Click, a video from the Dave Ramsey show popped up on my YouTube recommendations, My family is shaming me for not giving them money. Okkuurrrr.

Dave Ramsey is a controversial financial advisor that believes in living debt-free, period.

He helps people reach financial freedom through 7 baby steps.

This caller had reached baby step 2- she and her husband were finally debt-free. They had initially told their family about their financial freedom journey but now that they were debt-free her family was shaming her for not giving them money.

The agony in her voice was heart-wrenching.

The situation left her in a sense of perpetual turmoil.She sobbed, “I feel bad because, you know, they’re my parents. I don’t want to let them down”.

How many of us can relate to this? No matter how old we are there’s something in us that never wants to let our parents down.

There’s a desire to please them with your identity, relationships, career, and other aspects of your life. This can even extend to an overwhelming desire to please other people.

Dave told her straight up.

No, you don’t need to give them money. That’s adult child abuse.

She paused, then started bawling, accepting the validation.

I know, adult child abuse seems a bit of an extreme word to some of us, but it’s a form of financial abuse and manipulation.

He advised that as we become financially secure we can gift, never lend money to family. If we get any money returned it’s a bonus. His reasoning? They are capable adults.

We’re not talking about a family member who is mentally ill, or physically unable. We’re talking about healthy adults.

Your family shaming you for not giving them money is wrong.

What exactly is shame?

Brene Browne, a shame, vulnerability, and empathy researcher defines shame as the intensely painful emotion or experience of believing that we’re flawed and therefore unworthy of love and belonging – something we’ve experienced, done, or failed to do makes us unworthy of connection.

Other definitions go further to say that shame is self-hate, feeling distressed for doing something wrong.

Why shame is unproductive.

She says that shame isn’t helpful or productive. It doesn’t advance your cause.

Our fear of being disconnected or undervalued by people can lead to destructive behaviours.

Shame holds you back because it creates self-sabotaging behaviour- actions and thoughts that hold you back from doing the things you want to do. Behaviours like giving away money that you don’t have when your goal is financial freedom.

When you continually give your family money ahead of yourself you’ll never end your family cycle of poverty. You’ll never reach a state of abundance to create a new legacy.

This a reason to reject feelings of shame and keep firm on your boundaries.

Yes, you’re going to feel uncomfortable emotions. That’s normal. More importantly what’s your goal?

Your goal is financial freedom.

Your goal is to be in a position where you’re able to give without feeling financially strained. Your goal is abundance. Your goal is gratitude by giving back.

You have to help yourself out of poverty first. You have to be your own backup plan. Otherwise, who’s going to do it?

If I have $100, am I still broke?

If you have debt you’re broke.

If you don’t have at least 6 months of living expenses saved up, you’re broke.

If you don’t have a retirement or health plan, you’re broke.

You want to help so badly, but helping yourself is the first step.

Navigate shame by dragging it kicking and screaming from under the rug.

1. Shining a light on shame.

Dr. Brown comments, “the less we talk about shame, the more power it has over our lives.” She goes on to say that we need to raise enough awareness about shame, to call it out for what it is, to put a voice to it. Only then, can we cut it down.

The key to sharing your shame is doing it with a person who can hold empathy for you and your circumstances. People’s empathy keeps shame in perspective and helps find practical solutions to minimize it.

Minimizing feelings about shame by exposing it will keep you on track with your financial goals.

2. Separate what you do from who you are.

When asked, who are you? We often babble off our accolades. Our job, where we live, and what we represent. We base our self worth on these achievements and what people think of them.

What happens when we lose these accomplishments or when people just don’t like us?

Our self-esteem plummets.

The best thing you can do is cultivate compassion for yourself. You have to be your own cheerleader. Marisa Peer, world-renown speaker, and Transformational Therapy trainers says,

the most effective ways to boost self-esteem is to praise yourself.”

Building your self-esteem is another way to reduce feelings of shame and focus on your financial goals.

3. Decode what you’re feeling.

People shame because they were taught to. They never questioned the logic in it.

However, there are other, less destructive emotions that are similar to shame.

Guilt is more logical than shame.

Shame paralyzes and focuses on itself. In shame we feel that we deserve to be yelled at, criticized, and all the other bad things that result from our action.

Guilt is recognizing that our actions have harmed someone else.

Guilt is constructive and focuses on behaviour.

It’s important to differentiate what you’re feeling because shame has no use in making you a better person or helping you achieve your goals. It’s self-deprecating.

It attacks your self-esteem and eats away at your self-worth. Guilt can be used to create new behaviours if you’ve knowingly done something wrong.

Refusing to give a capable family member money when you’re broke is not wrong.

Staying focused on your financial goal and calling shame out is the best way to help your family.

Take away

The best way to help your family is to shed a light on shame and stay on track with your financial goals, despite how they might feel.

