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