It’s a slow, creeping feeling — one that starts in the back of your mind and slowly moves to the front. It’s not noticeable right away. And usually, by the time we realize what’s actually going on, it has consumed us. It always revolves around money. Especially when we’ve just spent it and we know we shouldn’t have. When we’ve walked out of a clothing store with a bag of items we can’t afford, or when we leave the credit card bill unopened knowing that the amount we owe is just too overwhelming to look at.
These are moments of shame.
The irony is that we have bought these things in hopes that we will feel valuable. However, when we buy things we can’t afford, sooner or later we start to feel guilty, which leads to shame, which leads to lower self-worth.
We are being driven by two forces: Shame and Low Self-Worth. These two forces conspire with each other to keep us trapped in a cycle of mismanaged finances and debt, kept there by the lies they tell us. They are endless, and by the time they’re done with their rant we’re a speck of dust, feeling like nothing but dirt.
It will be impossible to claim our financial freedom if we don’t stop, analyze our actions, recognize the lies, and start believing the truth. Everyone has their own, but here are three common lies that women struggle with, and how best to combat them.
Lie #1: We’re Worth It.
When we’re at the store and we see something that we just need to have, what do we actually hear? I know that for me personally, the lie I hear is, “What’s $10? $20? Is that really going to blow the budget? You deserve something good.” Whatever we hear, we need to be aware. Challenge it. Question it. Let’s actually have the conversation at the shelf. If this isn’t something we’ve actually budgeted for, it will affect our budget.
However, we need to hear that we are worth more than that price tag. In fact, there is no price tag high enough that could define our worth. Yet every time we walk out with an item in our hands that we cannot afford, we have reduced our value to merely the dollars and cents on that price tag. We have told Shame and Low Self-Worth that they were right.
Lie #2: It’s Too Hard.
We’re sitting home and suddenly feeling buyer’s remorse. We suspect that maybe we should return the item – but the lie that suddenly creeps in is, “it would be too hard.” It would take time and energy to return the item; it would be too hard to be vulnerable and give it back. So instead we just agree, and become shackled by this lie that only pushes us further into darkness.
But we need to ask ourselves: what’s harder? An interest rate of 24% on a $100 handbag means that you are paying an extra $24 for that handbag. Every month. It’s a compounding interest rate. So that handbag you already couldn’t afford, just gets more expensive every month.
But if you return it, you could experience a sense of relief, satisfaction and confidence that you have taken your finances back under your control. You just told Shame and Low Self-Worth that they don’t have a place in your pocketbook.
Lie #3: There’s No Way Out.
We’re stuck. The bank account has just reached zero and we’re at day eight. The credit card statement arrives and we just push it aside, stashing it in a place we won’t notice, because we can’t even afford the minimum balance, much less anything more. We’ll never find a way out. This lie holds us in place.
It takes creativity and humility, but it doesn’t mean that we need to believe the lie. There’s always a way out. For example, you could call your credit card company and ask for a lower percentage rate, saving you months of payments. (This is especially possible if you are a valued client with a solid credit history.) You could also manage your debt by making small payments above the minimum balance due. Even an extra $10 or $20 a month can make an impact.
These are just a few possible ways for us to overcome the lies that Shame and Low Self-Worth so frequently tell us.
Let’s move forward in our daily routines holding onto truths about who we are. We are women who are creative, courageous and able to conquer.
The real things haven’t changed. It is still best to be honest and truthful; to make the most of what we have; to be happy with simple pleasures; and have courage when things go wrong. – Laura Ingalls Wilder
Image via Home via Laura