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“It’s Not Me, It’s You”, and Other Lies We Believe

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Lies We Believe

Whether in debt or in life, the lies we believe play a crucial part in whether or not we succeed at the goals we set.  The mind is a dangerous thing, as the saying goes.  It can be our best friend, or our worst enemy, when it comes to pursuing financial independence as we work our way out of debt and into wealth.

Of course this message applies to other goals too, whether they be health related, career related, relationship related or whatever other goals we hope to achieve.  Here are some of the messages that we believe that can do great harm to the goals we set for ourselves.

Lie #1: It’s not my Fault, Therefore I Shouldn’t have to Fix it

 

I used to feel this way about my emotional state. My parents divorced when I was 11, and it sent my world into a circle of poverty and loneliness. All three of us kids missed dad terribly, and mom too, as she left home to go and work full time. Her menial wage and dad’s child support payment weren’t nearly enough to pay for the support of a family of four, and we struggled terribly to make ends meet.

To say it quite bluntly, I was pissed. Mad at the world. And subsequently, I would spend the next decade and more making terrible decisions, monetarily and otherwise. In my heart of hearts, I knew I was making bad decisions, but my mindset was:

I’m angry and I’m hurt. You’ve (as in, my parents) ruined my life, and I’m going to make damn sure you know it by my destructive and irresponsible behavior. 

Now, obviously I wasn’t saying this in my “outside” voice, but inside, every time my heart convicted me of these bad decisions, my psychological response was:

It’s not my fault, it’s their fault. Go talk to them.

In this, I refused to take responsibility for my situation or the problems resulting from it. I deserved to buy new things I couldn’t afford because of the pain of my parents’ divorce. I deserved to have all of the stuff I didn’t get as a child, blah, blah, blah.

The truth: While, in theory, the original cause of my behavior may have been my parents’ actions, I came to realize that this did not excuse my irresponsible behavior. More than that, I certainly wasn’t doing myself any good, was I? Instead, I was enhancing the bad things in my life instead of stepping up and rejecting them.

Regardless of whose fault it was that I was suffering emotional pain, I was the one that chose to deal with my pain via spending money,  and the truth is that I now have it within my power to change things for the better, and as an adult, that is my responsibility.

Lie #2: It is my fault, but the Job is too Big for me to Handle, so why even try? 

 

I guess we would call this “hopelessness.” Hopelessness is a danger because it assumes things will never get better, no matter what actions we take or don’t take.  Rick and I “tried” to budget and spend track a good four or five times before our successful attempt that started at the beginning of this year, but we would always fail after a few short days.

Why?

We had no hope. The job was “too big” in our minds, and therefore there was no use in trying.

The truth: The truth, though, is that with enough perseverance, the job can indeed get done. No, it may not be easy, or be finished as quickly as you like it, but it can be done if you choose to stay the course for the long haul.

Lie #3: I’d much Rather live in the now, Thank you very Much

 

The dangerous message here is the one that says “I know what I’m doing, I know it’s not good, but I’m going to do it anyway, because I want to.” This is the equivalent of a two-year-old having a tantrum, except that as an adult, this attitude has much greater consequences.

The truth: The choice to behave irresponsibly where money is concerned, and doing it willingly and knowingly, can devastate your future and your family’s future as well if you have a spouse and/or children. You might lose your house, destroy your family because of the financial stress, or make your children feel obligated to support you in your golden years because you refused to take steps to behave responsibly financially during your younger adult years. A selfish attitude like the one above can damage your life in so many ways, and the lives of those who love you as well. Do what’s truly best for your present and your future, instead of weakly giving in to instant gratification.

There are all kinds of lies floating around in our world that will keep us from living the best life we can live, but you do have the power within yourself to search out, and act on the truth; the truth that will set you free from the lies that have held you down for so long.  Go for it!

 

What incorrect message have you been believing that’s kept you from accomplishing a goal? How are you/did you overcome that wrong message?

