wealth, “I’m not good enough”.
A large part of healing shame is challenging the language.
It may be too big of a leap to consciously positively affirming how good we are with money, or how deserving we may be. To our battered soul this will come off as inauthentic and unbelievable. However if we gently approach this as “I’m going to get financially educated and learn to be better”, or” I’m going to keep a record of the value I bring to the table”, it is more constructive and supportive of challenging the shame script.
Focusing on actions we can take to change our story becomes the catalyst for re-igniting our own sense of power and ability to change the circumstances.
- Gratefully recognising what we have achieved and all the good things in our lives. Shame is nourished in negative bias and directs our thoughts to all that we haven’t achieved or don’t have.
When we start to challenge the story we have created by focusing on the positives in our lives and our successes we open ourselves to receiving more of that abundance and achieving more of what we begin to see we are capable of.
And concluding with another powerful Brene piece of wisdom, shame needs three things to grow; secrecy, silence and judgement all elements that exist in copious amounts when it comes to anything money. Challenge this taboo, join a supportive money group, find an empowering money coach, mentor or advisor and bring money and shame into the open. It’s through our willingness to challenge our boundaries, get uncomfortable and expose our vulnerabilities that we eliminate the power of shame.