Browse All Categories
03.28.2017 Sharon Spano, Ph.D.

Why Self-Compassion is Important to Your Wallet

If you’ve ever made a really dumb financial move in your life or career, you know how easy it is to slide down the rabbit hole of fear, frustration, and maybe even anger. That anger may be directed at yourself, others, or even an external situation that was out of your control.

Stuff happens.

Sometimes we make good financial choices. Sometimes we don’t. Sometimes we just get stuck in odd places and don’t feel we have obvious choices. The point is to have a good foundation from which to make decisions. It’s equally important to know how to climb out of that rabbit hole when you’re feeling like a loser.

The first step in doing so is to exercise self-compassion.

Why?

Because failure to exercise self-compassion will result in a cycle of scarcity thinking—that sense of not being or having enough. The outcome of that cycle is guilt, shame, and more financial paralysis. In short, you simply cannot create more money in the future if you’re stuck on failures from the past. Exercising self-compassion will open up space for resolution and your ability to create more money.

Self-compassion is made up of three components.1 You must have the ability to:

  1. Express Kindness toward Yourself when Facing Pain or Failure: 

    In a financial downturn, this means you examine the situation, own your part in it, learn from your mistake, and, then, let it go. What do you need to do to forgive yourself? What can you learn from the situation? How can you apply this learning moving forward? These are the questions you should be asking which is a far different conversation than, “Why me?”

  2. View Your Experience as Part of a Larger Human Experience: 

    You don’t have to isolate yourself. Even if your financial failure or crisis was your mistake, you are not alone. I seriously doubt if there is anyone on this earth who has not experienced some level of what you’re facing. If your financial crisis or choice is linked to something much larger, like an unforeseen shift in the economy, accept it as what it is, determine your next steps, and move on.

  3. Hold Painful Thoughts and Feelings in Balanced Awareness: 

    Self-compassion doesn’t mean that you stuff your experience. Pay attention to what you’re thinking and feeling, and if you’re really stuck, seek counsel. There’s no shame in seeking advice from a financial expert or even a coach or counselor if you need one. Sometimes a significant financial loss, particularly when it’s due to loss of employment, can catapult us into a deep sense of failure or even depression.

Remember, there’s no glory in pride that holds you hostage. Have awareness of what’s going on in your internal dialogue, and, if you need some outside expertise, get it!

The most cost effective way to do so is via books and podcasts. I invite you to visit Krisstina Wise’s podcast,  for practical financial advice as one such source.

Bottom line, self-compassion is very different from self-pity. One sets you free while the other keeps you shackled to scarcity. Exercising the practice of true self-compassion will help you flourish and thrive. As you shift into higher levels of creativity, resiliency, and the opportunity for personal growth, the promise is renewed self-efficacy and an enhanced sense of wellbeing.

Reflective Practice:

Spend a Saturday morning making a list of financial mistakes that surface from the past. What were the thoughts and emotions that rise up for you as you recall those situations? What did you learn from those moments?

What do you need to let go of in the here and now to move into greater self-compassion?

If you want to learn more about the value of self-compassion and what successful people know about the flow of money, stay tuned for my latest book, The Pursuit of Time and Money: Step Into Radical Abundance and Discover the Secret to a Meaningful Prosperous Life (to be released Summer, 2017).


1. Welp and Brown, “Self-Compassion, Empathy, and Helping Intentions,” The Journal of Positive Psychology 9, no.1 (2013): 54-65."

Published by Sharon Spano, Ph.D. March 28, 2017