Ever feel like there’s something driving a wedge between you and your ever feeling really comfortable about money?
If so, you are definitely not alone. In fact, it seems that, more than any other feeling people seem to experience with money, is a deep-down feeling of guilt and shame.
Whether we don’t think we make enough, can’t handle our money well, can’t save, aren’t liked by other family members who make less or just wish we didn’t have to deal with money at all; look a little deeper and there it is…shame.
And because shame is just so gosh darn painful, most of us, most of the time, simply put a heavy lid on those feelings and shove the pot to the back of the closet.
But what we resist, persists; and then attracts more like it. And this may be why so many of us don’t ever feel better about our money, despite the years of experience we have with it.
So what do we do then?
Well, first of all, we can take a look at what Shame really is, and it’s real purpose. We think Shame is a feeling. But Shame is really a complicated tangle of many feelings; anger, sadness, fear, disgust even surprise. Detangling and resolving that puzzle takes skills no one ever taught, so we never learned.
“Authentic and appropriate shame will watch over you
and ensure that your behavior is honorable and correct”
But there are resources to help, today. I talk about one of them, Karla McLaren’s book, The Language of Emotions, in my newsletter this week.
There are actually two forms of Shame. One arises in response to our own internal beliefs about what is right and wrong. It’s guidance is to help keep us in integrity and alignment with our true selves. Identifying and heeding the guidance of this Shame can put us back into balance and create new opportunities.
The other Shame doesn’t even belong to us, or the situation. It’s not ours. It’s a leftover from some other person’s belief or judgment. It may even be Shame that belongs to a whole group or region. That Shame needs to be confront, and questioned. This is what it takes to relieve the low level suffering that inhibits our aliveness and enjoyment in our financial lives.
Who doesn’t have a voice in their head telling them the should or shouldn’t have done something with money in a particular situation? Who’s voice is it? This can be called “Applied Shame” and I like to think of it as if it’s the Shame someone, at some time, painted on us and we forgot that it was still sticking. It’s usually louder and stronger than the more subtle (authentic) Shame that serves as a gentle reminder when we do or don’t do something that takes us away from what we know is best for us.
Working with strong or tangled emotions
Think of the times you’ve had to clean out a long-cluttered closet. To restore to order, there’s usually a process that involves taking everything out, sorting through what goes and stays, and deliberately arranging so that the closet is useful again.
Like that closet, when we undertake an emotional clearing, things can get a little messy before then come back to right. Because of this, I highly recommend you get some support. Choose someone who you trust, who will listen, who will hold the vision of your healing and strengthening before you open wide the door and begin the sacred process of clearing through old stories, beliefs and habits that were never yours to begin with.
A baby step
When uncomfortable feelings arise in relationship to money, as soon as you can catch that you are feeling something, ask yourself, is this from me? Or is this in reaction to something someone else gave me or told me? Just this beginning to question what was going on internally without our being aware can begin to drain away some of the tension.
Get support you can trust. If you don’t know where or how, contact me and let’s talk about where in your life you may have support to use.
It’s not just money where we feel these two kinds of Shame. They show up; the authentic Shame that can really help us, and the Applied Shame that others pushed on to us, in health, relationships, work, personal time, parenting, partnering.
The good news is, every time you question an aspect of Applied Shame, it can collapse some of that old stuff in the other areas of your life, leading to more energy and quality experience.
Let me know how I can support you. And look for my live, upcoming webinar on this same topic.