Wednesday, October 26, 2011

You Are Not Your Debt

For many of us, debt is worn like a shield, our armor against the cold winds of Fate. But debt is actually nothing, a whisper of nothing, an illusion. Granted we do owe people, companies and agencies. But this is all it is. When paying our bills, we suit up in our new uniform of being a responsible grown up and play again. The good news is, there is no debtor's prison, and the debt police - unless you refuse to file with the IRS - are not banging on your door. More than likely you have a prison of your own, making your mind a dangerous place to be.

But you are not your debt. You're so much more. You, your life and family, your dreams and goals and accomplishments are just many facets of who you really are and beneath all of those things is the spirit and energy of you. Your debt is just one of those niggling things you need to take care of. Do not make more of it than you already have. After a few months - the length of time it takes runs the gamut - you will begin to see improvement. But give it time. If you owe in the six figures, it will take time. Same for those who have debt in the five figures or less. Time takes time. And with just a little effort, you'll start seeing changes, making life a whole lot easier.

A word about your net worth. You are also not your net worth. Though we do live in a culture that values the net worth. In truth, those numbers don't have as much meaning for most of us as one believes. Still, this is a little exercise to do for yourself to gain more clarity about your numbers.

Add up all the debt you have. This would include the car and house as well, even though they are secured debt. Then add up your cash balances, savings, investments, the house if it's paid for, art, jewelry, household items, boats, and other recreational items you own outright. Take the larger number and subtract the smaller number and you have your net worth.

How does it look? A better question to ask is how do you feel about what you see?

If the net worth is in the minus column, then a year or so down the road, tally these numbers again. In my case, my net worth was on the plus side by exactly the same amount years earlier my debt amounted to.

The main thing is not to worry. Worrying doesn't pay down the debt. It just adds years to your life and causes aches and pains. The United States Government doesn't worry. The Federal Reserve isn't worried about your debt. Your neighbor isn't worried and your friends aren't worried - maybe because they have their own debt worries. Still, you can relax. If you're paying the debt off and communicating with your creditors, you have permission to exhale.

I'll conclude with the subject of meditation. Meditating, whether you're sitting in your lazy boy and staring out the window or sitting in a yogic position and chanting softly, is an important exercise in mindfulness. I know, I know. Those hippy days are over. But now we're calling it mindfulness and it really does work. Do some research for yourself or go to a yoga ashram and see how you feel when you leave. We all lead lives of quiet desperation and need to calm down and become more centered. It's such an easy fifteen minute exercise and softens the mind so it stops ruining your day. If thoughts are racing while you attempt to do this exercise, simply thank the thoughts and watch them as they leave your mind, rather the way you might watch a movie in a theater. Eventually, the ease of sitting comfortably and relaxing will come naturally to you. It sure will get you where you want to go faster.

"Sometimes I just sits and thinks. And sometimes I just sits." ~ Anonymous

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