Guilt is the emotion that pops up in my workshops first and foremost. Guilt has no real function but to inflict pain on the person who feels it. In short, Guilt about past money mistakes causes folks the most distress. Over the years I have noticed a pattern with participants as they first walk into a financial seminar. They usually enter very quietly with their shoulders slumped, looking like they’ve just been beaten with a mental baseball bat. The expressions on many of their faces seem to be saying:
“Let’s get this over with. I know I’m an idiot for being in this financial mess, and I need to be punished for not knowing how to handle money.”
“How did I ever get this deep into debt? I’m such a loser, I don’t deserve wealth or happiness.”
“This wacko lady can’t help me. It’s probably just another scam I’ve been suckered into. She’s probably going to tell me there is no hope for someone stuck where I am.”
“I should have never listened to my spouse and come here. There is absolutely no way anyone can help me get out of this hole.”
As I watch person after person walk into the room, it is amazing how much Guilt they bring with them. It is like they have a 50-pound sack of flour on their back and they don’t see how anyone can help relieve them of their burden.
Not only that, but some of them have become so used to the burden that they have actually forgotten that they neither want nor deserve it; letting go of the Guilt is threatening, because it represents a change in the normal emotional outlook, and many people think that change is painful!
Is that how you are feeling right now about your own financial situation? If so, then let’s work on getting you to stand up straight and drop that unhelpful bag of Guilt.
The first question I have to ask you is, “Are you willing to put the bag down?” Most are not, even after you become aware of the burden and learn to recognize what it represents. Why? Because you may think you deserve this guilt. We need to convince your mind that you really are worth forgiving. Yes, you are. No matter what choices you’ve made. No matter how much debt you owe. No matter how desperate you were to run from emotional anguish by buying unneeded stuff.
You are a person who is worth saving. You are worth forgiving.
The challenging part is getting your stubborn mind and your long-standing habit of self-castigation to agree with what your heart already knows. You are a person that is worth forgiving. Money mistakes, no matter how major, are minor in the great scheme of things.