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The shame of debt – time to let it go

Dear Lucy: I have this truckload of debt and there is no doubt in my mind that it’s all my fault! I have a job that requires that I look a certain way. I enjoy the dressing up for it, but I don’t like the job itself ...

 Lucy Shaw

Dear Lucy: I have this truckload of debt and there is no doubt in my mind that it’s all my fault! I have a job that requires that I look a certain way. I enjoy the dressing up for it, but I don’t like the job itself or the people I work with. But in this economy where am I going? My life is a roller coaster of working, being unhappy, followed by shopping, then working some more, getting the bills for all the stuff I bought to keep from feeling so unhappy, and then spending the rest of the time being worried about why I did it and how to ever get it paid for. And on top of that I feel so stupid. I know that you and anyone reading this will think I must be crazy. I feel trapped on this roller coaster and want to get off. I just don’t know how. Help!

– CK

Dear CK: Reading your letter made me feel like I was also on a fast moving emotional ride. I admire and respect your honesty. This emotion is exactly why it is so hard to conquer debt by trying to jump to rational, logical steps like creating a budget, starting a savings account or getting a job making more money! I hear the shame, blame, loss of self-respect, fear, worry, frustration, hopelessness, and overall sadness.

When we are in the midst of any one of these emotions, it feels like a useful place to be in the moment. Unfortunately, these are not emotions that help you to focus on attracting what you want. Instead you spend time thinking about defeat and failure and attracting defeat and failure. Imbedded in all of this is the shopping as a drug of choice to ease the pain of all this negativity. But there has to be a place for you to start your turnaround. Remember, anytime we feel pain, it is time to look for an erroneous belief in some form of limitation. Fear and doubt shuts the door to love and freedom!

I have three suggestions. One, stop and breathe! Every time you feel ready to run down the rabbit hole of negative emotions, stop, breathe and focus all of your attention on the present asking yourself if what you are feeling is useful. Two: use your energy and longing to create goals for earning, keeping and appropriately using your money. Third: examine the possibility of having as many bills as possible paid online with automatic withdrawal. This takes the responsibility off of you for physically paying the bills until you can become more disciplined.

About 30 years ago I had a great big bill at Goldsmith’s department store (now Macy’s).  Every time I went to the store to pay my bill I would charge something else. My mother gave me a book of postage stamps and challenged me to mail my payments in! As simplistic and demoralizing as it seemed at the time, it actually worked.

I also urge you to go to my website www.heartworks4u.com. View the videos on debt.  There you will learn a method to handle the emotional aspects that you are feeling. There is nothing Holy about worry, shame or beating yourself up. Forgive the debt that you owe to yourself for having made bad decisions, commit to doing things differently, and do it all one day at a time.

Also consider showing up for my seminar this Saturday, March 31, 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at 4646 Poplar Ave., Suite 201.

Jumping off the roller coaster,


(Check out Lucy Shaw’s website at http://www.heartworks4u.com. You may send your questions to her by U.S. mail to: Heartworks4U, LLC; 4646 Poplar Ave. Ste 201, Memphis, TN 38117 or by e-mail to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .)

(For help with the feelings that get in the way of prayer and peace of mind, get Lucy’s new book, “BE NOT ANXIOUS.” Order it directly from her at 901-907-0260 or go to her web site www.heartworks4u.com.)



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