Have you been saddled with financial problems for what seems like forever? Are you experiencing financial stress? Do you get down on yourself, carrying the burden of guilt and even shame for past financial decisions? You can move on from this problem, but in order to do so, you will need to forgive yourself.
Own Your Mistakes
In order to move forward, you need to be able to own your past financial mistakes. Most likely your choices didn’t just affect you, but others as well. Friends, family, and perhaps even co-workers and employers were harmed because of your poor choices. Own your mistakes rather than hide or distance yourself from them. Accountability is part of the healing process.
Own Your Feelings Too
Owning your feelings means accepting your emotions regarding your financial stress. You might be feeling:
- Worried, anxious, or scared.
It’s easy to get swept up in these emotions and get carried away. Your financial stress is compounded by these negative emotions. In order to move forward, accept that you are having these emotions and allow yourself to feel them. Accepting your feelings means you are less likely to try to numb them, dull them, or try to escape by engaging in other risky behaviors.
Talk to Someone
Talking is such a simple exercise, yet for those struggling with financial stress, it can be difficult to start the conversation. “How is talking going to help me get out of debt?” you may ask. Well, it allows you the opportunity and space to get all of those thoughts and feelings off your chest. Here are some suggestions:
- Reach out to a family member or friend who will be understanding and not judge you.
- Consult with a therapist who understands how financial stress can affect you emotionally.
- Find a support group, such as Gambler’s Anonymous for those who struggle with a gambling addiction.
Another benefit of talking to someone is knowing that you are not alone. Many people struggle with financial stress at some point in their lives.
Begin Picking Up the Pieces
Once you have started the work of owning your mistakes and emotions, as well as talking about your feelings with someone who understands, you can begin picking up the pieces and make a plan to get out of your financial distress. This means working with a financial therapist, accountant, or a similar professional who can provide guidance. This process may mean significant sacrifice on your part but it’s worth it to be able to get past this situation.
As time progresses you begin to gain perspective on what happened to you and the situation you were in. You can reflect on what caused you to make the decisions that you made and hopefully find compassion for yourself. If you can learn from your mistakes and make better choices you will find that it will be easier to move on and find peace with yourself. It’s important to note that working with a therapist familiar with financial therapy will help provide some of that perspective as well as the guidance you need.
We all make mistakes or get into tough situations. Just about everyone in their lives experiences some form of financial stress. Although it feels like things will never get better, they can and they will if you are willing to do the emotional and financial work needed to move on. It is possible.
Denise Kautzer is a Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor and a Certified Public Accountant whose practice is located in St. Paul, MN. You can view her website at www.denisekautzer.com or contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org