Debt may common, but it’s not carefree to carry.
In today’s world, debt shows itself everywhere—from our nation to our neighbors. According to Experian, in 2020, debt in the United States rose by 800 billion dollars. The stats on the website usdebtclock.org show that as of today, America’s debt totals more than 28.6 trillion dollars. It also shows that an “average American household” owes nearly $135 thousand dollars, with an average debt per citizen (which includes babies and the elderly) at $85 thousand dollars.
Money can be a joyful part of life.
Money can mean food, shelter, clothing, electricity, education, security, and clean running water. Money can also buy presents for under a Christmas tree and trips to fancy restaurants, new countries, and back home to visit family.
Our perspective on money, matters.
Do we perceive money as something joyful? Or, do we see it as something we don’t have, something we owe to other people, and something that makes us feel bad? If our perspective about money causes us to suffer, it affects our mind, body, relationships, careers, and ability to enjoy life—it impacts everything in our experience.
Debts in our mind and life.
Though we may be glaringly-aware of our financial debts, we may be unaware of the behind-the-scenes debts we may carry. These unconscious debts can affect our health: mentally, physically, emotionally and spiritually.
A monetary loan contains many debts.
Though loans have their place, and most of us may need a loan from time to time, it’s important to be aware of unspoken and unwritten forms of debt. When we agree to a monetary loan, we may also be silently and unknowingly agreeing to the following debts, which may come at a price that’s far higher than dollars.
Loans include a debt of: money, time, energy, and attention.
When we agree to a financial debt, we agree to give our money, time, energy, and attention to the debt. That means we’ve agreed to: think about the debt, care about the debt, take care of the debt, pay attention to the debt, and to give our time, energy and attention to activities that we hope will result in money to pay for the debt. This may lead us to very long days, doing things that we feel obligated to do, on behalf of the debt. And, these things we do may not be things that we’re happy about doing. These things may not inspire us, or nurture us, or nurture our creative spirit. Because we’re doing things for the result of money. Rather than doing things for the joy of the activity.
Loans also include an emotional debt and a spiritual debt.
Although not outlined in any written contract, there are two more silent debts that accompany a financial debt. The emotional debt is fear, and the spiritual debt is unworthiness.
The first, silent debt is an emotional debt of fear.
When we borrow money, it causes emotional stress. The stress is born of a fear of failure that we may not be able to repay the debt. This fear can lead to feelings of over-responsibility, if we “take the world on our shoulders,” and rely too heavily on our own abilities to “work our own way” out of debt. This emotional debt of fear may also drive us to behave in inhumane ways. An example of this would be if we see things around us as a method to make a profit, to pay our debt, or buy more stuff. Rather than seeing people, animals, land, water, and sky as divine beings with whom we enjoy life.
Are we willing to live with a debt of fear?
It’s not that we can’t or shouldn’t take on a loan, but let’s stop to ask ourself, “Am I taking on fear with my loan? And can I afford that fear? How might this fear affect us and our family members?”
The second, silent debt is a spiritual debt of unworthiness.
When we accept money that we have not earned, it may lead us to feeling unworthy in two ways. We may feel unworthy of the beautiful things we have purchased, feeling guilty that we do not deserve them. Or, we may feel overly worthy, feeling that we deserve the beautiful things we have purchased, when, in our mind, we haven’t earned them. In either case, we have judged ourself—as either unworthy or overly worthy. And when we judge ourself, personal punishment can be close behind.
Are we willing to live with a debt of unworthiness?
Again, it’s not that we can’t or shouldn’t take on a loan. However, let’s stop to ask ourself, “If I take this loan, how will this affect my (and my family’s) feelings of worthiness?” If we can take a loan without feeling undeserving or overly deserving, OK. But if not, recognize that when we take on the loan, we will also be taking on a debt of our self-worth, which can be more invasive and difficult to reconcile than a debt of money.
Debt can drive addiction.
The combination of these three debts: financial obligation, emotional fear, and spiritual unworthiness, can provide a perfect storm for us to feel irritable, depressed, hopeless. And these feelings can drive us toward addictions of all sorts, as we desperately seek any way out of the feelings associated with debt.
