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Financial Shame: Let's Talk About It

When we think of relationships, we often forget about the one that can deeply affect the other important relationships in our lives: our relationship with money. It's complicated and often a mixed source of happiness, pleasure, anxiety, stress and freedom. You feel empowered when you're in a good financial situation and when things are less than ideal, you may feel like the world is crumbling before your eyes.

There are many reasons why our financial situations may be less than ideal, yet we all face the risk of falling in a downward spiral of shame and self-doubt. Money Coach Tammy Lally explains in her Tedx Talk, "Sometimes, our self-destruction and self-defeating financial behaviors are not driven by our rational, logical minds. They are a product of our subconscious belief systems, rooted in our childhoods and so deeply ingrained in us. They shape the way we deal with money our entire adult lives.”

Shame can have a paralyzing affect on our mental states and our daily lives. It can affect our self-esteem and impede our willingness to ask for help. Girl Boss, shares key realizations that can help you overcome the embarrassment, guilt or shame preventing you from taking action to improve your finances. 

1. Understand money is subjective: People react to numbers differently. $100,000 does not carry the same weight for every individual. Once you realize that numbers aren't inherently good or bad, it strips them of their power and lets you focus on the issue at hand.

2. Find out the root cause of your spending: Figure out the emotional attachments to your spending first, and then formulate your plan of action next. When you take an introspective look, spending and numbers are more easily within your control. 

3. Find people with whom you can honestly speak about your financial situation: Whether, it's an online forum or close friends, find people with whom you can discuss this seemingly terrifying topic. Once you let go of this fear, you'll be surprised how many bits of wisdom you can collect from them. 

4. Know when to ask for professional help: Fiduciary financial advisors have taken an oath to act in your best interest. If you're dealing with thousands of dollars, a professional CFP may be the wisest person to consult. 

5. Create your own money mantra: Rather than repeating self-deprecating phrases, write yourself a new story or tell yourself that your situation is not permanent. Positive affirmations go a long way and can reverse your psyche and help you get on the right path.

6. Reframe the 'crisis' as an opportunity: The past is the past and something you can't change. However, if you think of your situation as a learning opportunity and a chance to change your future, you can more easily start making progress one step at a time. Be kind yet firm to yourself in the process.