What Your Judgments of Others Reveal About Your Own Finances


Judgments are more than a reflection of being human

Who hasn’t done it? Judged another for how they look, an action they took, what they own or don’t own. It is easy to pass judgement off as a reflection of being human.  Easy until we begin to examine our judgments. Fortunately, upon examination, we uncover that our judgements are more than a reflection of being human. Our judgements are a projection of our greatest fears. And it is in this important discovery that we can begin to move our finances forward in a positive direction.

Briefly, let me explain projection. Projection is a term in psychology related to the actions of our ego (false self). The definition of projection is

Projection: the tendency to ascribe to another person feelings, thoughts, or attitudes present in oneself, or to regard external reality as embodying such feelings, thoughts, etc. in some way.

External Judgements Reveal Internal Fears

For example, my judgement of friends recent large purchase with the use of debt has very little to do with them.  It’s their life. I don’t know their financial circumstances. What they can afford or not afford. And even if I did it’s clearly none of my business.  My judgement isn’t a reflection on them it’s a reflection on me. And when I choose to dig deeper and ask – what thoughts are feelings am I projecting? – I gain new understanding.

As a result I could learn a number of lessons that are going to help me move forward financially.  On an all encompassing scale, the lesson is the recognition of underlying fear. At the root of all projection is fear and the feelings of anxiety, inadequacy and other negative aspects of ourselves we have yet to face. Here are a couple fears that could be behind my judgement of a friends large purchase.

The obvious fear would be fear of my own debt situation. It isn’t their debt that is the problem for me, it’s mine. My own fear that the debt I have may be a problem for me in the future or is a problem in the present. While my judgements of them may give a temporary calm to my fears it’s not a permanent solution.  Fear is a hungry beast and one that will not be pacified with a little judgement. Fear will continue to arise and likely lead to poor financial decisions. Uncovering the fear and taking brave action in spite of the fear is the best catalyst for financial success.

Likely, if I continue to dig I would find another fear. Fear of missing out.  Big purchases have a way of bringing excitement and fun into our lives.  If I’m being honest with myself, it could be a desire for more excitement and fun in my life that brought out the judgment.  Yet again, judging their debt does nothing to increase the fun and excitement in my life.  Fear is a buzz kill.

In brief, don’t stop at the first fear you find. It’s likely there are a small army of fears that all need annihilating. And the army of fear that you didn’t even realize you had, has one goal.  Stop your financial progress.  In the final analysis, recognize that your judgments of others hold the answers to your own success. Beneath those judgements are a small army of fears. Tackle each fear with the following strategy.


Grab your journal; it’s your turn to grow

Take a few moments and reflect on where financial judgements of others is showing up the in your life. Journal your responses to the following questions.

  1. Identify one financial judgement you have made in the last week. It could be a personal friend, a celebrity, a corporation or even the government.
  2. Write down the fears that are being projected onto others through that judgement. Dig deep.  Identify at least two fears projected in the judgement.
  3. Now that you understand the underlying fear more, write down 2-3 positive and empowering actions you can take to progress you towards your financial goals.
  4. Take note of the different feelings. The feelings of the judgement and underlying fears vs. the feelings that resulted from the actions you took.

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