The following is an excerpt from my upcoming book Enough! Break the Shackles of Debt. It offers a snippet into the exploration of the root cause(s) of personal debt.
Peeling the Onion
Travelling back in time may not be an easy or painless task and as the layers are peeled back, the root or, cause and effect of debt enslavement begins to reveal itself, it may even become emotionally frightening. Be prepared that old feelings might well up and that they may cause a sad or angry response. This is not unusual. You may have to take a break to refresh your mind and ask yourself the reason for the strong emotional or negative response.
While others could have been responsible for the initial road to enslavement, you can only hold them responsible for the situation or time you had no say in the matter (but even that is not healthy or constructive). Once we come of age, for example, we carry our own responsibility to change the course of events. The temptation though is to keep shifting blame on others but this ends up being counterproductive and doesn’t get you out of the shackles of debt.
In the worksheet section of Enough! Break the Shackles of Debt, you have an opportunity to actively begin your journey. In the book, I suggest you work with a notebook but you can either do the following on four separate sheets or by drawing four columns on sheets of paper.
1. In your notebook, use a page where you make an inventory of all the people who contributed to your financial bondage.
2. On a separate page, make an inventory of all the events, circumstances, unforeseeable happenings that precipitated or increased your financial burden.
3. Start another page where you list all the people that have wronged you or caused you harm, or where you feel you were unjustly treated.
4. Finally list on a different page all the people you have wronged, harmed or resented up to the present day.
Having completed these steps, which form the foundation for the building blocks to breaking the shackles of debt, carefully re-read the lists and add anything you may have missed or remove what was not really an issue. If you feel your stomach knotting at any moment that is a good sign, it means a particular point or person could be a trigger of something you subconsciously feel uncomfortable with or avoid facing. It could, for instance, be fear of maybe knowing that an action is required. Do not worry about that fear right now but write it down beside the area where the fear or other feeling arose or at the top of that page if it pertains to the entire process of that page. Name the feeling (fear, anger, hate, doubt, etc.)
Now compare the various items on the pages with each other and look to see whether you detect a pattern. Highlight these threads in order to see a fuller pattern forming. Recognizing this or more patterns will be critical in starting the journey to financial freedom.