It is completely normal to be afraid to see what’s in a box when you’re pretty sure it’s going to be a big, scary mess. 

Behind these fears is a belief that it will be so bad that it isn’t fixable. 

Or, that fixing it is going to be a long, arduous process that we won’t even begin to know how to accomplish. 

We may even hold beliefs that we do not deserve financial wellness and that financial stress and discomfort is, actually, our comfort zone. 

Finally, so many of us have been raised with all sorts of shame around money, that we are afraid we will feel worthless if we truly look at our finances.

Yet, we can’t fix what we can’t see.

Taking stock of our entire financial picture is the first, very critical step toward financial wellness. 

Instead of shame, consider that you are courageous for taking this step. You are loving yourself by taking this step. You are empowering yourself by taking this step.

Here are some steps to tackling taking the hard look a the truth of your financial situation: 
  1. Take the time to acknowledge to your fear and decide to treat yourself with compassion. This may mean working through some strategies you’ve had where you beat yourself up to try to make yourself change. This is shame-based, and it doesn’t work. Being kind and gentle creates a safe place where it can be more ok to look at the truth.
  2. Get support for this task from someone who sees you compassionately and will not shame you no matter what decisions you’ve made. This may be a friend, family member, or financial coach. Just make sure they understand the importance of compassion and encouragement over shame.
  3. Depending on your emotional needs, you may take the “rip the band-aid off” route, or a one-step-at-a-time route. This looks like diving in and getting it all done in a day or weekend. Or, making a list of tasks and only focusing on the one task in front of you, one day or one week at a time. It’s important to do what will be tolerable to you and not shut you down with overwhelm.
  4. Join a challenge or community of people who are doing the same thing. Reducing shame, increasing kind accountability, and seeing others succeed will help you make a plan and see it through.
  5. Be flexible. When we set up rigid goals and they don’t happen because life does, we are at risk for giving up and deciding we’ve fail. What we really need is a mindset and strategy that says, “of course I’m going to have good days and bad days, I’m human, and because of this, I just get back at it after getting off-track.” 

Removing the shame-factor around money by acknowledging that we’ve made decisions that may not have been in our best financial interest because, at the time, we held some other value, such as wanting to care for or please others, reward ourselves, or life happened and we felt we had no choice. 

When we truly look honestly at our financial lives, we see that they are quite complex, indeed, and that we can see ourselves and our decisions with kindness and compassion as we prepare to make change.

Financial Wellness Tip: 

Remember, whatever you do, time will continue to pass. Six months from now, we can have had six more months of not-knowing, or six months of planned action in the direction of our Financial Wellness!