Sometimes we really aren’t very good friends to ourselves. We give ourselves bad advice, say mean things and don’t tell the truth. If I had a friend like that I’d nope the hell out of there.
Unfortunately, I’m stuck with my inner mean girl. She can be a real piece of work, like when I look in the mirror and she tells me to lose a few KGs (rude!).
But the worst is when she doesn’t even say it out loud: she just whispers negative things in my ear. I don’t hear them consciously, so it’s only when I go digging around I realise she’s been trash talking behind my back.
The psychotherapists would call this our subconscious. I just call her ‘that bitch’ – as in, I am always working to ‘shut that bitch up’.
It turns out, she doesn’t just have views about my body, she also sticks her nose in on the money question.
The thing is, these bitches never comes up to our face to say things like: “you don’t deserve to earn more money”. They just discourage us from applying for more senior jobs, from pushing harder in salary negotiations or from demanding a payrise when it’s review time.
Lies about money
Probably the worst BS that bitch has fed me is that earning more money equals being more unhappy. For a long time I had this vague sense that every $10k added to my salary would add 10% unhappiness.
I don’t know where I got this belief from. Like, my dad worked his arse off for his executive paypacket, but he seemed to really like it too. Anyway, it’s taken me until like … 2020 … to realise that earning a good salary doesn’t require you to be miserable. And so I should just stop being afraid of earning more.
See how insidious these thoughts are? Written down, they seem ridiculous.
And yet they have followed me around for many years, making me do dumb stuff. Like the time I said in a job interview ‘I don’t really mind what I earn, as long as I like the work’. (Like WTAF girl, are you out of your mind?!).
I’ve found is that the only way to tell if she’s whispering these things is to be very quiet, line up your actions against your words and possibly ask someone else to call out your BS for you.
Case in point: after the incident mentioned above, my friend/co-worker who was in the room at the time kindly told me how dumb I was.
Don’t believe me? Then believe expert life coach Brooke Castillo.
She’s been one of the best influences in my life in recent years, after my friend Mia introduced me to her tough love.
A recent Life Coach School podcast is about women and money. Right on topic huh? I highly recommend you go and listen to the whole damn thing here, but I’ll also give you some highlights.
Social conditioning is real
Brooke homes in on the ways in which women are socialised to have almost opposite views to men when it comes to money. It’s based on years of her coaching experience.
She says: “Here’s some beliefs that I’ve pulled from women. If I make a lot of money, I won’t have any real friends. If I’m too rich, I won’t be able to find a man who will love me. My partner will be emasculated. If I try to make money, I won’t have time for my family. It’s either one or the other.”
Oh Jesus, I feel seen.
Brooke then goes on to test these beliefs with some men in her life. Turns out, she says, that “men believe the complete opposite of all those thoughts; [they’re] taught their whole life that money equals worth. That you better make money if you want to be worthy to your family, to your society, to your country. It’s your job to provide. Money isn’t optional. The more I have money, the better I can take care of my family.”
Whereas women often think, “The more money we have, the less available we’ll be to our family.”
I believe that differences between genders are mostly the outcome of social conditioning. Sex is what we’re born with, gender is a social construct. (If you question this, I highly recommend watching this amazing documentary The Gender Neutral Classroom).
But however it came about, here we are. As women, we have a whole set of beliefs that have been formed ever since we were little girls pretending to go supermarket shopping with miniature groceries, or taking Barbie to the tiny department store counter (one of my personal faves).
We’ve picked up a whole lot of BS that tells us things like men are providers and women are nurturers.
And while these beliefs are no longer relevant to modern life, they hang around like a particularly stubborn hangover (you know, like when you’ve done tequila shots).
And no wonder – so many rights we take for granted are just decades old. We waited until 1971 for am Aussie bank to give a woman a loan without a male guarantor. We only had equal pay legislated in 1976. Jesus, I was three years old, in 1981, when NSW women were allowed to prosecute their husbands for hitting them!
So it’s no surprise that some unhelpful, outdated beliefs are taking a while to wash out of our collective consciousness.
I strongly encourage you to explore some of the limiting beliefs you have about money (and anything else). If you’re failing to meet your goals, can’t get a handle on spending, think you’re no good with money, or keep sabotaging yourself (like me in my job interview), then it’s time to sit down and find out what ‘that bitch’ has been saying.
It’s only when we uncover those lies that we can hold them up to the light and see they are untrue. And then we can approach our finances with a mindset that sets us up for success and riches and general awesomeness!