Breaking Free from Shame
In the last 24 hours, I’ve seen and heard this word more times than I have in years.
- I heard it during a meeting I was attending.
- I heard it during a conversation.
- I read it in a post from someone feeling it.
Shame propels low self-esteem.
Shame is one of the tactics our ‘negativity committee’ in our minds likes to use.
It’s that small voice that tells us we are not
- Wealthy enough
- Smart enough
- Pretty enough
- Thin enough
OR, simply that we are
Have you ever had that phrase go through your own mind?
Shame keeps our self-esteem low, and stops us from wanting to be more and do more.
Why is it highlighted at the moment?
I’ve found two main reasons:
- The cost of living is rising and so many of us are struggling to make ends meet.
- It’s put into our heads by others.
Let’s take a closer look at these two areas, and what you can do to help shift you from feeling shame around them.
This is often looked at as being related to your choices.
Overspending or failure to put enough into savings.
When something like raising interest rates hit over and over and over again, whilst this isn’t your fault, it can lead to shame about not being prepared for it, and/or not knowing what to even do about your current situation.
It's important to recognise that money shame is normal - but it doesn't have to be permanent.
There are some simple steps you can take to help overcome your money shame and start re-building healthy financial habits:
• Acknowledge your feelings: The first step to overcoming money shame is recognising it and acknowledging the emotions behind it. This will help you understand why you feel certain ways about your finances and give you insight into how these feelings are impacting your behavior around money.
• Educate yourself: Taking the time to learn more about personal finance can help alleviate some of the anxiety around managing your money. Start by reading books on topics related to personal finance - my favourite that was a game changer for my family - The Barefoot Investor!
• Set realistic goals: Setting realistic goals for yourself will help keep you motivated as well as provide direction when it comes time to make decisions about spending and saving. Aim for achievable milestones so that you don't get discouraged along the way if things don't go exactly as planned!
SHAME FROM OTHERS
Other people can put the feeling of shame into our minds.
According to Thomas Schiff, Professor of Sociology, shame is “linked closely with self-worth. For example, if someone uses the three little words ‘shame on you’, even jokingly, it can cause a severe amount of damage to a person’s self-esteem.”
When someone says “shame on you” to another person, they are essentially telling them to feel embarrassed or ashamed of their actions. Unfortunately, this dynamic persists today in many different ways; when someone says “shame on you” to another person (especially a woman), they can essentially be attempting to exert their power over them by making them feel small and insignificant.
It falls into the same categories as:
“Why can’t you be more like”
Ultimately shame goes to the very core of someone.
- It can make us feel like there is something wrong with us.
- It gives us the sense that we do not measure up to others.
- It lowers our frequency.
In his book Power vs Force, David R. Hawkins says that there’s a hierarchy of levels of human consciousness, and shame is the lowest level of consciousness that vibrates through your chakras.
A person can’t grow while they are in a space of shame, just like you can’t shame others to make them change behaviours. We should instead focus on lifting each other up and supporting one another through difficult times.
Side note: Do a little research on the phrase 'shame on you' and you’ll see that historically it was believed that the phrase was actually used as a curse in some situations!
If you are feeling money shame, or shame has been 'gifted' to you from another persons words, what can you do?
1. Acknowledge your feelings. Talk to someone you trust. Learn more about the 'shame cycle' and how it has impacted lives. Seek out others who have gone through tough times and learn from their growth stories.
2. Talk to yourself as if you were talking to a friend helping them through these feelings. What would you say to them? How would you help them work through these feelings? Practice self-compassion. Be kind to yourself and remind yourself that this too shall pass.
3. Ground yourself. (My favourite ways are bare feet on green grass, hugging a tree, or using Young Living’s Grounding Essential Oil)
4. Get Support by talking to someone you trust and/or a professional.
5. Do something kind for yourself.
You are strong. You are brave. You are fabulous.