I hear a lot of different emotions when I talk with my clients. Money is so connected to most parts of our lives that it is actually very difficult to separate it from how we conduct our lives, and the events that go on in our lives. We work to get money, which we then turn around and spend, both on things that are deeply important to us, and on things that are of almost no importance at all. And sometimes that wheel gets to be going faster and faster, until we feel like we might fly right off.
Because our money lives are so complex, it can start feeling like we are juggling grumpy gerbils (Not that I would ever do something like that!) and we’re just trying to stay ahead of the next disaster, or the next surprise in our lives. And what is one of the biggest contributors to this feeling of overwhelm?
The biggest contributor to feeling overwhelmed, it not knowing the outcomes to a situation will be bad or good, and not knowing what that might look like. So let’s take a look at a semi-fictionalized example:
Jane graduated three years ago, and she has big student loans. She hates the feeling of debt, so she has mostly pushed it out of her mind, but sometimes, the fear comes cropping up. How will she every pay them off? What if she needs help, who can she ask? And most of all, she’s even lost track of how much she has in student loan debt, which spirals the feeling of overwhelm into the stratosphere. It can be hard, but sometimes even the act of finding out how “bad” the bad situation is can calm the emotions. When she finally worked up the nerve to call her loan company, she finds out it is $15,000. Well, that is bad of course, but it could be much worse and now that she knew, she could start putting a plan in place, one that put her in the drivers seat, and will get her out of debt over time. She also told them over the phone that she was getting control of her loans, and is there anything they would recommend she do to get into good standing with the company. They gave her several useful tips that helped calm her even further. Even though she hadn’t paid a single cent since the phone call, she already felt better, because she knew where she stood, and she was ready to create a usable plan.
We have all felt overwhelm in our lives, especially around finances. The most important step to releasing that feeling is to start getting true clarity on your situation. Remember, managing your money is not about guilt and shame for the past. It is about starting from right now, and finding clarity and control. You can do this!