Addressing your money emotions

Written by Lisa Pallavi Barbora

Lisa Pallavi Barbora is a Senior Consultant for Content at WFAN. Lisa is also a founder of In her earlier avatar, she was a National Writer and Consultant for HT Mint - a premier business journal in India.

October 16, 2021

When the emotions you have around money become a limiting force, that stop you from achieving your potential best in life, it’s probably a point when you need help with your money life.

What are these emotions? There could be a range of emotions you have around money. Some are good and some are not so good. The good emotions need to be tick marked and reached out for as much as possible; that will help you get better at managing money. It’s the not so good emotions that need a little bit of nurturing.

This is not about whether you are rich or poor, whether you want to be rich or are moving towards being minimalistic. Rather it is about accepting all your behaviours around money and then choosing to change the ones which are unsuitable to the life that you want to embrace. This essentially requires recognition and acceptance of negative emotions as a first step.

There could be many negative emotions around money, here we will try to address three of them.

Stressed about money

If you are someone who is constantly worried that you don’t have enough saved up for now and for the future, you may be stressed about money. Often, being stressed results in the opposite outcome rather than resolving the problem you may be struggling with. In this case, stress around money can easily lead to emotionally charged but reckless treatment. In other words, overspending.

You feel like you don’t have enough and yet instead of cutting back, you go on spending. Stress builds up at this point. However, once you are spending, keeping up with appearances also becomes important. This is a precarious stage where it’s easy to get into debt. Buy now pay later, somehow might appeal to your stressed mind as you think you are spending less. What you are really doing is borrowing to spend. If that keeps up your money stress will only increase.

A good way to not fall into this spiral that can suck you in is having a better awareness of your money beliefs and habits. Retune them by following the right actions and set yourself on a stress-free path to wealth creation.

Ashamed about money

You may not even recognize that you harbour feelings of shame around money. Unwillingness to talk about money in casual discussions, Not inviting friends over for fear of being judged about money, steering away from budgeting and keeping records are all tell-tale signs that you might indeed be ashamed of money.

Surprisingly, people at both ends of the spectrum – those who have too much and those who have too little – can feel this way. What comes out as shame, however, might actually just be an underconfidence with money and a lack of knowledge.

A good way to overcome this negative emotion is to go out, learn and research more about saving and investing options. The knowledge around how investments work, about why it’s important to save rather than spend it all and about your current income being used to create wealth for the future, is something that can help with gaining confidence about money matters, this confidence, in turn, can help you overcome the shame you might feel at the moment.

Self-doubt around money

Self-doubt is damaging in any sphere of life, but when it comes to money, it’s particularly dangerous. Self-doubt about money can create habits that lead to overspending or even underspending and stop you from using what you have to build a prosperous life. Self-doubt is a tricky one because the cause could be hard to pin down. This might be a result of subconscious money learnings in your childhood or maybe you are using money as a means to show status or it’s fear that you will not have enough ever. Whatever the reason, letting self-doubt creep in can have extreme repercussions at times.

You may get tied down to a job you don’t like, just for money. You may start to spend more in a bid to overcome self-doubt by filling up your closet. You may even start spending to project a glamourous image of yourself, which does not match the real you.

All these instances will take you further away from your financial objectives and future wealth creation. Be careful about self-doubt, this is not an easy emotion to resolve.

People generally don’t like to talk about money, but when there are negative emotions involved, you actively avoid talking about it. This active avoidance creates a façade that can be emotionally draining. There is no reason to be shy about money matters, money affects all our lives and talking about it helps to alleviate our doubts, fears and negative emotions.

Rather than being quiet, why not take a step forward and address your money emotions?

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