How to let go of money guilt...
Raise your hand if you have any financial guilt or regrets.
My guess is that one of your hands popped right up into the air!
How do I know?
Because I've yet to meet anyone who doesn't feel at least a small pang of regret about something in their financial past.
And it can feel really heavy.
And here's the thing: even if you don't think about it consciously, guilt runs in the background like a phone app that drains your battery in the background.
Because it's happening behind the scenes, you probably won't know why you don't have enough energy to pursue new ways of bringing in more money, or why you can't seem to get ahead.
Then you're way more likely to give up on your financial goals and think you suck at money.
Which just isn't true!
On the other hand, recognizing and letting go of any money guilt you may have will be a huge regenerative boost!
Not only will it lower your stress, it will give you more oomph to pursue your financial goals.
Plus, you'll feel more creative and resourceful, which means you're more likely to think of new ways to attract more money to you.
So, since chances are if you're reading this and you're over the age of, oh I don't know, 5...that you have something you feel guilty about or regret when it comes to your finances.
Then the next natural question is how do you let go it go?
To answer that question, let's start with an analogy.
Imagine if you were never taught how to drive a car.
Now imagine someone just handed you the keys and told you to take it out on the road and start driving. (and btw, this was not optional. As an adult you must drive and you cannot avoid it).
Now granted, you had probably ridden in cars before, mostly with your parents, so you picked up some things about the rules of the road.
But actually getting behind the wheel yourself would be a big step. How do you turn it on, how to you brake, how do you merge onto a highway? (!!)
Now imagine that while you're driving you see a billboard every mile advertising something enticing that is trying to entice you and get your attention.
Sounds pretty challenging, right?
You'd probably make some mistakes while driving, right?
Well, that's pretty much how we do money.
Most of us weren't taught about money growing up, but expect ourselves to know how to manage money without practicing or making mistakes.*
But mistakes are how we learn.
The first step to letting go of money guilt is to cut yourself some slack for making honest money mistakes.
Of course we're all adults here and this isn't an excuse to deliberately mismanage or do stupid things with your money. But do ease up on yourself for making honest money mistakes.
Next, Find the Pearl in the Oyster
An oyster makes a pearl when something like sand or grit gets into its shell. Because this is an irritant and potentially harmful, the oyster builds a up a shell or barrier around the grit and it turns into something beautiful and luminous.
Think of the sand as the thing you feel guilty about.
Then ask yourself: "What is the pearl that came from this experience?"
In other words, what is the lesson or gift you got from the experience?
Did you discover something you don't want to do again?
Are you less likely to be taken advantage of?
Did you learned to trust your gut?
Embrace the lesson or gift each experience gave you, thank the experience, then let go of the guilt while keeping the gift. .
(If you are familiar with Marie Kondo or the KonMari method this may sound familiar.
This is similar to thanking a piece of clothing you own before sending it off to Goodwill).
Admittedly, if an experience is especially painful and/or recent it can be difficult to find the gift or lesson in it. It may take some time. In that case, be kind to yourself as you work through it.
In time as you're ready you can choose to go back and find the gifts in the experience.
With hind sight, sometimes our greatest challenges become our greatest gifts.
Money guilt and regret are something we all experience.
The important thing is to look for the lesson or gift in the experience and move forward wiser than before.
Happy pearl diving,
*Of course sometimes financial pain doesn't come from something we do, but something that happened to us.
That can feel especially painful because we feel like we have no power or control of the situation. Be patient with yourself as you recover from the experience. You'll likely have a range of uncomfortable emotions. Empower yourself as you recover by finding healthy outlets like talking with a trusted friend or family member, journaling or writing, exercising, or seeking help from a trained professional who can help you get through it.
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