I'm really getting into podcasts lately. Making the drive to and from work gives me a good amount of time each week to devote to listening to someone who can, hopefully, teach me something, and I'm really grateful for that! I usually alternate between photography, business, and body image activism (with the occasional true crime thrown in there to keep things spicy).
I was listening to a podcast for entrepreneurs the other day, and the host started talking about mental blocks when it comes to money. He said that a lot of entrepreneurs feel unworthy of earning money for their product or service, and it has to do with beliefs about money that we learned somewhere in our lives. Maybe we grew up being told that "money isn't everything," or "money is the root of all evil," or in a family who lived paycheck to paycheck, or some similar thing. These beliefs that take root in childhood, whether from being outright told or from what we grew up seeing and inferring for ourselves, manifest in our subconscious and thus become our reality.
Wait a minute. If business owners have these mental blocks...don't our clients, too?
I can't tell you how many times I've heard someone regretfully tell me, "Oh, that's too much to spend on myself." And hey, no judgement! Everyone's budget is different. But it's that last part that gets me. "It's too much to spend...on myself."
Would it be different if it was something for your partner? If they wanted a new vehicle, or fishing boat, or entertainment system? Would it be too much to spend on them? Or a spring break trip for your teen? Hockey gear for your child? A birthday gift for a friend?
Who or what in your life told you that the value you assign to yourself, your happiness, and your wants should be at the lowest end of the spectrum? Who made you believe that your joy is trivial, inconsequential, and ultimately pointless to pursue?
Identify Where These Thoughts Come From
It might have been a parent. Maybe a childhood bully. A teacher. Stop, and think. When you feel unworthy, whose voice are you hearing? Once you know where that voice is coming from, you're going to write a letter to its owner. Say whatever you need to say. Whether it's, "Mom, I know you were just trying to protect me, but I can take care of myself, and I'm allowed to make my own choices about what makes me happy," or "Screw you, Jason, you're 12 years old and can't even rent a car so fuck off!" Get it all off your chest. Whatever comes to mind when you hear that voice, let it out. Tell it why it is no longer welcome in your head. And when you hear it piping up with its usual brand of bullshit, stop it in its tracks. Tell it, "thanks for stopping in! I'm not entertaining uninvited guests right now, so you're going to leave."
It's important to recognize where the feelings of inadequacy or unworthiness come from from. You weren't born believing this stuff! So...
Reach out to your inner child
and start talking to yourself like you would talk to six year old you. Talk to that kid with love, and empathy. When your instinctive response to making a mistake is to think, "Ugh, I'm such an idiot!," imagine you're saying that to the younger version of you. How would you respond to that child making a mistake. Maybe:
"You're trying, and I'm proud of you for that"
"Nobody is perfect. Mistakes are a part of life"
"It's okay to fail. You're going to stand up and try again, and this time you know what you didn't know before."
When negative thoughts and feelings come up, implement this technique. When you start feeling overwhelmed, anxious, or like you just aren't good enough, talk to that inner child. What would you say to a kid who is struggling, doing their best, and maybe just needs someone to hug them and hear them?
Move Past Limiting Beliefs
When you start a sentence or thought with "I can't," "I don't," or "I won't," you're writing your own reality. Our thoughts, our beliefs, our mindset, and our realities are all interconnected, and one begets the next, The trouble is, we get into these thought ruts and it almost becomes background noise. We're not really even hearing ourselves on a conscious level anymore, but our subconscious is listening to every word.
One way to start moving past these beliefs is to introduce new ones, and eventually drown out the old way of thinking entirely. I love the Mantra app, and I look forward to seeing my Mantra for the day every morning! (Literally, as I was typing this, I got a notification that someone replied to my Instagram story...which was a shot of my Mantra for today. Hey, universe. I see you working.) I think that's a sign, so I'm going to share my Mantra for today with you:
Worry won't change my circumstances. I replace worry with hope.
Something I also share with clients in my post-session worksheet is a tip to add in some new social media pages to follow. It's easy to get caught up in seeing perfectly curated bodies, families, events, houses, people, etc. on our feeds and forget that there's a whole messy reality behind them. The things we surround ourselves with absolutely influence the way we think and the way we see the world, and ourselves in it. Start following some pages that show off bodies that look like yours, or even completely different! Follow pages that showcase the stories of disabled people. intersex people, women with body hair, men who need body positivity, or any page that opens up your reality to include real stories of real people who don't necessarily fit into the box that the world seems to demand of us. There are people all over the world following their dreams, pursuing their passions, putting value in themselves regardless of what anyone else says. Why not you, too?
Ditch The Excuses
All of them! You don't need to make excuses; you're an adult! You get to make choices. If you don't want to do the dishes tonight, don't rationalize it with "there aren't a lot there anyway, they can wait until after breakfast tomorrow. because that would be more efficient..." Give yourself grace, and be honest. "Tonight, it's important to me to take a bubble bath with a good book, and the dishes will wait until tomorrow." Full stop. That's it. You don't need to feel guilty. No one is being hurt because the dishes aren't being done.
If there's something you want, go out and get it. If you don't want it, release it from your life. Making excuses is essentially trying to manipulate yourself. And since you're too smart to fall for that, it doesn't work, and instead just makes you feel guilty because you aren't being honest with yourself. I am a firm believer in "where there's a will, there's a way." I've had far too many clients who are single moms on one income, who saved diligently or found a payment plan that works for them in order to afford a session, to believe otherwise. Own your choices, and stop letting your brain tell you that you need to earn permission for them.
Self-care is so, so important. Placing value on yourself, your needs, your WANTS, and your happiness is such a crucial part of moving past feelings of unworthiness. Set aside some time each week to read a book on the subject (I recommend Untamed, by Glennon Doyle), or listen to a podcast. Make the time to make changing your mindset a priority! Nothing can happen without action on your part. If you're waiting for a sign that it's time to step up and start living your best life, consider this IT.
If you're already on the path to becoming a happier you, drop a comment with your favorite act of self-care, your favorite podcast, a book recommendation, or anything you would add to this list! And feel free to join us at Truth in Boudie to continue the conversation.