A Note from Karen: The following article continues our mini-series on how to take the first steps in healing your relationship with money. If you’re already well on your way to financial recovery, you may want to forward this email to someone you know who is struggling with money issues. My intention is to send you information that is immediately useful to you, so please let me know if there is a certain topic, challenge, or issue that you’d like to read about.
Money & Financial Recovery: Walk With Compassion on the Road to Financial Recovery
There is an expression that states: “You’re only as sick as your secrets.” And people who are in financial crisis — no matter how they got there — tend to keep a lot of secrets. They feel so much self-judgment, shame and embarrassment about having chronic money problems that stay isolated and avoid reaching out to get the help they so desperately need.
I mention this because last week I invited you to take an honest look at what’s not working in your relationship with money. You had to shine a light on what’s true for you and face those issues, symptoms and feelings you might prefer to ignore… or even deny. Believe me, I know how difficult this can be. It takes guts to admit to what’s not working and risk feeling the heaviness of your own self-judgment, discouragement and shame.
This is why, as we move forward and take the next steps in healing your relationship with money, I implore you to do so with compassion, without any judgment or blame. Even if your financial life is a mess, even if you’ve blown it a dozen times or more, you won’t improve things by flogging yourself with shame and criticism. To heal, to recover, you must be kind to yourself.
As Maya Angelou said, “You did then what you knew how to do and when you knew better you did better.” With that in mind, let’s dive into the second step of assessing where you are now and where you want to go.
Define What You’d Like to Accomplish
Now that know how your current financial situation is affecting your life, what do you want for yourself in the future? Imagine you’ve already applied the principles of Financial Recovery to your relationship with money and you’re finally experiencing the financial reality you truly want. What does that look like? How will you know that you’ve achieved your own definition of success?
In your money journal, write this: “I will know I’ve succeeded in my Financial Recovery when…” and then list those experiences, practices, and accomplishments that tell you you’ve been successful and have, in fact, transformed your relationship with money.
- How will you behave around money?
- What will be the measurable differences in your life?
- How will you feel about your relationship with money?
- How will you spend your time?
This list is completely personal, reflecting your own needs and desires for how you want to live. When I ask clients to do this, some people start by listing “things” they want — a new car, a house, or some other purchase. But with a little prodding, nearly everyone starts to say things like, “I’ll be able to manage my bills,” or “I’ll no longer have debt,” or “I won’t be worried about money all the time.”
Do you crave something simple, like getting a good night’s sleep without worrying about money? Do you long to live without the heartache of fighting with your family about money? Perhaps you want to feel safe and secure, or get out of debt, or finally have savings. Or be a role model for your kids so that they don’t struggle with money in the future.
Imagine how a healthier relationship with money might allow you to live or work wherever you choose. Or travel. Or start a business. Or contribute to a cause that has meaning for you.
No dream is too big. No detail is too small. Keep this journal entry handy so you can refer to it later. You’ll use it along the way to remind yourself of your goals and to recognize your progress.
Next week, we’ll talk about how to become conscious of and connected to your money. But until then, if you want more information on how to transform your relationship with money, you can read my new book, Financial Recovery: Developing a Healthy Relationship With Money [see sidebar for link].