This is a big, heavy topic here guys but one that I think is super necessary to put out there- shame and money.
I lived for years feeling shame regarding my finances. I felt ashamed that I didn’t have “enough,” that I didn’t make “enough,” that my parents didn’t have lots of money, that I had “ too much” student loan debt. Nevermind the fact that I was always able to pay my bills, made savings a priority every single month (however small an amount), and came from a financially humble family, therefore, I had no measurable financial assistance in life.
The reality was that I was living and comparing myself to some idealized version of what my income, bank account, and balance sheet were supposed to look like and punishing myself for it mentally. It wasn’t until a few years ago that I started to question these beliefs. Where did that story come from? Was it actually true that I should have more money? Who decided that I, Anna N’Jie-Konte, should have more money than I actually did right at that moment?
I realized that my shame surrounding money was driving a lot of my behaviors. It meant that I oftentimes saved overly-aggressively and deprived myself of the experiences and things I enjoyed– because how dare I spend money on a drink with my friends when my bank account hadn’t hit 6 figures? It meant that I was judgemental of others for not being hyper-savers and uber-focused on their money. It meant that I fought with my husband over purchases- big and small alike- when I felt ashamed that our bank account balance was not hitting some arbitrary mark.
After a good bit of introspection and coaching, I realized that my money was a reflection of my journey and my priorities just like everything else in my life. I wasn’t helping anyone by shaming myself about how much money I had in investments. In fact, I was harming myself and my family by constantly turning every financial transaction into a judgment of my success or self-worth. I invite you to do the same and remove shame from your finances.
Take some time to examine where you might be feeling shame regarding your finances. Is it because you’re still renting and haven’t purchased a home? Perhaps because you’re still paying off your student loans and most of your friends are debt-free already? Whatever the case may be, it is worth reflecting on where you’re feeling shame and whether that emotion is pushing you to behave in ways that aren’t helpful. If it is helpful, then great. However, if it isn’t I’d like you to reframe the situation and see just what positives have come to you through that experience. Maybe you haven’t purchased a home yet, but this allows you to figure out what neighborhoods you like?
Do you feel shame regarding money? Have you ever questioned exactly why you felt ashamed, and whether those emotions were truly serving you?
If you’d like to learn more about shame, money and overcoming the “scarcity” mindset, please check out some of these resources. I promise you won’t regret it!
“Money Beliefs” Episode of the Life Coach School podcast
“Money Problems” Episode of the Life School podcast