The Emotional Stages of Debt: Peace

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

Carrying debt: bring peace into your finances

*Photo credit

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.  

Comments

  1. 1

    Girl Meets Debt says

    Another great post in this series Hayley! While I admit, I don’t quite feel 100% peaceful about my debt yet, that’s probably a good thing so I don’t get too comfortable and always stay on my toes looking for ways to reduce it even faster. I do much more peace since starting the debt repayment journey though. :)
    Girl Meets Debt recently posted…Women’s Power Wednesday #1My Profile

    • 2

      Hayley says

      Thanks so much GMD! :) I’m glad you’re feeling more peaceful these days about your debt. You’ll feel on top of the world when they’re paid off, as will I with ours! xo

    • 4

      Hayley says

      Just think how you feel when you get there Alicia! I feel more much at peace with our debts now. For years, I stressed out about them and I’m fairly sure I’ve got more than one grey hair because of them!

  2. 5

    Stephanie @ Six Figures Under says

    For me, peace came when we made a plan of attack for our load of student loans. Knowing that if we pay x amount of money for y amount of time we will be done! We haven’t got our payments up to where they need to be yet, but just knowing that there is an end in sight has brought so much peace. Before, when I was afraid to look at (let alone crunch) the numbers I had anything but peace!
    Stephanie @ Six Figures Under recently posted…Exercising Our Debt MusclesMy Profile

    • 6

      Hayley says

      Hi Stephanie – as you say, knowing that there is a light at the end of the tunnel is so important and gives you something to focus on. Without a plan, it can be tough to stay positive and leads to much more stress than is needed!

  3. 7

    Shoeaholicnomore says

    I am not a peace, but I’d like to be some day. I am working toward that and each time I make a payment and see my debts go down, or my EF go up, I feel a little of the weight on my shoulders and chest lighten. It will get better. Thanks for sharing this post!
    Shoeaholicnomore recently posted…Thing Thursday 3/6/2014My Profile

    • 8

      Hayley says

      It really will get better as each month passes, as long as you stick to your plan and improve things little by little. You’ll feel at peace with your finances soon enough! :)

  4. 9

    Shannon @ Financially Blonde says

    Can I just say that I always love the quotes that you find to support your point, Hayley. I love “Nobody can bring you peace but yourself.” Ralph Waldo Emerson Peace is such a simple and yet powerful word. We live is a crazy, busy world that we truly have to work a lot harder than Mr. Emerson to find peace, but just like he says, we are in control and it is an important tool in managing debt and dealing with life in general.
    Shannon @ Financially Blonde recently posted…Website Review – Smart AssetMy Profile

    • 10

      Hayley says

      Thanks Shannon! Glad you like the quotes! If we want to change things, it’s only ourselves that can make that happen. If we want to bring peace into our lives, then we must deal with whatever is making our lives turbulent. I felt so stressed when I wasn’t in control of my finances but I feel much more at peace these days. :)

  5. 11

    Done by Forty says

    I love the quotes so much, Hayley, and your own words, too, of course! There really is something empowering about the idea that if you got yourself into the mess, you can get yourself out of it. We are the problem, and the solution.
    Done by Forty recently posted…Rent to OwnMy Profile

    • 12

      Hayley says

      Thanks DB40! That means a lot! I’m a sucker for quotes, they really make me think differently about things at times. Exactly right, we are the problem and the solution!

  6. 13

    lyle @ the Joy of Simple says

    Hey Hayley and once again, great job :)

    Surprisingly, or maybe not, peace is a difficult feeling to master, but once you do, there’s nothing else like it. Wanting peace was why I embraced a simpler lifestyle and even now, after 20 years, there are days when I really feel in peace, and some days where it escapes a little. As you stated, life happens and you just have to go with the flow!

    Take care and my best to all.

    Lyle
    lyle @ the Joy of Simple recently posted…Seven Simple* Ways To Keep Your New Year’s Resolutions Alive!!My Profile

    • 14

      Hayley says

      There are some great benefits to living a simpler lifestyle and peace is definitely part of that. Having choices around your work, how much you earn and how you spend your days is pretty awesome and I’m hoping to be in that place one day (soon I hope).

    • 18

      Hayley says

      Hi Adam, thanks so much for stopping by! I wish you all the best with your own debt payoff journey and I’ll head over to your site now to check it out!

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