In my last post I wrote a bit about changing our perceptions about the inevitability of debt, but today I want to talk about a common problem people have with debt: Fear of looking at your debt. When you can’t look at your debt, it is impossible to do anything about your debt! So let’s dive in and see why this fear exists, and what you can do about it.

Why do you fear debt?

The first question to answer within yourself is why don’t you want to look at your debt situation? It can be a variety of reasons:
– Fear that the amount is larger then you imagine
– Fear of confronting past spending
– Anxiety of having to make a plan, or make changes in the present
– Shame about any number of things, including the idea that somehow you should have known better.

Whatever it is, know three things: These emotions are powerful, they are understandable, and you are not alone. But the first step to changing your life is taking a clear look at what you would like to change.

Take a clear view

Now that you have some ideas of the powerful emotions surrounding your debt, I want you to take a moment. Close your eyes and say: “I am trying to protect myself by not looking at my debt. I understand that this is an attempt of my brain to keep me safe, but it is no longer serving me to avoid this. I am strong and powerful, and ready to understand where I stand.”

Then I suggest taking out a piece of paper or your journal and start writing. Take a deep breath: how do you feel right now? What emotions are coming up, and where are they centered physically in your body? What is the strongest emotion? And finally, write down something like this: “I forgive myself for avoiding my debt. I am a good person, and I am worthy of a debt-free life.”

Break it down

The next step is gathering the details of your debt information. That is beyond the scope of this article, but understanding a snapshot of your debt right now is the next step in creating a debt repayment plan. But before you do that, I want you to congratulate yourself for taking the steps to open yourself to your current financial situation. For many people, confronting their debt is the hardest part of improving their relationship with money. I’m so proud of you for taking this step!

Do you need help?

If you are struggling with this step or any other, I recommend you reach out to a Money Coach. We can help you with the strong emotions surrounding personal finance, and help you gain the tools you need to change how you relate to money. If you’d like to learn more, please reach out to me, I’m here to help!