It wasn’t until last week that I ever truly understood the connection between self-love and financial success. This may seem a bit of a stretch to you, but let me explain.
I’ve been self-employed for over 6 months now, and as good as I should feel for reaching this milestone, there was a part of me that wasn’t thrilled about it. In fact, part of me was pretty down because I hadn’t surpassed some of my financial goals.
You’ve probably seen those stories online, some person quits their job and within 6 months they’re already raking in 6 figures. I know that’s not common, but still, something in the back of my head was saying “Why couldn’t you do that? Why aren’t you as successful as X, Y or Z?”
There’s No Shame in Getting Help to Propel You Forward
This is called negative self-talk. It’s something I do so automatically that I didn’t even know I was doing it until recently. How did I find out? I started seeing my old therapist again. I hadn’t seen her in over 3 years, and a lot has changed since then.
Back then, I went to see her because I was having a hard time adjusting to living in new city and trying to make new friends from scratch. A lot of my mental barriers had to do with my past (obviously), but going to those sessions helped me more than I could have imagined.
That’s why I’m so open about sharing that I’ve gone to counselling in the past, and have started going again. We’ve all got stuff. That’s just the undeniable truth. And sometimes we need some help from a third-party to work through that stuff. I’m a fixer and perfectionist, so that’s why I have no problem going to see a therapist for help. If it means I can get some tools to overcome some of my mental blocks and find some clarity to some of my issues, then I’m all in baby!
You Can’t Control External Sources of Negativity, Only How You Handle It
This time, I started seeing my therapist again for a different reason. I finally feel comfortable and happy in Toronto (thank god!), and I’ve got a great group of offline (and online) friends, so it wasn’t to revisit any of that. This time it was about figuring out a way to deal with external and internal negativity in a healthier way.
As my blog and podcast has grown, so has the negative feedback. As many of my blogger/podcaster/influencer friends know well, it sucks pouring yourself into something only to get some online cyberbully publicly tell you “You suck!”, “You’re wrong!”, “Who do you think you are?” or most recently “You’re a c***!” (yeah, that last one really happened).
I’ve always had a bit of an imposter syndrome, so when the negative feedback started to roll in as I turned my side gig into my full-time business, I didn’t really know how to handle it. What I ended up doing was choosing not to address any of it, and internalize it instead.
But internalizing is not healthy! All of those negative comments, tweets, whatever, would just stay inside my head until I started to believe that maybe they all had a point. Maybe I was the worst? Maybe I should give up? Maybe I was doing more damage than good?
I explained all this to my therapist, and what she made me realize was pretty incredible. I don’t give myself any credit. I don’t spend any time or energy on being proud of myself. I don’t give myself permission to feel good or happy. For the 100 positive pieces of feedback I get, the 1 negative comment will be the only thing I focus on.
Negative Self-Talk Isn’t a Motivator, It’s a Distractor
But since I’ve always done this, I thought it was normal. I thought it was the main factor in me being so ambitious, me having so much drive to be successful. But that’s actually not true. Sure, I totally believe in the whole “Let your haters be your motivators” idea, but you can’t just be motivated by proving people wrong.
Keeping all that negative BS in your head isn’t helpful — it’s distracting. Personally, it was deterring me from trying new things, taking risks, being more vocal, and telling others “Actually, no, YOU’RE wrong” or “I totally disagree!” I’m also a bit of a people pleaser, so on top of internalizing all this negativity, I was afraid of retorting for fear of further backlash or more people jumping on to the bully bandwagon.
But that’s no way to live. It’s just like sucking up all the negativity like a vacuum, and never emptying the bag until one day it explodes. For me, my vacuum bag was getting mighty full, which took the form of mild depression and anxiety.
And that really pissed me off because that is not what I’m about. For god’s sakes, I started this brand, my personal brand, to spread positivity, encourage others to live a more balanced and financially free life, and ultimately help people grow and be awesome! So why was I letting this crap get in the way of me living what I was preaching?
Focus on Self-Love Instead of Negative BS
No more. The first step to making a change in your life is to acknowledging what you need to change. The second step is to learn the tools to help you make that change. The last step is taking action.
And that’s exactly what I’m gonna do. I’m taking action. I don’t want all this negative ridiculousness to keep me from reaching my full potential. I may not be making 6 figures in my business yet, but that doesn’t mean I can’t ever achieve that. And I shouldn’t let any naysayers get in the way of me making those strides to a bigger career and higher income.
I may not be everyone’s cup of tea, and that’s a good thing. If those people don’t have anything nice to say, that’s really about them and their issues. It has nothing to do with me.
There’s a reason why my brand has grown so much in the past two years. Because I’m actually doing what I set out to do. I’m helping people. I’m motivating people. I’m creating a community to foster communication and support in the personal finance space. I’m affecting people. And those are the people I should care about.
But besides that, I should care about me more too. I should be proud of all the strides I’ve made so far. I should take a minute and allow myself to feel good about my life and what I’ve contributed to make the world a nicer, more positive place to live.
And that goes for you too. If you’ve been nodding along while reading, it means you need to do the same thing. Be proud of yourself and what you’ve done. Give yourself permission to absorb any positive feedback, from external sources or internally, without discounting it or making some excuse for why it’s not that big of a deal. Because it is.
And on the finance side of things, you do deserve financial success and freedom. You do deserve to live a life that’s debt-free and abundant. Don’t ever get stuck in that trap where you’re telling yourself “Well, I’m broke and that’s just how it’s always been.” It doesn’t always have to be like that and you know it. Give yourself some credit and keep pushing yourself forward to reaching your financial goals.
At the end of the day, you shouldn’t be ashamed for feeling good about yourself and loving yourself before anything or anybody else. You should embrace that feeling whole-heartedly.
Self-love — it can be a powerful thing if you allow it to be.