When you’ve accumulated a whole bunch of debt, it can take a long time until you’re out from under it. Depending on how much debt you have, it may be months or even years.
It can be really hard to separate yourself from something that you have a constant reminder of every day. One of the hard things is that your behavior, your life, your mindset may be totally different today than it was when you created the debt.
Although I changed my lifestyle of spending and not paying attention several years ago, I’m still paying off the money that I owe as a result of that today.
For a long time it served as a constant reminder of past mistakes. And it was difficult to move beyond the self loathing. The anxiety of what I created was always weighing on my shoulders.
With the evidence in my face on a daily basis, I could hear the saboteur voice, “how could you be so irresponsible?”…”how could you be so stupid?”…”you’re so not good with money”…and on and on…
But, one of the keys has been in my noticing my thinking and my feelings. As Geneen Roth says, until you notice and understand yourself, true change is not possible. You can get everything you want and wish for and still not feel good, because feeling bad has been your default. You don’t know any other way.
So I find I have to meet myself with kindness. And at the same time, not ignore the shameful, fearful, anxious feelings that rise up. I can’t pretend that they don’t exist. Instead I must acknowledge them and let them run their course. And then when it feels right, move on to a more loving and compassionate place.
If I close my eyes and picture myself years ago when I created the debt - confused, lost, uncertain, sad, disconnected from myself – I can’t help but feel compassion for that girl. What I know now is that she was just looking for a way to feel worthy. I know that she was really just trying to take care of herself. I also know that she was only doing the best she could at that moment in time, and I feel nothing but love for her.
And, I know that this debt is here to teach me. I can see it in a whole new way.
Its teaching me to be gentle and kind to myself.
Its teaching me to be peaceful.
Its teaching me love.
Photo credit: Amy Lloyd