I don’t know about you but ever since I was a little girl, I tried to be perfect. Once, when I was 5, we were making “stained glass” windows out of paper and I cut through the paper and burst into tears, afraid my teacher would yell at me (she didn’t). Another time, I spilled orange juice on the dining room table and screamed and hid in the basement, afraid my parents would yell at me (they didn’t). The tiniest mistake would drive me to panic.
As I got older, my fear of imperfection came out in other ways. I didn’t try out for the soccer team because I didn’t want to be told I wasn’t good enough. I was terrified to do solos at school concerts because I didn’t want people to think I was a “bad” singer.
Not only is the fruitless effort to be perfect painful, but it’s also paralyzing.
It got worse once I was in college and beyond. I stopped asking out boys that I liked because I didn’t want to get rejected or be a crappy girlfriend. I was hesitant to go after demanding jobs in case I wasn’t good enough to do them well. I didn’t want to do anything that might make me look ridiculous. I STILL hate cooking for my boyfriend, in case the meal isn’t “perfect”.
I thought I was the only one who was too “chicken” to go after things I wanted, but it turns out a LOT of people struggle with this, especially women. We are raised to be perfect, even though perfection is a myth.
Not only is the fruitless effort to be perfect painful, but it’s also paralyzing. Perfect is the enemy of the good, as they say, because if you try to be perfect, you often don’t do anything at all. If it’s not perfect, it feels like it’s not worth doing.
So what does this have to do with money, you ask?
This absolutely applies to your financial life too. I’ve heard people say that they’re in so much debt that they shouldn’t even bother trying to get out. They don’t pay attention to how much debt they have, or their bad habits, because they believe they’ll never be able to change their situation. Does that sound like you?
Don’t let your shame or perfectionism prevent you from leading a happier life.
Just because you’ve made mistakes in the past doesn’t mean you’ll continue to do so.
Just because some people in your life think you’re “bad” with money doesn’t mean you are.
Just because you’re still struggling with money now doesn’t mean you’ll struggle forever.
You don’t have to wait to be “good with money” to get started!
My point is: You don’t have to be perfect to get your money right! And things won’t get solved overnight. So take the first step that you need to take in order to get moving in the right direction.
What’s your first small step?
Is it opening a savings account?
Setting up direct deposit for your savings account?
Putting your credit card in a block of ice?
Admitting you have a spending problem?
Finally opening the letters from creditors?
Let me know what you’re going to do to get on your way to financial freedom!
Certified Financial Education Instructor. Feminist and financial coach for women. Founder of Money Circle.