Paying off a substantial amount of debt is difficult, but certainly not impossible. With belief and commitment, you can pay down debt and get rid of it for good. It’s all about getting into the right mindset and really wanting to be free from debt! The road to debt freedom contains plenty of ups and downs and as well as these, you might find yourself experiencing a rollercoaster ride of emotions along the way.
Every Wednesday for the next 3 weeks, I’ll be writing about some common emotions that go hand in hand with paying down debt along with some practical advice on how to deal with them. If you missed any of the emotions I’ve covered previously, here they are: Fear; Denial; Anger; Regret; Acceptance; Passion and Hope.
Stage 8: Peace
Peace sounds like a really nice emotion to feel doesn’t it? Can we possibly feel peaceful when we think about the debts we are carrying? Yes! Because once we get on with paying debt off, life will likely become more peaceful and tranquil rather than stressful and turbulent.
What is peace?
“Freedom from disturbance; tranquillity.” Source: Oxford Dictionaries
Peace means many things to many different people but in this context of paying off debt, peace is the emotion that we might feel once our debt starts to reduce and we get a handle on our finances. Specifically, this emotion is inner peace – being at peace with yourself and your finances – a sense of relief even, as the heavy burden of debt starts to lift.
If you’ve been carrying debt for a quite a while, you may have noticed yourself getting edgy when you think about money matters. You might even experience a horrible sickening feeling in the pit of your stomach from time to time. You may not be sleeping all that well and are worrying about opening your credit card statements.
The more time passes with you being in debt, the more this feeling will grow and heighten. If your debt is not nipped in the bud or managed carefully, at some point it will come back to bite you along with a heap of stress and strife about what you’re going to need to do about it.
The stress that comes with having a lot of debt can be pretty nasty. That’s because debt can easily get out of hand and ultimately affects every purchasing decision you need to make. If you were to be so unfortunate as to lose your job or suffer a financial emergency, you could experience a real crisis financially.
When you start paying off your debt, you’ll regain some control over your finances and over time the stress factor will reduce. Your debt will be getting paid off; you can plan for emergencies and start enjoying life again without the enormous pressure of carrying debt. All this will have a really good knock on affect when it comes to your health and wellbeing.
How to bring about inner peace where your debts are concerned:
Don’t deny your debts
The very first thing to do is face up to your debts in the first place by admitting them to yourself. If you carry on plodding along in denial, things will only get worse and the stress factor will get much more real.
As hard as it may be, confront your debts – find out how much you owe to your creditors and take a look at how you managed to accumulate them. Go through your credit card bills and think about what makes you spend in the first place.
When you understand why you’re in debt and really believe you want rid of it, you’ll no longer be in denial.
“You will find peace not by trying to escape your problems, but by confronting them courageously. You will find peace not in denial, but in victory.” J. Donald Walters
You have to do something positive to bring about inner peace
If you’re feeling unsettled and edgy about your debts, this is a huge warning sign that you need to do something about them. In order to achieve financial harmony, you need to start taking positive action and try to get rid of your debts.
You can do this by first assessing what your overall finances look like at the moment and make a plan to get you to where you want to be. Having a plan is an important part of regaining control and this will make you breathe a little easier straightaway.
Secondly, your plan will need to involve paying back your debt as quickly as possible. You could try saving money on your regular bills or making extra money to go towards debt repayments. Once you get going with your plan of action, you’ll be able to see the progress that you’re making.
The point is – you have to do ‘something’ to get your finances back on track. Doing nothing could actually make things worse when it comes to debt management.
“Peace has to be created, in order to be maintained. It will never be achieved by passivity and quietism.” Dorothy Thompson
You got yourself into debt – and you can get yourself out of it!
Whatever the reasons are as to why you’re carrying debt in the first place, the bottom line is that the debt is yours – you made the decision to spend on credit and you need to get it paid off. It’s easy to over analyse the ‘hows, whys, whens and if onlys’ when it comes to replaying how we got into debt, but actually all that doesn’t do much good, unless we can learn from our mistakes.
The important thing to focus on is how you’re going to get yourself out of debt for good. And you can do this! You just have to really want to succeed and make paying your debt off a priority. Imagine how you’ll feel when you’ve achieved debt freedom! You’ll feel a sense of peace for sure.
“Nobody can bring you peace but yourself.” Ralph Waldo Emerson
Stay calm and focused during your debt payoff journey
Once you start getting your debts paid off, sticking to your plan can at times be tedious and even stressful if you begin to experience unexpected bills or issues in your personal life which get in the way.
Sometimes life does happen and you might not be able to pay as much debt off one month. Don’t let this hurdle knock you back, just keep moving forwards and continue with your overall goals. If it takes you a few months longer than you’d hoped to get rid of your debt, don’t worry too much – it’s the journey to get there that counts.
“The pursuit, even of the best things, ought to be calm and tranquil.” Marcus Tullius Cicero
Ignore the Joneses
Have you ever felt envious of another person’s (seemingly) successful financial situation? It’s hard not to compare ourselves to others who look like they are doing really well for themselves and we might let such feelings get in the way of logic.
But ask yourself this: just how well do you know these financially successful people? Unless they regularly show you their bank statements or lists of assets and liabilities, the chances are that they could be carrying a great big pile of debt too.
Don’t try to keep up with the Joneses by getting the nicest car; gadget; clothes; holiday; or house just because that seems like what’s expected of you. Focus on what’s important in your own life, such as getting your own finances in order. You might find that as time goes on you’re not all that bothered about material things anyway. Free your mind from envy and you’ll start to feel a whole lot happier.
“Those who are free of resentful thoughts surely find peace.” Buddha
Financial difficulties can have a real detrimental impact on your life and overall happiness. By tackling your debt and getting your finances straight, this will relieve a lot of pressure that could be weighing you down. You can enjoy a peaceful life, free from the burden of debt!
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*Image courtesy of Flickr. This image has not been altered in any way.