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I get it. You see no other way to save money, and you feel trapped.

You can dress like a bum and eat like a college student, but that would only make you feel more miserable. So what happens? You become overwhelmed and take no action.

Perhaps it is time to adopt new habits and step out of your comfort zone. But the most exciting part is that you will start saving money.

Kristin Neff, the author of Self Compassion, has conducted several case studies on self-compassion. The results revealed why we are often unhappy despite financial success. 

The solution is simple. Practicing self-compassion leads to a happier life. And as you live a happier life, you will avoid the obstacles holding you back from financial success.

But what is self-compassion? And what does it mean to show yourself compassion?

Why Self-Compassion Is The Answer

Is self-compassion another way of being soft with yourself? Yes and no. 

Practicing self-compassion does not mean you will lower your standards. Rather, self-compassion entails treating yourself with care and respect.

After all, you are your most dangerous enemy. Ask yourself the following question: What do you tell yourself when you wake up late or miss an appointment?

Most people criticize or condemn themselves for making mistakes. When you make a mistake, you may chastise yourself. For example, you may call yourself lazy or careless when you wake up late. 

However, you would not be this hard on your friends. Would you?

But why are we so hard on ourselves? Kristin Neff claims we are more forgiving of others because we feed our need for positive self-evaluation. In other words, we naturally search for validation from others. Think of this as stuffing yourself with candy and feeling guilty afterward. 

We also compare ourselves to others, looking for ways in which we are better. But it is impossible to be the best version of yourself this way; because you are trying to be like somebody else.  

The trick is to stop judging yourself. But how? Start by not labeling anything as good or bad. Instead, accept things for how they are.

The following exercise may help you practice self-compassion.

Exercise 1: Organize three chairs in a triangular position. Think about an issue that you often criticize yourself for. 

Then assign the first chair to the voice of your inner critic. The second chair represents the part of you that feels judged. The third chair represents the compassionate observer. 

Practice changing personas for each character and see how you can calm your inner critic. This exercise will help you be in tune with your feelings and focus on your compassionate voice.

Core Components of Self-Compassion

Self-compassion can be separated into three core categories.

1. Being kind to yourself

It is not enough to stop judging yourself. If you want to be happy, accept your failures — and move on.

Don’t judge yourself for being late for work. Instead, show yourself compassion. You can tell yourself: “This is a challenging time for me. But what can I do to feel better?” 

Unfortunately, your support system won’t always be available. Fortunately, our brains and bodies have the innate capacity to give and receive care. In other words, you can care for yourself during tough times. 

2. Relate to others

Self-compassion also consists of understanding how all people are interconnected. When you are struggling, it is easy to feel isolated. However, everyone experiences disappointment, sadness, happiness, etc. You are not alone.  

Self-compassion offers support during tough times instead of pity. Instead of telling yourself, “I’m stupid,” you can say, “Nobody’s perfect.”  

3. Be present

We tend to distort reality. For instance, you may be anxious about a test, only to realize it was much easier than expected. Similarly, we tend to distort other areas of our lives.

We tend to focus on our problems — and not the pain caused by them. For example, perhaps your boss has just given you a negative job assessment. In this scenario, the natural tendency is to shift into problem-solving mode and leave your pain unattended.

Think of mindfulness as a clear pool without ripples. If you learn to view reality realistically, you can eliminate unnecessary pain. Focus on how you feel and not on the problem itself. 

However, being present is just the first step. It is also important to practice mindfulness habits. 

The following exercise will help you to be more mindful:

Sit in a quiet place for 5–20 minutes. With your eyes closed, note the feelings you are experiencing. For instance, you may feel an itch on your right foot or hear children playing in the front yard. 

Allow yourself to keep moving on to the next emotion that comes your way.

If you have a hard time sitting still, you can try meditating. 

Be patient with yourself. Don’t expect to start reaping the benefits of meditation immediately.

How to Save Money With Self-Compassion

So, how does self-compassion save you money?

By being happy! Ironically, your self-condemning attitude may be holding you back from building massive wealth.

