Welcome to Week 3 of Overcoming Financial Stress.
This week is all about self-love, self-appreciation, self-compassion, and self-worth.
No matter who we are and no matter what our upbringing was, somewhere along the line, we started to believe that we weren’t as special as we thought we were when we were three years old and demanding that everybody watch us go down a slide, do a pirouette and generally get excited about everything we did.
Somewhere along the line we were probably told to stop showing off or to stop talking and sometimes we were made to feel bad or embarrassed about who we were in our core.
This week, we’re going to start to undo all of that programming so we can accept ourselves for all that we are and show up as we were put on this earth to do so.
There’s a common phrase that goes around that states: Your Net Worth is Equivalent to Your Self-Worth, and although I believe this to be true, (I’ll go into this in week 6) it’s important to understand that if your Net Worth isn’t where you want it to be, it doesn’t mean that you are not worthy of the amount you want – it just means that somewhere deep inside, in realms you’re more than likely unaware of, you don’t truly know in your heart and feel in your core the worthiness that you were born with.
We are all born with innate worthiness to live with incredible abundance and that abundance, in all its forms, is trying to get to us. The only reason that it doesn’t is because we subconsciously put up barriers that prevent it from doing so.
When we were a baby, we expected to be fed, we expected to be loved and we expected to have all of our needs met, and we didn’t stop demanding that we receive those things until we got them. We knew that we were totally deserving of everything we wanted and needed and we didn’t care who we upset or offended to get what we knew was ours.
Obviously, we grow up and we learn that crying and throwing tantrums isn’t how we behave in society, but we also knew that as a very young child, we were not in a position to fend for ourselves so we learned other strategies to get what we want and need.
Maybe you discovered that if you did certain tasks for certain people, they would give you more love or attention, so in your brain, you programmed the belief that you only get the things you want when you please other people.
Or maybe when you were young you noticed that when you were ill or feeling unwell, you got more attention than your siblings so the subconscious belief that “being weak or playing the role of the victim, means that people will look after you better” was created.
Or maybe you found that you received a lot more love and attention when you won the race or aced the test so the belief that unless you were constantly achieving you didn’t deserve the love you wanted.
What all of these examples led to is you putting your feelings of worth in the hands of another person.
“If I do this, then they will love me.”
If we do this, we’re constantly trying to project an image of ourselves based on what we think others want. But, as we discussed last week, since we really don’t know what anybody else wants or thinks, what we’re doing is creating a story about what we think they want and then trying to project that image so they give us the external validation to be able to feel good about ourselves.
The problem is that if you base your self-worth or self-concept on what other people think of you, you will always be vulnerable to them. If the other people, whose opinions of you, you’re basing your worth and value on, are having a bad day and react harshly to you, instead of seeing them as just having a bad day, you will internalize their mood and wonder what you did wrong.
Often, unless people are continually validating and praising our work or our place in the world, we feel insecure about whether we’ve done a good enough job or are behaving in the correct way to keep everybody happy and therefore pleased with us. And this leads to high stress levels and a loss of our own identity.
When you place your self-worth on the opinions of others, your self-image has no solid foundation.
So, it’s up to you to decide how you want to be perceived in the world and create that image of you internally, so you can project it externally, regardless of how other people receive it.
You know from the work you did in the pre-work section how you would like each of the 6 areas of your life to look and feel like, so use that a guide. Create the person you feel inside and step into their shoes.
As you go through the rest of this week’s sections you’ll identify the amazing things about yourself. If anybody says or does anything that goes against this new and solid self-image that you’ve created, are you prepared to accept their view or are you able to discard it?
After all, if somebody walked up to you and told you that your skin had turned blue when you could clearly see that it hadn’t, how would you react to them? Would you accept that your skin was indeed blue, or would you think, “That’s interesting. I wonder what’s going on with them that they should think that of me?”
In your journal write out the version of you that you would like to be and the beliefs about yourself that you would like to hold. Then, write out the opinions about yourself that you hear from other people and decide whether or not you’re going to accept those beliefs as your own.
One of the things that keep us feeling anxious and stuck around our financial situation is that we attach our self-worth and identity with the amount of money we have and the things that we possess. We’re brought up to believe that to be successful we have to have the car, the house, etc and without those things, we couldn’t exist as the people we are.
Today I would like you to imagine what your life would be like if you suddenly lost it all.
Would you stop being you, if you no longer had your wealth or possessions?
