At one time I was about $30,000 in credit card debt. I shopped and mindlessly charged in what I now realize was a desperate and misguided attempt to fill the emotional holes in my heart. My home was filled with stuff. But, no matter how much I bought, my heart was still empty. I was exhausted from feeling out of control, like a hamster going round and round on a wheel.
It was not easy to admit to myself how far removed I had been from personal responsibility. I ignored my inner knowing and continued to lie to myself that shopping was good therapy. It was embarrassing and shocking to finally own up to the fact that I had been so dishonest with myself. Now I faced a huge financial challenge. Accepting the truth caused such a deep panic I remember falling onto the floor at the sheer impact of my situation. I was immediately filled with fear and worry. I could not imagine how I was going to pay off all the debt.
I took a deep breath, closed my eyes and finally got control of myself. After a few days of living with the raw honesty of a new reality, I figured the only way to be free and to begin healing my heart was to assume full responsibility for what I had created. I tore up all my credit cards and established a payback plan. When the urge to shop hit I took a walk, sat alone outdoors in the natural world, called a friend to catch up, directly addressed the negative thoughts of my past, or went to a local organization and volunteered to help others. With time, these and other self-loving actions steadily took away the need for something outside me to repair my broken heart.
Over several years I did pay off the debt and today I am debt free. Getting free of an irresponsible past was one of the biggest challenges I’ve overcome. It happened when I became completely honest with myself. When I emotionally owned what I had created, instead of mindlessly ignoring what I did, I found the strength to successfully get off the wheel that was taking me nowhere.
Today I am truly grateful for the experience. I know now the holes in my heart could only be repaired with self-love and respect. These are two of the things I found once I had the courage to be honest with myself about being dishonest with myself.
This week look at yourself honestly. Are there aspects of your behavior that you feel are out of control? What actions can you take right now that will stop negative behavior in your life? What actions can you take that will result in building your self-esteem and feelings of personal empowerment?