No amount of money can make someone happy. You may want to be a millionaire. Or, perhaps you want enough money to travel the world. Regardless, prioritizing anything else besides your happiness is ludicrous. 

Why is that?

Here are three proven ways self-compassion will help you save money and live a happier life.

Stop Being Your Largest Liability

We live in a competitive society. In western culture, people get rewarded for being the best. They get a rush when they are doing good. But they feel sad or disappointed when they fail.

The problem with this approach is that everyone is different. And no person performs well all the time. 

For example, take this case study where participants watched a sad and neutral video. Participants who watched the sad video offered to pay four times more for bottled water. Now imagine how vulnerable you are to spending money frivolously when you are sad or depressed.

We often treat our friends better than we treat ourselves. We have a misbelief that strict standards are necessary to reach our goals. However, being harsh on ourselves prevents us from achieving better results.

The solution?

Change the source of your self-judgment. Don’t depend on external factors that influence your judgments. Instead, allow your assessments to come from your heart. Your heart accepts your flaws, understanding humans fail at some point.

Perhaps you have tried to buy happiness by purchasing expensive items or eating at a fancy restaurant. However, your happiness is not depending on material goods or having a good time.

Increase Your Earning Potential

Is there something holding you back from building your business? Or from landing your dream job? Or from taking the financial risk to become wealthy?

The answer is fear, doubt, and negative self-judgment. Sure, there are many other factors but the majority of them are internal. 

When you practice self-compassion, you learn how to manage your emotions.

Research has found that compassionate people are less anxious or depressed. They still experience negative emotions but know how to manage them better.

Unfortunately, many of us have a negative bias. Our brains tend to focus more on negative than positive information. 

Now think back to the last time you shot down a money-making idea.

Imagine trusting yourself on a whole new level. You may still experience fear but take the necessary risks to reach your goals. 

If you had a positive bias (and mindset), you might ask your boss for a promotion. Start your business. And remove the barriers that hold you back from reaching financial success.

Skyrocket Your Savings With Time

The old saying, “Time is money,” still holds today. Yet, some people end up wasting their entire life pleasing others.

Why is that? Because we are wired to feel both good and bad. 

Often our self-esteem is dependent on the approval of others. For this reason, we let certain outcomes determine our self-worth.  

This way of assessing ourselves paralyzes us and prevents us from taking risks. Consequently, many people prefer to play it safe. They may even spend their entire lives in a career they hate.

Self-compassion is your ticket to saving countless hours dwelling on unachieved goals. 

Showing yourself compassion does not require you to disregard the opinions of others. You can still care about people, but now your self-worth comes from within.

Gary Vaynerchuck, a successful entrepreneur, argues that we find happiness by doing what we love. He says that some of his friends earn 45K and are happy, while others make millions and are miserable. 

A helpful exercise to practice is to list 3 qualities you like or dislike about yourself. Then ask the following questions:

  1. Do I want to feel better than others or feel connected?
  2. Do I want to be perfect or healthy?

Exercise enables you to put your perception of yourself into perspective.

Live Happily, Start Saving

Happiness is something all humans strive for. But, in the process, it is easy to get lost. Rather than trying to save or make money, focus on the present moment.  

For the past decade, I’ve been my worst enemy. To fill voids in my life, I have bought things I don’t need. As a result, I’m currently in debt. 

But I was fortunate enough to learn from my mistakes.

It is time to start leading a better life. 

A positive outlook will help you see yourself realistically and overcome obstacles.

When you face difficulties, you have your back. When you want to take a risk, you have your back. The person who was once holding you back — namely, yourself — is now helping you become the best version of yourself.

You are no longer prioritizing money over mental health and happiness. Yet your income seems to be higher than before.

Amazing, right?

You’ve already won. So, don’t wait to have more money to feel happy. Start today.

Gary Vaynerchuck wisely remarked: “The odds of you being human are 400 trillion to one.”

Since you only have one life, it’s high time to start living!


Chris founded FWO, the ultimate destination for those looking to achieve financial independence, explore the world and stay motivated daily.

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