So often when we think about a problem that we are having, all we see is the surface. We don’t actually understand that most of our problems are caused by a spiderweb of interconnected threads. My issues around my debt and money carried threads from every aspect of my life. My money conversation, and the issues around getting into, and out of debt was multi layered.
I was in debt for 20 years, although I was actually really good with money
I felt massive shame around my debt.
I was afraid, ashamed to ask for help.
I would keep my word, even if it meant I would suffer.
I was a money hoarder, I had to be prepared for the worst. Be in control.
I was scared to spend my real money on anything I had not planned and saved for. Control.
I tied my debt and the shame that went with it to the joy, spontaneity, and creativity in my life.
Little did I know that I still had more work to do. After all of this realization and growth, I plugged away, I worked mostly 6 days a week. I sold some of the photo equipment that got me into debt in the first place. I let go of a lot of things that I bought because I thought I needed them to “be a photographer,” or to be happy.
But, I was still hiding. Everything in my life became about “When I am out of debt, then I can…” It was no longer, “I need this in order to do this,” but it was the same story. Does that story sound familiar? Maybe yours goes something like this: “I will be happy when….”, or “If I have this thing, my life will be good”
I still did not do anything spontaneous, fun, or creative. It became: I will do those things once I when I’m out of debt. Then, It was going to happen. End of February 2019! That was going to be the day I would be out of debt! Mid February I did my taxes, and instead of owing $800 like I thought I would I owed $5500. I was devastated. That would set me back 6 months, or so I thought.
Its funny though, how when you’re really doing the work to deal with the underlying causes of your problem, the shifts come faster and with more clarity. It was the end of March, and I was still working way too much, I was thinking that even when I had the money, that I would work hard to save a cushion so that I would be okay, there’s that CONTROL thing again. But, I was tired, tired of my excuse that I had to work, that I had to make money, that I couldn’t do anything fun.
So, I got up off my ass and took a look at my bank accounts. I pulled an envelope of money that I had set aside for something else, and I realized I had enough! There would be no cushion, but I could do it…and I was going to do it! I was tired, tired of putting off what I could do now because of some fear or some story: the fear of not having enough, the fear of not having a cushion, tired of “I can live my life when this happens”, tired of running from opportunity, joy, and freedom. I always used money, debt and work as an excuse not to do things. I didn’t want to face the parts of me that were scared to take risks. But I was ready, I was ready to let go of these parts of me.
I’m sure this break with my old self will be messy at times, and those parts of me will rear their heads, but now I know better. Now I know those old stories are coming up out of fear, and that opportunity is right in front of me. Freedom requires a willingness to choose something different than than I had in the past, and a willingness to live in the present.
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