Happy Summer Solstice! What did you do this weekend? I have to admit that I didn't get to really enjoy the first days of Summer, like I wanted to because I was working and studying. But I gotta say, ain't no shame in my game! A girl's gotta do what she's gotta do, right? Well, is there shame in your financial, or otherwise, game? If so, my friend and coach, Melissa Fino has some tips to help you out!
Flat broke and Ashamed to Financially Secure and Confident
Imagine yourself sitting at an intimate dinner party. You’re laughing, sipping on a glass of red wine and having the time of your life when you’re hit with it. You tense up. Your mood goes south. The dynamics in the room have changed. You find yourself searching the room for a way out but there isn’t one. You have to stay. Not only do you have to stay, you’re forced to confront the one thing you hide away, money, or your lack of it per se.
In less than a few minutes everyone at the table is planning a vacation to Palm Springs for the weekend, but there’s absolutely no way you can go. Your bank account is overdrawn and all of your credit cards are maxed out.
You can’t admit that to your friends so you do what you know best, you lie. You start scrambling for excuses. I can’t...my mother's in town, my dog has surgery, or I’m saving for a new car. Your long list of lies continues on and on, and then you whisper to yourself...
It’s ok. Nobody knows. I didn’t get caught.
You know this situation all to well, as it happens all the time. You skip coffee with friends and lunch with your parents. You ignore your phone calls and let all of your bills accumulate in the bottom desk drawer.
If you’ve ever been in a room when the topic of money has surfaced and felt helpless, inferior, incompetent, or any other intense negative emotion that has left you feeling powerless, then my friend, you’ve felt ashamed.
Money is a topic that many of us never discuss, whether we have it or not.
It can be shameful as it’s seen as a personal failure. Especially, when we accrue debt or waste away our savings. We feel ashamed when we have to say no all the time when we’d love to say yes. We’re shamed when we lie. And without the appropriate tools to face the truth we shamefully hide in silence.
But money habits have been handed down to us from generation to generation and if we don’t face them now, neither will our children.
An article that was recently published, in the USA today states that women face a greater income disparity then men. They also lead the race in student and credit card debt. But I wonder, is this a race we want to lead? I doubt it.
If you’re currently, hiding debt and carrying around shame then there’s something you must know. That shameful, financial burden will continue to follow you wherever you go. It’s never, just going, to go away.
But, believe it or not, money shame isn’t different than most other types of shame. When we live beyond our means, we do so, because we feel as if we need to be more. We spend money to fill the void that’s missing within. So we buy material items and accumulate more and more. Chances are if we opened our closets we’d find them filled with useless objects we may have never even used or haven’t even used in years.
But how do we break through the layer of shame that’s been holding us back and change this detrimental behavior?
Dig Deep- The first step is to dig deep inside and uncover what you are trying to mask. Is there a feeling or emotion that you’re running from? Could it be insecurity, loneliness, sadness, heartbreak or even the fear of being a failure? You are the only person who knows the feeling you hide inside; therefore you hold the key to change.
Find Your Tribe- Your tribe consists of people you can talk to about anything and everything. It should be filled with people who support you and will never judge you. Find help from others who have been in similar situations. They have walked in your shoes and have felt shame like yours. Seek wisdom from them. Confide in them. Trust them and they will help you.
If all else fails search for financial groups online, contact your college alumni department and ask for referrals or seek professional help from money mentors like the fabulous KATY.
Change your Story- This might be your story right now but it won’t be your story forever. This is an opportunity to create a new story. An opportunity to stop running and start over. An opportunity to take control and start living the life you dream of.
So lay low for a little while and take it easy on yourself. Just remember this didn’t happen overnight and it’s not going to go away overnight. But with some consistent effort, a change in mindset and a supportive team it is possible to change your financial situation. So what do you say, are you ready to make the first step?
Melissa is the CEO of LoveYourLife Community, a shame and worthiness coach for women, writer, blogger and speaker. She has transformed herself from worthless high school drop out to an empowered boss babe with her Master’s from the University of Southern California. Now she uses her story to help other women step up and create the life they were born to live. She has a brand new Master Class called Shamed & Hiding to Loved & Thriving, that will have you stepping up as well.
This section is from a different contributor... remember, you are not alone. Thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of people have been in similar situations before and made their way out. Even if you feel backed into a corner, there are always options. Irs debt relief is a step in the right direction if your tax burden feels too much. You don't need to make any quick judgments, and it is best to consider your next steps. The way forward might not seem immediately apparent, but every step is a step towards the light on the other side.
That isn't to say there won't be challenges, there will, but just like right now, you can take a pause. Consider all your options and navigate a route forward. Don’t forget your new tribe. Your tribe will support you and always advise if you can't think of a way forward. Ask about their past experiences in similar situations. Even if the answer they present isn't an option that suits you perfectly, take time to listen. Their advice may well give you an idea or another avenue for you to research that will get you closer to the life you wanted. Breaking the cycle of financial shaming isn’t easy, but it is possible. Progress, no matter how slow or incremental it may be, is still progress.