Debt can deplete joy.
A life of debt and obligation, at the expense of inspiration, creativity, and joy, is enough to make anyone want to jump off the wheel of life. When we feel obligated to live, so we can pay bills, it can make us ask questions like, “what is the purpose of life?” and “why am I here?” We ask these types of questions, when we have no joy.
Our perspective about debt needs to change.
Our current concept of debt as a way of life is fairly recent. It began in the early eighties, when credit cards became readily available to the general public and letters of approval arrived weekly in our mailboxes. Before then, consumer debt was far less common, and fewer people were addicted, distracted, and weighed down by debt. Today, the “normalcy” of debt can make it seem as though it will always be present in our lives. This does not need to be true. Life wasn’t always this way, and we can be debt-free once again.
Let’s shift to a debt-free state of mind.
What I’m about to say next, if we take it to heart, can shift our perspective about debt as a source of suffering, to a debt-free state of mind. We’ll take the first step and look at our current perspective in life, which looks at how we spend our energy and time. Then, we’ll refocus our energy and time to receive new types of life dividends.
What’s our current perspective on our time and energy?
How do we usually spend our time and energy? Do we invest in activities that are worthy or wasteful? Do we donate our energetic, waking hours to work that leaves us feeling bad? Do we give our time, energy, and money to: smoke, drink, gossip, watching tv, doing illegal activities or other unhealthy indulgences which drain our time and money? How much money do we spend per week on things that are unhealthy and not growing us in a good direction? How much time do we spend with people who drain our life energies, and leave us feeling spent?
Let’s make a debt-free shift in our perspective.
Below are two, free things we can do today, to create our debt-free state of mind. Because the best prediction of our financial future is how we invest our time, energy, and money now.
- Choose to invest our time, energy, and money on things that bring us lasting health and joy.
- Be grateful.
Investments in health and joy.
When we invest in health, be it: physical, emotional, mental, or spiritual, then the money we used to spend on unhealthy stuff, can be put toward debt and/or a joyful activity. We can also invest our energetic capital in healthy, productive activities, such as enhancing the richness of our health, spirituality, relationships, wisdom, awareness, finances, and more ways that can be mentioned.
Dividends of health and joy.
By investing in choices in health and joy, we receive dividends in health and joy. For example, if we invest in healthy eating, Life may provide us with dividends of healthy bodies, sleep, wakefulness, and offspring. And, if we invest our “energetic dollars” in work that bring us “joy” that we “love” to do, Life will bring us more of that joyful work that we love …. and the dollars that come with it. By making choices in health and joy, we make direct deposits into our personal worth and receive dividends in dollars … and in life!
Our energy is more valuable than money.
Instead of seeing our most valuable asset as money, let’s realize that our most valuable asset is life and its energy within us. If we aren’t alive, we can’t do anything, much less pay our bills. Since energy is our most valuable asset, what will we choose to do with it? As we shift our perspective and choose to consciously and wisely invest our most valuable currency—our energy, also known as “energetic dollars” —in health and joy, we make deposits into our “good life” account, and our financial accounts will grow in tow. And we also show Life, others, and ourself that we are grateful, appreciative, and want more of the same.
Being grateful is a required shift for a debt-free perspective.
Rather than seeing money as a problem, we can be deeply grateful for all blessings, including money and all other valuable forms of life which surround us each day. We can say “inner thank yous” to everything, including: the money we currently have, the clean air, water, sunshine, gravity, physical sensations, love, fun, and all the types of health and abilities we have. And, we can smile at ourself and be grateful for the opportunity to share life with our friends, family, and nature. There is so much for which we can be grateful. By focusing on ways we’re grateful, we also bring joy to our own life and the lives of others.
What say ye?
Will You put your money where your mouth is and invest yourself in choices that bring you health and joy? And will you choose to be grateful for the money and other goodness that’s already in your life? Share your thoughts and feelings in the comments section so we may all learn together!
Always with love,