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My best friend and I hang out every weekend. We usually swap work stories from the week while sipping on chocolate martinis and listening to 90’s pop music. It’s something I look forward to each week because it’s so chill and relaxing.
But a few weeks ago, I walked through Falyn’s front door, ready to kick off our girl time, and saw her crying in the kitchen. She was sad-mad…crying from feeling hurt while slamming kitchen cabinet doors.
She’d just gotten back from a visit with her sister. While Falyn was there, she’d shared with her sister that she just bought a brand new camper. Falyn had been working hard to afford it and she finally had the money to buy one.
Her sister’s reaction wasn’t what Falyn expected. Instead of being happy for her and all the wonderful memories she’ll be able to make going on camping trips with her kids, her sister money shamed her.
“Oh, you think you’re hot shit because you’ve got all this money to buy a second house.”
“While you’re spending money on a camper, I’m here barely making ends meet.”
“It’d be nice if you used some of your money to help your family instead of spending it all on yourself.”
“You must think you’re better than me since you make so much more money.”
No joke. She actually said those things…to her own sister!
Money shaming is real and it needs to stop…because it hurts.
It hurt my friend’s feelings when her sister accused her of being a selfish, greedy, materialistic bitch.
It hurts women’s confidence and earning potential when other people criticize them for wanting more.
It hurts when people try to limit our success, joy, excitement, and prosperity.
Why is money shaming a thing?
- People with a scarcity mindset are prone to jealousy.
Falyn’s sister falsely believes that there’s not enough to go around. When Falyn got something she wanted, her sister felt as though Falyn was taking something from her, which is why she became jealous.
Instead of recognizing her money mindset needs work, she projected her negative feelings onto Falyn. Don’t be surprised if people do this to you too.
- People get uncomfortable when their social script is challenged.
We all have ideas about how the world is supposed to work and what’s acceptable and unacceptable. Some people have strong social scripts that say women aren’t supposed to make a lot of money and that it’s selfish to spend money on luxuries.
If these people see you being rich and having the things you want, you become a living contradiction to what’s allowed. Naturally, they’ll want to put you back in line so your behavior fits with their story.
- People become resentful because they assume that having money means you have it easy.
I’m ashamed to admit this, but I used to think that rich people have it so easy. I’d see a woman dressed in designer clothes, driving around in a BMW, flashing a 3-carat diamond and imagine that she spends her days lounging by the pool while a maid cleans her mansion and a personal chef makes her dinner. Resentment would set in, and I’d feel totally pissed that I was working three jobs and still didn’t have a pot to piss in.
The mind creates lots of interesting (and false) stories and this particular story leads to money shaming. People might look at you as a successful business owner and make up a story about how you have it so easy, which sets you up to be judged.
- People feel entitled to your money and get cranky if you don’t share.
This drives me nuts. Falyn’s sister felt entitled to financial help and got cranky because Falyn spent money on herself instead. She felt sorry for herself because she’s not in the good financial position that Falyn’s in and became irritated that Falyn isn’t helping her.
It’s not your responsibility to save people! If you want to use your financial power to help others, that’s generous and wonderful. But you are not obligated to share your money with anyone…and it’s unfair for anyone to expect you to.
If you haven’t experienced money shaming before, you probably will in the future…and it sucks.
But knowing why money shaming happens in the first place might help you to not take it personally and see that the shaming really isn’t about you- it’s about them.
Now, tell me- have you ever been money shamed for either not having enough money or for having too much? What happened? How did that feel?
Your story is important and worth sharing…it will help others who have experienced money shaming to know they aren’t alone.