Debt is a burden and a trap. After carrying tens of thousands in debt for years, that is something I can say with absolute truth. My debt weighed me down, and not just financially.
My debt made me sad, angry and scared, often all at once. I was infuriated with the education system that requires teenagers to take on tens of thousands of dollars of debt before they understand it. I was scared I would never pay it off. I was sad that my debt kept me from doing things I wanted to in my life.
I was paralyzed because of my debt. It consumed time in every single one of my days. The emotional burden of the debt was just as bad as the financial one. I found myself struggling to formulate a payoff plan because every time I went to look at my balances I started crying.
My response to my debt for a long time was to get on an emotional roller coaster and ride until I somehow got off. I couldn’t control the path it took me on.
Maybe you accumulated medical debt when you were sick or injured for a time, and looking at your debt reminds you of those days. Wherever your debt comes from, there is probably an emotional burden along with it.
How to Tackle Debt When You’re Emotional About It
The first thing to do is take back control. You own your money, not the other way around. Money is a tool for you to use to your advantage. Even debt.
Start trying to remove any negative emotions from your debt. That ten thousand dollars you racked up on credit cards after a divorce? Yes, it’s tough to look at, but the facts are the facts. That debt is there, and letting it continue to control you doesn’t make it go away.
Simple as it sounds, each time you look at your debt, say something positive about yourself. It will help balance any negative emotions you feel. Say something like ‘I’m a good friend” when you check your accounts. Say aloud “I am trustworthy” when you make your monthly payments.
Yes, it feels a little silly to talk out loud to yourself, but I piny promise you that this will help. Debt can conjure up myriad negative emotions. All those negative thoughts are not the only things that define you! You have some amazing qualities and it’s more than ok to remind yourself of them.
Remember: Debt is Not Forever
The coolest thing about any debt is that is has a finish line. No matter how big the balance, you can get to the end of it. It may be a hard road, but you can get there. Debt doesn’t have to be a part of your life forever.
Debt may be a big part of your present but it doesn’t have to be a big part of your future. You can move beyond a life of debt. Keep that truth close to your heart. Debt is not forever.
Even when your mantras don’t work and your budget got a little messy, make sure to hit every monthly payment. Even if you just pay the minimum, make a payment every month. Some action is better than no action.
Remember, we’re taking control of our debt now. We’re refusing to let it control us anymore. So taking regular and repeated action will help you feel like you’re the one calling the shots.
Slowly, you can change the way your debt makes you feel. I went from feeling defeated to getting excited about my debt. Each month brought a new chance to slay the debt dragon. Picking up extra work morphed into knowing I could make a huge payment this month, and I would be happy to do that. Going from depressed to excited about debt changes your entire life.
Stay strong! You can do this too.