 

 

Photo courtesy of: David Sawford

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Laurie is a wife, mother to 4, and homesteader who blogs about personal finance, self-sufficiency and life in general over at The Frugal Farmer. Part witty, part introspective and part silly, her goal in blogging is to help others find their way to financial freedom, and to a simpler, more peaceful life.

45 Comments

  • Mark Ross says:

    The first one is the one I used to believe before but I thought it’s wrong to think that one. We all make mistakes but it’s not good to let others do it alone, sometimes you have to help them if you’re not the one who made it. The good thing about this is that they may help you out too when you have problems of your own.

  • Matt Becker says:

    I think that whether something is your fault or not is irrelevant. No matter how you got there, you have to look at it as your responsibility to change it or nothing else will get done. My problem is believing that people won’t value what I want to offer. When I give into that, I don’t even give myself a chance to be proven wrong.

    • I completely agree, Matt! And I’ve fallen subject to that same lie of people not valuing what I have to offer. It takes a lot of work to remember that rejection is not about you or your value, but most often about the client not having a need for your service at that time.

  • Another one: I will take care of that tomorrow. There’s just too much I have to take care of now.

  • E.M. says:

    Nice post Laurie, I liked how you added in a bit of introspection. I think it’s important that we always look deeper into ongoing issues to see where the real problem lies. I have definitely procrastinated one too many times in my life. “Tomorrow is another day” can be true and untrue – tomorrow is what you make it, but you can’t just expect that things will magically get better.

  • I think one thing that has really affected people, and myself personally, is some of the negativity that was spoken into my life. I was discussing this very topic this weekend with a friend’s Dad and it’s so true that there are people who are going to discourage you, tell you your ideas are stupid, question how you are living your life, etc. It’s important, but very difficult, to not let their opinions affect you.

    • SO true, DC! And I think that letting those negative comments influence whether or not we try or do something can be such a sad thing, because it can keep us from accomplishing great things. Thanks for sharing a powerful truth, DC!

  • People tend to throw their hands into the air and give up too easily. No matter what situation you are in, and however helpless you feel, there is ALWAYS one more thing you can to to improve the situation you find yourself in. Resilience is something that we all have but something we dont recognise the strength of

  • Romona @Monasez says:

    I definitely think lie #3. Some days I made bad decision with my finances and I knew it and just didn’t care.

  • I’ve seen the danger of blaming other people for your own shortcomings and it is a scary sight. Learning and embracing that I chose my own reaction and I create my own success (or not) has been huge.

  • Negativity and, as you put it, “hopelessness” is a significant factor in most failures I believe. Being able to achieve success requires a positive attitude and keeping hope that you are going to be successful!

  • Another fabulous post, Laurie! The lies we tell ourselves and believe are so dangerous and all of us do it. My parents divorced when I was young and it was a huge change financially and emotionally so I understand what you went through. We live in a very YOLO world and it does worry me that so many young people are being hammered with this kind of mindset. There is a balance that needs to be struck where you do live and enjoy life as you move through it but you do it responsibly.

    • Shannon, you’ve hit the nail on the head. This balance is what it seems we’ve lost. People are so eager to live now that they throw all caution to the wind where their financial lives are concerned. Great comment, my friend!

  • Nancy says:

    WOW! I have so been there. Angry…angry….angry. Angry at a partner who left me with a house that I couldn’t afford to make payments on and a new business that hadn’t reached the break-even point yet. There were so many days that throwing in the towel seemed like the best thing to do.

    It has taken 6 years of budgeting, finding creative ways to save money, and selling any stuff that I could legally get my hands on to dig out of the hole I was in. I have faced all three lies over and over again and have had to dig deep to find the truths. But as they say…the truth will set you free.

    Thanks for this insightful post to remind me that it is better to live by the truths in your life.