In 1994, when I was 24, everything I owned got stolen and I literally found myself in a position where all I had were the clothes I was standing up in and a suitcase of “odds and ends” that were packed once everything of importance had already been packed up. We were moving house, from one flat to another but the landlord of the flat we were leaving returned our deposit too late to be able to move into the new place. We had everything packed into our rented car and stayed overnight with a friend.
In the morning I came down to find that the car had been broken into and everything, except that suitcase that was in the boot, had been stolen. This was the days before Facebook, or iPhones so not only did I lose possessions, I also lost the contact details of all the people I had met whilst traveling around the world as a croupier.
My life blew up. I had nothing from my past (my Mother had moved several times and had discarded everything from my childhood). I can tell you that it was incredibly difficult, but losing everything I owned didn’t end my human experience. I’m still here to tell you my tale.
If you study some of the wealthiest people in the world, you will find that an awful lot of them have experienced bankruptcy before bouncing back higher than they could ever have imagined. From Stan Lee to Walt Disney to Henry Ford to George Foreman, all of these people lost everything they owned before becoming the multi-millionaires they went on to be.
So if your world blew up in the way that mine or theirs did, what would you have left?
That’s a rhetorical question, here’s the answer: You would still have YOU and all of the qualities that make you a valuable asset in the world. It is this that you should base your self-worth on because you are incredible. Focus on what you have within. Appreciate what you have externally, but know that without those external things, you are still an amazing human.
In your journal, write out a list of 100 reasons that make you the wonderful person that you are.
We’re often taught that it’s wrong to blow our own trumpets but this is your opportunity to do so.
100 unique reasons of why you are awesome might seem like a lot to you, but trust me, these are just the tip of the iceberg.
As you start writing your list feel into every sentence and love yourself for having that attribute. And keep going. Even when you think you can’t think of another reason as to why you’re incredible, if you take a break and do something else and leave the process working at the back of your head, another reason will pop in that will often start another flow, so keep going until you have 100 reasons why you’re awesome. This could take you a few days to come up with, and that’s fine. There’s no rush but get it done.
Once you have your list of 100 things that make you awesome, pin them to your bathroom wall so you have a constant reminder of what a wonderful person you are.
One of the most empowering tools we have at our disposal is our bathroom mirror. How often have you looked in the mirror and criticized yourself? Your big nose, you crooked teeth, your lank or fluffy hair? We use our mirror to beat ourselves up all the time but today we’re going to stop doing that.
Every day from now on, spend some time looking in the mirror, right into the depths of your eyes, and tell yourself how much you love yourself. Tell yourself 7 things every day that you’re really proud of.
I find that doing this whilst I’m cleaning my teeth or washing my hands works really well and it doesn’t take up any more time in my day.
These things can be anything at all, recent or from the distant past that you are proud of yourself for. Maybe you got out of a bad relationship, maybe you landed a new account or new client, maybe you drank your daily goal or water or made an incredible cup of coffee, whatever it is, show yourself love and appreciation for all of your achievements no matter how big or small they may be.
Having a sense of pride in oneself means that we hold our bodies in a different way. Instead of slouching over, we hold our back straight and our shoulders down. We lift our head high which exudes confidence. This stance makes us feel like more of an authority, lower our cortisol levels and people will find confidence in us because we have found it in ourselves.
The way we speak internally affects the way we show up in the world. If we are constantly beating ourselves for not being further along or the things that we’ve said or done, we will never be able to step into our power of being all that we are. We, therefore, want the words that appear in our heads to be calming and encouraging and to make us feel amazing about being alive.
So whenever you notice yourself saying or thinking something negative about yourself or others, catch that thought and replace it with the simple phrase of “I Love You”. As much as possible, keep the “I Love You” mantra playing the back of your head.
The more we’re able to catch the chattering negative thought patterns before they start spiraling, the quicker we can consciously create the life we wish to live.
Before you go to bed at night, visualize how you would like your next day to be. Get that image really really clear in your head. See yourself waking up feeling really refreshed, and eager to start your day. Live in that reality in your imagination as you fall asleep and notice how you feel the following day.
When you start to wake up, recreate that feeling again when you’re in the Peter Pan stage of consciousness, and say “Thank you [Your first name]”. Then repeat the words “I Love You” in your head over and over and feel the emotions fill your body. As you start to wake up more and become more alert, replace the “I Love You” mantra with a mantra that says “Yes”. Repeat the word “Yes, Yes, Yes, Yes” and again feel the energy move through you.
Starting your day in this way is strangely life altering.
You will feel more able to jump out of bed with excitement and vigor which means that instead of starting your day feeling stressed and as exhausted as you were before you went to sleep, you suddenly have a zest for life and being productive in the pursuit of your dreams.