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Emotions, money and the grace to handle both

You made a mistake – an expensive one. You are flooded with embarrassment, anger, disgust, guilt, sadness, or some combination thereof. 

Are you a bad person for making a mistake? You probably feel that way, but the answer is no. If making a mistake made us all bad people, there would be no goodness in the world. How about an emotionally charged and impulsive financial mistake? The stakes are now higher, aren’t they? Now you must certainly be a bad person for behaving recklessly with your (or someone else’s) hard-earned money, right? Not necessarily. 

Firstly, as women, let us acknowledge that everything we do has an emotional tether. We will remember what is done or said based on how it made us feel. This emotion lodges the experience in our brains. Let us give ourselves grace for being wired in this way. We can’t change it, and it will forever shape our interactions with the world around us. 

Secondly, let’s be human and validate our feelings. Without feelings, we can’t be human. Our souls are what distinguish us from animals. Mistakes typically have a complex combination of negative feelings attached to them, and this is normal. However, it is what we choose to do with our feelings that separate the wise from the foolish, especially when it comes to money. 

The response that requires no thinking is to wallow in those feelings, indulge in self-pity or spend more in the hope of dispelling the negative feelings and ‘regaining control.” More expenditure, especially of money you may not have, will steep you further in the mire. This will add to the pressure and produce more poor money behavior. If we are not careful, we’ll find ourselves repeating this vicious cycle that will cause our money management to spiral out of control. 

However, there is always hope. For some, it may not require any formal therapy, but for others, therapy may be necessary if the cycle has continued for too long or has an especially intense underlying cause. 

How do you escape the cycle? It is called ‘money grace.” Practicing money grace is one of the best habits that you can incorporate into your life and is the first step in recovering from your financial mistake. 

The first step is to own the mistake. The second step is to honestly identify your “money trigger”; what causes you make the decision to spend impulsively? The third step is to find or create a solution. The fourth step is to commit to taking action. The fifth step is to avoid repeating the mistake. 

We have all, at some stage, made impulsive and emotional financial decisions. There is always a means of escape; give yourself the grace and space to make these mistakes. In choosing to forgive yourself and commit to doing better, you give yourself the grace to not repeat the mistake. 


Janera Harvey is a money coach and certified credit counselor. Reach her at info@thecreditjourneyllc.com. 

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