Sep 19

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Sorting out money shame

Tonight I heard a story about someone who has a lot of money – as in a LOT of money because of family connections – and hides that fact.  Apparently because he has rather small town values, he is ashamed of having this big-city kind of money.  Which got me thinking about how many of us allow money to control our self-image and how we live our lives.  And apparently it’s no different for people who are ashamed of having too much than it is for people like me who are ashamed of not having enough.

Since I was a teenager I’ve felt ashamed of the fact that I didn’t have money.  It seemed like some sort of moral failing – first on the part of my family and then, when I became an adult, on my own part.  Surely if I were a better human being, I wouldn’t have to worry about money.  I’d make better choices.  I’d value who I am and what I do more highly.  I’d have this all figured out.

And it feels doubly unfair because the issue isn’t that I’m an over-spender.  I may indulge in a new sweater once in a while or get a couple goodies at the grocery store, but the real issue is that I’ve traditionally been an under-earner.

Recently I had a hard conversation with someone I love about the extent of my debt.  I was absolutely terrified as I revealed “the number” – afraid that somehow he would see me as a lesser human being who obviously made faulty decisions and couldn’t be trusted.

But here’s the truth – that money saved my life. That is the money it cost to spend two years as a student at Inner Visions and I wouldn’t change that for any amount of money in the world.  That is the money that helped me turn myself from someone who was suicidal to someone who has the skills and tools to help myself and others.

Is that something to be ashamed of?  When put in that context, I have to say it’s not.

But as I revealed the number, I was still terrified that I was about to destroy a friendship.  And you know what he said to me?  “That money helped you become the beautiful person I care so much about today.”

No recriminations.

That’s what I’m learning during this month of The Miracle Challenge to do for myself. The story I heard tonight about how rich people sometimes feel money shame too puts it in a whole new perspective for me.

About the author

Leah Carey

Leah Carey is the Chief Miracle Officer of The Miracle Journal, where she writes about the large and small miracles that happen in her life every day. She is a life coach, speaker, journalist, freelance writer, and lover of life. In all of those pursuits, she works with people to identify what’s already right in your life so you can build an even more joyful and fulfilling daily experience from that foundation. You can find her on Facebook, , Twitter, and YouTube.

Permanent link to this article: https://www.leahcarey.com/themiraclejournal/2011/09/19/sorting-out-money-shame/


1 ping

  1. LMVL

    i love this! 😉

  2. Karen McCrocklin

    Today I am learning to be patient with myself for not posting miracles for the last few days. My miracle is that instead of blowing off the whole thing, I’m getting back on the miracle horse. Yeee haw!!

  1. 1 down, 3 to go | The Miracle Journal

    […] of you remember my posts from last summer and fall about how challenging my finances were.  About how ashamed I felt.  About how much I wanted to change my situation.  About how impossible that felt, but I was […]

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