The first step is to admit that they exist. Part of our societal tendency is to want to escape from the things that haunt us. Debt is only one way to do that – by purchasing things that we choose to believe will make us in some way ‘better,’ or happier, even for a short time, we skirt around the core issues. They’re never as bad as we expect - the fear of what we’ll find beneath is far worse than the thing itself. I believed for so long that I was stupid, because it’s what I was told as a child. I began to embody it, responding to the world in the way a ‘stupid’ person would. My debts sprang from the need to prove myself as something other than that – the majority of my debt is from student loans. After my second Master’s degree I realised that whatever it was I was seeking through education was actually already within me. I began to tell a different story, one in which I no longer responded to the world around me from the starting point of ‘stupid.’
Have you had any testimonials from clients who worked with you and were able to shift into an abundance mindset?
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I’ve worked with a number of clients, but not on this specific thing, because it’s new to me. I was actually surprised when I ‘heard’ I was to write a book on debt because I felt entirely unqualified to do so. Yet as I sat down to write, the words flowed and I began to understand that by living my own experience of debt, I was actually examining the process from the internal perspective of having been there. Through this, if I can be of service to others by sharing it, then so be it.
Why has personal debt increased so much over the past four decades? Is it the marketing of credit cards to people or much deeper than that on a societal level?
That’s a good question, and difficult to answer. I don’t think it has anything to do with the marketing of credit cards but feel it’s a much deeper issue. There’s an underlying sense of dissatisfaction with what is and the need to soothe our collective wounds with the instant gratification of material stuff. It seems to me people don’t want to feel what’s really going on and would rather just bury it under mountains of clothes, cars and other toys. The underlying feelings don’t go away, they simply resurface as other things – disease, anger, PTSD, depression – and then the need to bury all that is added to the burden. If we were able to express ourselves more authentically in everyday situations, we’d find our connections with others grew stronger and we’d need fewer excuses to bury our dissatisfaction. Vulnerability has become a bad word, when in fact it’s a vital link in making connections with others.
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What are the biggest obstacles that people have when cutting down debt?