Christine Ibbotson is a national radio host, YouTuber and author of three finance books plus the Canadian best-selling book How to Retire Debt Free & Wealthy. Send in your money questions to www.askthemoneylady.ca.
Dear Money Lady readers: I want to tell you a story of a dear friend of mine.
But first, do you ever look back over your life with resentment? A missed opportunity, a career failure, job loss, divorce, or even financial ruin.
We all do, some more than others, and the longer you live, the more you will. It is hard to let go, especially when financial resentment can leave us open to even more self-sabotaging financial behaviour that grows over time if we don't work to let it go.
However, financial resentment is more of a mood than an emotional state and this behaviour often motivates more bad habits. For example, sometimes if we feel financial resentment, we overcompensate by spending money that we don't have in an attempt to right the injustices that caused our resentment.
I have a very dear friend who suffered career failure and literally overnight went from a six-figure income to being flat broke, and that wasn't the end of her troubles. The same year, her husband left her for another woman, and she went on to spend three more miserable years in mental anguish and resentment until one day her therapist said something that struck a chord.
It was plain, simple and true. He said: "You made it before, you were successful and happy once, so just change and become successful and happy again." Simple words. And she did – determined this time to become more successful. I am pleased to report that even though it wasn't easy, my amazing friend is now happier and earns more than she ever did before, even through the pandemic.
Being treated unfairly in a way that impacts your income, lifestyle or family welfare is one of the most upsetting experiences we all face. Living through injustices no matter what it is, angers us and often settles in our hearts as resentment.
The problem is, when we resent others because of an injustice, whether real or imagined, we can't help but feel anger, sadness and disappointment that tends to strengthen rather than fade over time. Our upset is often retriggered every time we think about it, which can even lead to ruminating and severe depression. Money problems, economic setbacks, job loss and investment failures are a fact of life.
We must realize that the only thing we have complete and utter control over is our reaction to it. We can choose to be positive or negative.
Letting go of resentment is about forgiveness, and that doesn't mean to forgive yourself, you are condoning the behaviour of someone else. Forgiveness is about releasing yourself from self-destructive and painful resentment. It is a gift to you – not the person you forgive.
We must always remember that each and every Canadian is worthy of a life free of resentment, whether or not the person, institution or situation you resent is worthy of your forgiveness. You are the only one that can change and improve your life. No one else can do this for you. Be grateful for what you have right now. Treat each day as a gift. Change your life to be happy. You have the power to let the past go and move on to greatness.