Photo Credit: Sorin Sîrbu,

Woohoo . . . Yay. . . Guilt & Shame and Your Money: Part One

(Next week: Part Two: The Shame of Money. Breaking it down takes two.)

This week I had several sessions with clients and conversations with other women about guilt, shame, and money.

First, we need to discern between the two. They’re very different and people tend to group them together. But it’s essential, especially in the money area of life, to know the difference so that you can uncover the solution . . .

Guilt’s about the behavior. “I did something ‘bad,’ or anticipate doing something ‘bad.’” Shame is, “I’m wrong.” Shame is at the core of your identity. Shame is who you are, vs. guilt is what you did.  Know the difference to uncover the solution.

Guilt & Money: Let’s Dive In . . .

Guilt’s pervasive. It carries a lot of weight. Unexamined guilt will run the show on how you react to decisions involving money.

Women carry more guilt because of our giving, nurturing nature. “Did I do enough? Did I give enough? Did I listen enough? Do I make enough? Is my work enough? Am I enough?”

We’re hardwired for connection and being liked, so if we think someone won’t approve of what we do, say, or give, it sends a guilt signal back to our psyche that we’re doing something bad; that or we may disappoint others if we don’t agree with them, which can lead down the slippery slope that we’re a failure.

Is this something you experience? If so, you’re not alone. Guilt’s common in life and even more so when it comes to money and decisions about finances.

Let me let you in on a little secret . . . Feeling guilty really is selfish. You’re concerned only with your ego’s agenda and your guilt does nothing for anyone. So it’s worth taking a look at.

Guilt Fix #1: Communication.

If you feel guilty that choosing to do something and acting from your heart and truest self is going to make someone else feel bad or be disappointed, you are A) acting out of fear and not a loving mindset and B) not actually giving that other person a chance to say what they really feel. Feeling guilty is all you. So, next time, take the chance to talk it out with the person to get more information before jumping to conclusions.

Guilt Fix #2: Release Judgment of Yourself.

You’re perfectly imperfect exactly the way you are. The good, the bad, and the ugly–you’re made up of it all! So give yourself a break. If you experienced guilt from spending too much money at one time or another, acknowledge what happened and use guilt as a powerful motivator. Bringing light to a part of us can lead to powerful changes to do what’s right with our money.

Guilt Fix #3: Making Money Is Spiritual.

Feeling guilty IS NOT spiritual. You feel guilty that you’re making money, choosing to make money, or wanting more money doesn’t mean someone else goes without. When you get a raise, it doesn’t mean someone else in your company gets a pay cut. When your needs are met, you, in turn, can provide to others.

Guilt Fix #4: Honor the Opportunity.

You’re making money, you’re giving value, you have something to contribute. Others in this world may not have that opportunity; some do and choose–whether unconsciously or consciously–to not take advantage of the opportunities that are presented to them.

Guilt Fix #5: Define Success on Your Terms and Live From Your Values.

Grab a sheet of paper and a pen and write down what success means for you and what are your top five most important principles you live by. (Well get to it, don’t just think about it! Get it down on that piece of paper.)

Lastly, When You Shouldn’t Feel Guilty About Spending Money:

When it was in the spending plan.

When you saved up for it.

When you share your wealth.

When you honestly need it. (Keyword here if you didn’t catch the boldness of it, HONESTLY. Get out of autopilot and check in with yourself.)

Shoot me a note to tell me what you got out of this. Does it resonate with you? I really do love hearing from you. You can reach me at [email protected]

Until next time, much abundance in all its forms.

Photo Credit: Sorin Sîrbu,