Debts and Shame
How to Break the Cycle
My eyes filled with tears as I looked at the invoice.
I can’t afford that. I’ll never be able to pay that amount.
A wave of hopelessness and shame swept over me.
Maybe I should just give up. I can’t get out of this and I can’t seem to change.
I felt alone. I felt cornered. I felt broken and not good enough.
Have you felt that way?
Maybe when you look at your finances, that’s how you feel. Or maybe you have been avoiding looking at them because of those churning feelings.
I want you to know, there is hope.
First, let’s address the shame.
Shame is a feeling that says: “There is something wrong with me. I am the problem. I am broken.”
Shame hits us on an identity and worth level. Shame will tell you that because you are “bad with money” or “a big spender” or “rolling in debts”, that you are unworthy, unlovable, not good enough, or a hopeless case. But that is not true.
Your skills (or lack of skills) with money do not define your worth as a person. If you are experiencing financial hardship or are caught in debt:
You are valuable, even if your bank account is more than empty.
You are not alone, even if no one else knows about your situation.
There is always space for you to learn and take small steps forward.
Many people experience financial hardship and debts. That is because most of us are not taught solid financial skills. We are not born knowing how to budget! Don’t expect yourself to have financial skills that you haven’t been taught.
Second, help is available.
If you are experiencing financial hardship or are weighed down by debts, CAP is a good place to start. CAP is an organisation providing debt counselling and budgeting services to Australian families. They teach financial wellbeing to all Australians, providing all services free of charge. Hop over to their website to get in touch and see if they are the right fit for you. And check out their blog post, 7 Ways To Get More Confident With Your Money.
I also work with my clients on budgeting skills and mindsets around money. If you feel stuck or overwhelmed and would like help finding a way out, book a session with me.
You don’t have to carry the burden alone.
A number of weeks later I was looking at the same invoice with relief and pride.
I can’t believe it, I paid it all off. I took small steps forward and I trusted the way.
Even though I had felt it: I was not broken. I was not alone. I was not hopeless.
And neither are you.