    • Laurie says:

      Nancy, thanks for sharing a powerful story! Your victory is proof that no matter how bad the situation is, there is a way out. Great job on overcoming some tough circumstances!

  • krantcents says:

    I guess I live my life differently! I grew u p that there were no excuses and you have to take responsibility for what you do and don’t do. Blaming others is a cop out!

    • You’re lucky, krantcents! Somewhere along the way you were taught right real young, I’m guessing? Your philosophy is the exact one we’re teaching our children – there will be no excuses for them! We love ’em too much to make that mistake with them.

  • Mine is that I tend to think I can start saving more tomorrow. But the problem is that something will always come up that is more important or so it seems!

  • I’m really struggling with the living in the now thingie because there is a dark side of me that wants to ignore saving and budgeting and instead throw away the money on things. Things that I think make me happy right now, like getting a new pair of shoes, although I have enough, or getting a new gadget or app or something. It’s difficult to hold it, but I have a five year plan which is pretty ambitious so I always have to remind myself of the plan in order to ignore the lie I’m about to believe: that I can spend now and I will surely make more in the future, save more and therefore not even feel that I spent on useless illusions now 🙂

    • Reminding yourself of your plan is a great tip, C. I think it really serves to put goals at the forefront and keep from spending on impulse purchases. It’s so easy, otherwise, to just pretend that those goals don’t exist, otherwise, and trade them for that instant gratification type reward, isn’t it?

  • #3 was definitely something I used to follow regarding money. I had that YOLO mentality before it even had a name. Money came in easy and went out just as easy when I could’ve been paying down my student loans. An epiphany came in my late 20s so hopefully it’s not too late to right the ship, but I’ve been making great progress and stopped lying to myself that I had a lot of money.

  • The biggest lie most people give room in their mind to is that money is evil, or pursuing wealth is bad.

    Money is great. Money is society’s feedback on how much it values your time and effort. Money is freedom to pursue what matters most to you rather than being a slave to the desires of someone else with the money you need to survive.

    People say “money is the root of all evil”. No. The actual quote (depending on your Bible) is “Love of money is a root of all kinds of evil.” Money is a tool, and a powerful one, to be used wisely and well.

    The sooner people can come to terms with their mindset around money, and all the negative beliefs they have about it, the sooner they can attain power of their money and become wealthy, and free.

  • I don’t know why, but this makes me think of my work. While I love my job, there are a lot of things that don’t go right because of poor communication, a desire to only just do enough to not get fired, and the inability to ever take blame. I see that a lot around different departments at my profession and it only makes me less motivated to do my job properly.

    I can see how this could easily make someone in debt not want to move on!

  • Love this. I think a lot of it comes down to attitude. We can be put in bad situations, but the way we look at them and handle them determines our character. (Character is a fluid aspect of ourselves: it can be changed as time goes on and we choose to change ourselves.) Conversely, we can choose to put ourselves in bad situations, or we can choose to sacrifice a little for our own good long-term. We can be miserable about that or take joy in our own responsibility and future.

  • Catherine says:

    ”Everyone has debt”.

    Justifying my own debt by my assumption of others!

  • I think we tell ourselves the most lies. I try to keep it under wraps – I mean, who wants to lie to themselves and get sucked into a vortex of self pity? It’s dangerous. But I think we all fall into this trap sometimes. I also agree with Catherine above – so many people justify poor financial decisions and debt by lying to themselves (or, accepting something as a way of life).

  • MoneyAhoy says:

    Because it hasn’t worked before it won’t work again. I hate that saying. There are so many things that change over time that it is always a good idea to go back and try something that failed in a slightly different way. You may be able to pivot to something slightly different that will work like a charm!

  • One of the most influential books I have read about life had almost nothing to do with life. It was about technical analysis. The author spent the entire first chapter explaining how trading is a bit like being in AA. It’s a mindset. Those who choose to lie to themselves will not get very far and will fail pretty fast.

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