I get asked by clients how do I forgive myself for bad financial mistakes. In today’s blog post, I answer this question by sharing five practical things that you can try to help you on your journey to financial forgiveness.
How do I forgive myself for bad financial mistakes?
I’ve made many financial mistakes over the years. If you know my debt story, one of my biggest financial mistakes was getting into over £36,000 in debt. This post isn’t about that story; you can read all about it in my eBook How I paid off £36,000 debt, or watch the video below where I share my debt story in detail.
My debt story shows you that I can relate to the negative feelings of making financial mistakes. When I was in debt, I felt guilty. I felt terrible for making a mess of my finances. I was a fraud, presenting to the world like I had my life together when my reality was so far from this.
One of the first things I had to do before embarking on a debt-free journey was to forgive myself for my bad financial mistakes. I had to tell myself, yes, I failed, but I’m not a failure. I’m saying this to you too, you may have failed with your finances, but you’re not a failure.
You’re not the first to make a financial mistake, and you definitely won’t be the last. If you’ve ever asked yourself, ‘how do I forgive myself for bad financial mistakes?’, I hope you’ll have discovered practical things you can do to help start that journey of self-forgiveness by the end of this article. These things helped me forgive myself for my financial mistakes. I hope you find them just as helpful.
1. Don’t lie to yourself
Accountability matters. One of the first things you can do to help forgive yourself for bad financial mistakes is to acknowledge the mistakes you’ve made. It’s essential to identify and understand the financial mistake. What was it, where and how did you get it wrong? Own up to where you messed up.
I’m sure you’ve heard it said concerning addiction that “admitting you have a problem is the first step in recovery” I think the same is true for overcoming financial mistakes.
When I was over £36,000 in debt, I was in denial for two years. I ignored the problem and consequently kept digging a deeper hole for myself. Don’t make the same mistake, be honest with yourself and own your mistakes.
2. Confide in someone you trust
Can you believe that we never discussed it when my husband and I were over £36,000 in debt? We ignored our financial situation and buried our heads in the sand. Because of this, we both suffered alone in silence for years. I felt like a financial failure and was constantly beating myself up for getting myself into such a mess.
It’s like that old wise saying says, a problem shared is a problem solved. By sitting down and discussing where we had gone wrong financially, we could find a balance and self-forgiveness.
We were able to encourage each other, discuss the financial mess we’d found ourselves in, and devise a plan of action to get out of debt.
If you talk to someone you trust about your financial mistake, they will be able to encourage you to forgive yourself and make you see your situation from a different perspective.
3. Treat yourself like you would a loved one
A great way to forgive yourself for your financial mistake is to treat yourself as you would a loved one. We’re often kinder to others than to ourselves, so find forgiveness by putting a loved one in your shoes. The same grace you would extend to them, try giving it to yourself.
4. Every ‘L’ is a lesson
What lesson have you been able to take away from this financial mistake? Look at it this way; if you didn’t make a mistake, you wouldn’t have learned the lesson(s) that it taught you. If you view it this way, you’ll find it easier to forgive yourself.
I’ll use myself as an example. Getting £36,000 in debt taught me a lot, and I grew so much through that experience. I no longer view my debt as a big mistake. Instead, I see it as one of my most significant growth moments. I would never have started this blog, my Instagram page, Twitter account or helped hundreds of people begin to budget if I didn’t get into debt.
What can you learn and take away from your financial mistake? What would you do differently next time to experience a different result? Every ‘L’ is a lesson – view it this way, and you’ll find self-forgiveness.
5. Focus on the things you did right
Nobody is perfect. We all make mistakes. Look for evidence of the times when you got it right financially. Doing this will help give you balance and put things in perspective.
Yes, you made a financial mistake (or 2, or 3), but can you think of examples of when you didn’t get it wrong financially? Have you stuck to the budget you assigned for your child’s birthday party? Have you paid your bills on time? Been tempted to make an impulse purchase but stopped yourself in the 11th hour? Sit down and write down all the recent positive financial decisions you’ve made. You will rebuild your financial confidence when you realise it’s not all bad.
A mistake or two in the grander scheme of all the other financial decisions you have to make daily is not the end of the world. If you can’t think of any examples of a good financial decision you’ve recently made, I have one. You’re reading this blog post. That’s an excellent financial decision. You’re considering how to get a better financial perspective, and that’s a significant step. You’re not burying your head in the sand. Instead, you’re being proactive about making a positive financial transformation.
If you want help transforming your relationship with money and creating the perfect money management system to achieve your financial goals, book yourself in for a free Master Your Money Game Plan Call, and let’s see if I’m the right coach for you.