money conversation

The money conversation (part 3-freedom)

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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.

  1. I was in debt for 20 years, although I was actually really good with money

  2. I felt massive shame around my debt.

  3. I was afraid, ashamed to ask for help.

  4. I would keep my word, even if it meant I would suffer.

  5. I was a money hoarder, I had to be prepared for the worst. Be in control.

  6. I was scared to spend my real money on anything I had not planned and saved for. Control.

  7. I tied my debt and the shame that went with it to the joy, spontaneity, and creativity in my life.

You can read more about this in the Money Conversation part 1, and part 2.

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.

If you would like to work with me on creating freedom, schedule a free phone consultation with me here:

The money conversation (part 2-it goes deeper than money)

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The realizations and steps forward in my last post were huge for me. ( click here to go to the Money Conversation part 1) Facing my shame, stepping through it to a place of vulnerability, and making a commitment. It was very difficult, and a part of me, a part of the story I made up about who I was died. I was creating change. Brené Brown says that vulnerability is the birthplace of innovation, creativity, and change.

I was on the right track, and I did everything “right” I opened up, I was vulnerable, I became okay with my situation. But I still was hung up about money. I thought about it all of the time. Which money I needed to put in which pile so that I could do the things I wanted to. I hoped I would have enough to go on vacation. Why wasn’t I making more at work, You get the idea. Money was still a big part of my life.

Next came some big realizations. When I was growing up I felt like we didn’t have any money; to what extent this is true is beyond me. Parents don’t usually share the actual state of family finances with their children. We reused foil, and I remember my mom sending the utility companies only partial payments. As I grew up, I was scared to not pay the bills, and I always made sure that I had a cushion.

Realization #1: I was a money hoarder. I did not want to let go of my money. I wanted my savings account to be full, so that if something happened I would be okay. Yes, this is a product of my need to control things so that I don’t have to feel pain or trauma.

Next I started thinking about what I actually used my credit cards for. For me it was printing and framing for art shows, photography equipment, artistic endeavors, (you might think to yourself, hey that’s okay, she’s an artist, and sometimes you’ve got to do what you got to do). I also used credit cards for anything I really wanted to do, but had not been saving for. This included concerts, dinner with friends, a new pair of jeans. And lastly, I used my credit cards for any unexpected expenses that came up, fixing the car, new shoes for work. Now remember, I had a savings, but there was something in me that couldn’t bring myself to use my “real money” to do anything fun or creative.

Realization #2: I used credit cards to pay for unplanned life, and my creative outlet. I had tied my debt and created shame around having spontaneous fun, and my creative outlet. On the surface I knew I felt shame about my debt, but I had no idea that I had intertwined it so deeply into the things that brought me joy.

You see, it goes deeper than money, as do most issues we have in our lives.

Click here to read The Money Conversation part 3.

If you would like to work with me, and look deeper, schedule a free phone consultation with me here:

The money conversation (part 1-facing shame)

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For those of you that have known me a long time, you know money has been a huge part of my life. It has been my biggest excuse. I had been in debt for about 20 years. No, not the student loan kind of debt. Everyone always seems to hold an air of forgiveness around that one, but good old fashioned credit card debt.

I told myself it was okay, that most of it was accumulated from printing and framing for art shows and buying photography equipment. You see I was a photographer, and someday it would pay my bills, so it was investment debt…or I kept telling myself.

I was paying $1000 per month for the longest time. But never seemed to make any headway, I didn’t really understand it. I mean I was good with money in many ways. I always had money saved (the cushion), and when I wanted to do something, I would plan and save. I never paid a bill late. On the surface I was very good with money, so why couldn’t I get out of debt.

It turns out there’s a lot more to money than just money. It wasn’t until I examined these issues that I was able to let go and make progress. For me there were quite a few steps, and probably more to come.

  1. Recognize my shame- I wanted to be perfect, I didn’t need any help from anyone else, I wanted to do it all by myself, because admitting that I needed help, or that I was in too deep would be the death to a big part of who I was.

  2. Ask for help-this was scary. It meant that I had not only acknowledge my shame, but move through it. There were many tears and it was so hard. The funny thing, is that on the other end of that conversation was kindness, and no judgement. I felt to ashamed to need help, but the help was there, all I had to do what ask and be willing to receive (willing to receive is another tough one for me)

  3. Make a commitment-I had to commit to do things differently. For me that meant, changing all my auto payments to my bank account and not using a credit card again…no matter what.

I had made commitments before, what was going to make this time any different?

At first I could say it is because I gave my word. For me that works, I will bend over backwards and endure the worst stuff in an effort to keep my word. And for the start, that was a good enough place to start.

Click here to read The Money Conversation part 2.

Click here to read The Money Conversations part 3.

If you would like to work with me on facing shame and being vulnerable, schedule a free phone consultation with me here: