Securing the bag isn’t always as easy as it seems. When it comes to talking about money and dealing with money, it can cause more stress than joy if you already experience financial anxiety. According to a 2018 Northwestern Mutual survey, 54% of people polled feel anxious or insecure about money. Having anxious and insecure feelings affects your confidence when trying to get the salary you want or negotiate the pay you deserve. 

Those negative feelings around money often stem from our childhood and how the adults around us dealt with money. The childhood experience that coach Reese Evans watched her parents argue about child support created anxiety and fear around money. “I was afraid to talk about money, afraid to ask for a raise, and not seeing my worth,” she told ESSENCE.com. Knowing your worth impacts how you make smarter money moves. Mitra Sharifi, a money and mindset coach, believes women should change to have a healthier money mindset. Sharifi shares her tips for overcoming negative money experiences. 

Define the barrier

The first step when making a mind shift around a money experience is to define the limiting belief. What is it about asking for money that feels debilitating? Sharifi says it’s essential to think about what part of the salary negotiation process brings us anxiety. It could be the research stage and not feeling confident around the salary data you gathered. It could be advocating for yourself, and the act of asking that feels scary, or it could be the anxiety of possibly being rejected. Sharifi suggests using a journal to help define those barriers and work through shifting your mindset around asking for more. 

Identify the distorting thought

Negative self-talk keeps the barrier alive. What we say to ourselves distorts our thoughts around money and asking for more. Sharifi says negative self-talk around negotiating can be thoughts like: “No, one’s going to give me that amount of money. Who am I to ask for that amount of money in a negotiation? I’m not worthy of that. I’m not deserving of that.” Writing down workplace achievements and contributions can help rid the distorting thoughts that you are not worth the money. Try keeping track of how your work impacts the company positively and feel confident when asking for more.

Loading the player...

Find any evidence for the thought

A negative experience from our past is preventing us from moving forward. “Draw the line back to some previous experience where that may have been the case and really kind of planted that seed or that thought,” Sharifi said. Sharifi realized her first rejection from asking for a pay raise made her afraid to ask for one for several years. Childhood experiences can also hinder how we talk and deal with money. “When it comes to money, the most critical years are like the ages of two to seven, where we learn about money. We’re seeing how our sphere of influence, mainly our parents, how they’re interacting with money and how they handle it,” she shared. Experiences like divorce or arguments around money can make you think money breaks up marriages. Food or shelter insecurity can make you work several jobs or fear spending your money on things that are not necessities. “Poverty is really a form of trauma. You can’t really think your way out of trauma. Trauma is something that is felt in the body. So a lot of us not only lack financial intelligence, but we also lack emotional intelligence, and these things are not taught in school,” she said.

Identify evidence against the thought

Sharifi was able to break through her fear of rejection by finding evidence against thoughts of not being deserving enough to have a pay increase. “I was turned down or denied because of one; it just wasn’t in her budget, but I ended up leaving there, and I went somewhere else and got the amount that I was looking for,” she shared. Sometimes the experiences we had or seen around money are not about us. Your first rejection may not be about your work performance or experience, but budget, timing and company priorities could affect whether you get the money you ask for at work. “Sometimes the timing that they go into something is more critical, and they can demand more. Timing is a big element. Your timing going somewhere else could increase your income as well,” Sharifi said. If waiting is not an option, it’s time to look for another job that can pay you the salary you want. “We don’t have to limit ourselves just because we’ve experienced that one time,” she shared. 

Reframed the thought

Affirmations are a key to helping to reframe the negative self-talk that comes with financial anxiety. The mindset shift needs to change to feeling deserving and worthy of the pay you desire. Sharifi suggests you ask yourself two questions: “What have you learned from your prior experiences? What ways can you increase your [positive] self-talk?” She learned from her experience that one rejection does not mean she would be turned down again. Sharifi also suggests that the behaviors we saw our parents exude around money often become our subconscious behaviors until we decide to take ownership of how we navigate our money. “We’re essentially on autopilot until we learn how to reframe and rewire those earlier experiences that really were never ours, to begin with,” she shared. Sharifi suggests it’s time to question the behaviors we have around money that we take on as our own. It’s up to us to heal ourselves by understanding our limiting beliefs and reframing our thoughts around money to get what we deserve.