Hello from San Francisco!
There’s so much going on this month that it was difficult to decide on a topic to write about! Considering though that April is Financial Literacy Month, I think it’s really important to shine a light on how our use of money as women directly relates to our sense of self-worth. All too often, we get sucked into using money to compensate for uncomfortable emotions that are, at the core, rooted in how we view ourselves and what we believe about our culture.
An alternate way of gauging perceived self-worth
What I decided I want to talk about this month is this mantra that’s been on repeat in my head all week (which is usually a signal that I should write about it!):
There’s nothing wrong with us.
What do I mean by that? Well, it feels like the last few weeks more than usual, I’ve had conversations with women that are laced with such harsh self-criticism that it literally takes my breath away. Things like “this will be a great ‘before’ picture because I’m so fat right now” or “I can’t go out without makeup – my face is disgusting” or “I’m a disaster with money – I can’t even do one thing right.”
Not only is this a really damaging practice emotionally and spiritually, but it’s also an extremely expensive thing to try to compensate for. If we believe something is inherently wrong with us, it’s a lot easier to talk ourselves into buying something to try to fix it. Trying to acquire material things to address emotional problems will leave you broke and frustrated. If you believe your face is disgusting, you’re more likely to try to “fix” it by buying a new face cream, new makeup, more Botox and fillers, whatever someone tells you will make you less disgusting. I’d like to offer an alternative:
There’s nothing wrong with you. There’s nothing wrong with your face, your body, your intelligence, your spirit.
There’s nothing wrong with any of us.
I don’t mean that to imply that we shouldn’t strive for self-improvement, but self-improvement should be just that: improvement that comes from the self, for the self, by the self. Not a reaction to a magazine ad that made you feel bad about yourself, or a network marketing survey that intentionally phrases questions in a way to make you criticize yourself and WRITE IT DOWN(!!!) on paper (to which I was recently subjected – a topic for another day), or a frenemy at work that throws shade at your outfits.
Making money by exploiting self-worth doubts
Hundreds of billions of dollars are pumped into the weight loss, beauty, fashion and entertainment industries, and sometimes that’s completely fine. It’s fun to enjoy clothes and makeup and to take care of yourself physically. But at the end of the day, I’m more concerned about women’s self-worth and spiritual well-being than I am about whether they like wearing makeup or not. There’s nothing wrong with makeup, and there’s also nothing wrong with your face without makeup.
This month, why don’t we start to pay more attention to the things we say about ourselves, out loud and in our heads. From there, it’ll be easier to notice when we’re spending money in reaction to that sense of inadequacy or shame that our culture perpetuates. Yes, you’ll end up saving money when you don’t buy into a culture designed to make you feel bad about yourself, but more importantly, you’ll develop an inner resilience and sense of unshakeable (or at least less-shakeable) self-worth that carries you through your life with confidence and self-compassion.
I watched a documentary once where someone said “if you had a ‘friend’ who said out loud all the horrible things you said about yourself in your head, you wouldn’t keep them in your life, would you?” and I made a conscious decision to try to notice how I was talking to myself. At first, it was ugly. I said things about myself that I would never say to my friends, my mom, or anyone. I would never talk about anyone else the way I talked about myself – I was so harsh, unfair, and relentlessly unforgiving. And as I started to notice my own self-talk, I started to similarly notice the correlation between thinking I was too fat and going out and getting a new outfit to cover my “gross” body. Or scrolling through endless reviews of skincare products when I told myself my skin looked withered and old and people in magazines have better skin. It didn’t matter that others actually complimented my skin often – I believed it wasn’t good enough…that something was wrong with me and I needed to correct it. Eventually I adopted the approach of talking to myself like I was someone I liked (crazy, right? :)), and as time went on, I naturally phased out societal balms for low self-esteem, without even thinking about it.
This isn’t something that happens overnight, but my goal is that we’d all at least consider the possibility that nothing is wrong with any of us, and make decisions with our words, our actions and our finances that reflect a belief in our own incredible value.
Changing self-talk in record time
One “hack” for starting to talk to yourself differently is to pick someone you like (I picked my mom – hi mom!) and ask yourself if you’d talk to that person the way you just talked to yourself. Would you be so critical and mean? No, you wouldn’t. So if you wouldn’t say it to your mom or your best friend, don’t say it to yourself! And if you do “slip up” say something degrading about yourself, forgive yourself, say something nice about yourself, and try again.
We often spend money buying material things to solve non-material problems, and when we start to shine a light on that, we can start to change our behaviors and ultimately our financial reality.
I’d love to hear from you how this is going when you’ve had a chance to test-drive it. Did you discover anything new about yourself, your beliefs or your inner voice? Let me know!
To your spiritual and financial wealth!
p.s. I’m SO EXCITED to be a part of the Unleash Your Dream Career Summit, hosted by my longtime friend and transformational career coach, Diane McClay. My interview airs on Thursday, April 12th, and we’re talking about everything from mindset to practical money strategies to create space to allow your next step to emerge. You can see it (for free!) along with all of the other interviews (they are awesome – I’m taking notes myself and am so inspired by the speakers!) – all you have to do is register by clicking here.
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