  • It’s okay to help family members who are incapable of helping themselves like if they’re physically or mentally ill. If they are otherwise capable it’s not your responsibility. They must take responsibility for their life, you must take responsibility for yours.
  • You can end the shame by,
  • Recognizing that’s it’s an emotion. You ultimately choose whether or not to internalize it.
  • Exposing it for what it is. Saying, “this is an attempt to shame me and I’m not having it.”
  • Separating who you are from the shame you feel by being your biggest cheerleader and saying things like, “silly me,” when you’ve made a mistake instead of beating yourself up about it.
  • Differentiating between shame and guilt. Shame is an attack on your esteem-not useful. It says you believe that you can never change or get better. Guilt acknowledges that you have done an action that is wrong therefore you can learn from it and improve.
  • Reject shame and keep on working on your financial goals.

Arlene

Originally published on Swaay media

Ask yourself whose hero are you trying to be? And why? You may find that the life you’re living isn’t even yours.
Photo by Joshua Abner on Pexels.com

You’re struggling with not feeling good enough. Someone told you through their words, actions, or lack thereof that you weren’t enough for them just the way you are, without doing or being anything else- and you believed it.

Feelings of inadequacy are fueled by shame. Shame is uncomfortable. It’s a self-conscious emotion that comes from looking at yourself poorly. It makes you feel anxious, exposed, deceived, and powerless.

Unaddressed feelings of inadequacy create people-pleasing behaviour. This comes at the cost of destroying your core being, who you really are, not the person hidden behind your spouse, gender, or religion.

You were not meant to be invisible. You were meant to enjoy life, add value to it by being yourself, and express your unique personality, talents, and skills.

Women are multidimensional, we are not easily compartmentalized as the world would like to have us seem. We are vines shaped every day by our experiences. We twist, turn, adapt, grow, and continually bloom through different seasons of life. The song lyrics that come to mind when I think of this is Alanis Morissette’s, “ I’m a bitch, I’m a mother, I’m a child, I’m a lover, I’m a sinner, I’m a saint, I do not feel ashamed.”

Shame is a thief that robs you of power. To disarm shame you have to get to its root, which is almost always the thought of, I’m not good enough.

You must have a defiant spirit that is able to take an ego bruise, yet be your unwavering motivator.

It’s that kick, scream, claw blood, and skin, until you break nails, type of determination.

There are two key concepts in taking your power back when you feel like you’re not good enough.

1. Reject the cycle of shame, and feelings of low self-worth by relentlessly choosing yourself.

Reduce people-pleasing.

Make small choices about what you want to do. Take time, scan your body to figure out what feels right, safe, and authentic. At first, it will go against every fiber of your being. It may bring up feelings of guilt, pain, and loneliness. People in your life might get upset but stick to it.

Exercise the discomfort of repeatedly choosing yourself, knowing you will get through. Choosing yourself is not going to tip you over into some self-absorbed world of no return where you don’t care about other people. Caring is too ingrained in your psyche for that.

Continue to people-please and see how you feel. Hey, why not? Take note of the pain, self-loathing, and resentment you feel afterward. I would convince myself to do just one more favour for someone, even when I was tired or just didn’t feel like it. To be fair, I felt that they were for completely valid reasons- it was for my friends, it was for church, it was for someone uber nice, it was for someone who had nobody else, it was for someone who was sick, and the list goes on.

If continually extending yourself to other people turns you into a bitter, unrecognizable person then you’re living in inauthenticity.

A wise quote says that God loves a cheerful giver, being a cheerful giver comes from being happy with yourself and your life.

2. Stop the spread of shame by having grace, empathy, and self-compassion. You must choose to believe more of the good stories about yourself over the negative ones.

I don’t know about you but when I mess up, my default is to beat myself up. I say you should have known better, how could you let this happen? and the negative self-talk continues. I wouldn’t say these things to my friends, so why do I say it to myself?

It’s hard to have self-compassion when you’re a perfectionist, when you see mistakes as a weakness or when you hold yourself to a high bar.

Ask yourself whose hero are you trying to be? And why? Most of the time the things we’re doing, the life we’re living have nothing to do with us.

No wonder you’re hard on yourself and unhappy. This isn’t even your life.

Cultivate self-compassion by having grace, by saying more kind words about yourself. Below are some of my favourites, when I’m present enough to remember (eek face), if not you can always remind yourself after the moment.

I’m still learning

I’m in recovery.

This is something I still need to work on, good to know.

This is still a trigger for me so I need extra support.

When thinking you’ve done something “stupid” you don’t even want to hear about compassion. It’s challenging to talk yourself out of negativity, but no one else can do it for you. Each new experience helps you learn triggers and is a reminder that healing work is continual.

We can summarize grace by a quote from Brené Brown, a researcher in shame, vulnerability, courage, and empathy, that says,

Grace means that all of your mistakes now serve a purpose instead of serving shame.

Takeaway

We struggle with never feeling good enough when people tell us through their words, actions, or lack thereof that we aren’t enough for them- just the way we are.

These feelings of inadequacy are rooted in shame. If we don’t reject shame it will destroy our core being, robbing the world of our talents, values, and unique personality.

We can take our power back by rejecting shame through…

-relentlessly choosing ourselves,

-having grace, empathy, and self-compassion by believing more of the good stories about ourselves. We also do this through the words we tell ourselves like, I’m still learning.

Lastly, I want us to remember that shame is all around us, it can be overwhelming, daunting, and discouraging, but the most powerful thing we can do is to decide, decide that we are moving forward no matter how slow or how long we take, continue to reject shame.

Originally published on Medium

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