Dear Shame, Thanks Anyway and Buh-Bye

SisterAgathaI’m pretty sure her name is Sister Agatha.

Yikes.

How do you know when you are experiencing shame, personally?

Any or all of these things happen for me during a shame attack:

  • My face burns with heat even though the external temp hasn’t changed.
  • The muscles in my face, chest, and stomach get tight and knot up.
  • My breathing gets shallow and only in my throat, almost completely to the point of stopping entirely.
  • My throat gets small and tight and it feels like all the words and tears are jammed down, not to be unearthed.
  • I want to cry but something inside tells me I shouldn’t, and to “not be a baby”.
  • I don’t want to look anyone in the eye. Usually I keep my eyes low to the ground and hang my head.
  • I have a sense that the worst punishment is about to happen any second, and I can’t see where it’s coming from so I’m just bracing against the pending pain.
  • It feels imperative to NOT TELL ANYONE WHAT IS GOING ON.
  • It feels like I have lost something very important and it was my fault, and if I would have acted differently, I wouldn’t be able to lose whatever (or whoever) it is.

Why does this matter for money stuff?

I’ve seen so many people stay silent about their money decisions or fears, until way past the point of financial and/or emotional damage being done. This makes me so sad. So many of us got the screwy message to keep quiet about money. To at least LOOK like we “have enough”, whether we actually feel like we do, or not. I feel very, very angry with what Sister Agatha up there represents. It doesn’t even help, anyway! It’s just mean.

I don’t want people to “man up” when it comes to money.
I don’t want them to “keep a stiff upper lip”.
“Keep calm and carry on” was a nice wartime slogan, but it’s not effective for the personal healing journey.
I have seen no evidence that the “no pain, no gain approach” actually makes any difference when it comes to trying to stumble through the proverbial dark alone.

Unhealed shame makes people make terrible financial decisions. This in no way means they are terrible people, or that they deserve to silently suffer the consequences alone. It means they could use some healing and education to make better decisions in the future. Including the ones needed to clean things up financially and solidify their financial future.

When might this shame-attacking happen with money?

I’ve seen wonderful people suffer with shame around all of the following, plus more:

  • They lost money in the stock market. (I’ve done that, too.)
  • They don’t understand financial terms or concepts that they pretend to know because a voice inside tells them they “should” know it already. (I’ve done that; poser alert! That assumption that everyone else knows it, and I don’t want to be left out.)
  • They’ve made large impetuous purchases to try and alter a feeling or impress someone. Sometimes multiple times. (I’ve done that and still have to talk myself out of it on the regular.)
  • They inherited some money but it slipped away before they knew what happened. (Mine was like a hot potato. I had it allocated to paying down college before I even looked at the balance. Couldn’t handle it just sitting there because it was all gobbledy-gook on the page.)
  • They go into debt to try and please a dating partner or spouse, instead of having the conversation that they are actually living outside of their means and need to make some changes. (Yep. Done it with both money AND time.)

I’m co-creating spaces where people are free to name what they have experienced around money. And, along with that, what they truly desire when it comes to making wise choices. We’re learning and growing together, and peoples’ lives are changing for the best.

A group of aspirants in this territory are gathering starting January 2015.

Together we are healing from the blind pain in which shame binds us.

You are invited to join the group, if you are ready to do this courageous work.

Clean up your financial life, within healthy community.

Together we’ll focus on gratitude, accountability, and full financial integrity.

Don’t wait until you are not afraid to face this stuff. That time probably won’t come.

Register for the 4-month group here: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/shame-off-you-living-in-financial-integrity-tickets-13500029953 

(Sister Agatha will not be there. Whew!)

If you are in the Bay Area…

Next Monday Oct 6th, I’m leading meditation and somatic improv exercises at the ClearHeart Galley in Petaluma. Starts at 900am, goes for an hour-ish. You will not find lovelier folks than the gallery owners John and Leslie. They host this First Monday Meditation event monthly. This time just happens to be focused on money healing. Join us if you can!

Deets yonder: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/first-monday-meditation-money-monday-tickets-8559546835

So, to recap:

  1. Shame sucks.
  2. Healing within community helps.
  3. I like talking about this stuff, and creatively problem-solving with people.
  4. If you want to make some changes in your financial life and get some good support, I’m leading a 4-month online group starting Jan 7, 2015, and ending on tax day!
  5. My phone is 415-425-1615 and email is beth@lovethezeros.com. I love hearing your comments, and appreciate engagement in general.
  6. My website = http://lovethezeros.com