Let’s not kid ourselves: you are your own worst critic. The problem is that critic is with you 24/7. Just waiting for the opportunity to mess with you. Not unlike the killer in so many bad horror movies.
Your inner critic has plenty of targets. They know everything, and I mean everything, about you. Career and money are but two areas that your inner critic loves to target.
It could be the case you think you aren’t working enough. In today’s always-connected world there are always opportunities to work more. Maybe your inner critic thinks you haven’t progressed enough on your life goals. That need not be the case. James Clear writes:
You can be happy with who you are and still want to be better. You can love your body and still want to improve it. You can appreciate your financial state and still want to improve it.
Progress does not require self-loathing. You can feel successful along the way.
This might be easier said than done. Especially in a world where there are no shortage of people to compare ourselves to. Think, the FIRE crowd. Damian Dunn writing at the Pete the Planner Blog talks about how we think about our net worth can work against our self worth. He writes:
Please hear me. You are not your net worth. You are much more than numbers in an app or transactions in an account. Sure, these two things are reflective of your previous decisions and actions, but they are not you.
There are a lot of things that feel like that they are you: your job, your relationship status, where you live, how many kids you have and many, many more. Net worth, included. Dunn goes onto put into some perspective what you might be feeling. Again it could be about your financial situation. Or it could be about something else entirely. Either way:
Guilt says you did something bad. Shame says you are bad.
Take a deep breath and read that again. This is important.
You did something bad versus you are bad. Understanding, and believing, the difference between these two positions will be the first step in overcoming your obstacles.
The whole point in all of this is to help you overcome obstacles and make progress toward reaching your goals. This can be difficult because we are all reading from deep-seated money scripts. Some of which we may not even be conscious of.
If you are filled with (money) shame, there is little to no chance you are going to see much progress. Wanting to put yourself in a better situation doesn’t make you less than. If we can tone down the negative self-talk we have a better chance of diagnosing our issues and dealing with them in a positive, productive manner.