I have a dark financial past. I didn’t set out to ruin my life. In fact, I truly believed I was improving things for myself and my family. I used all the credit I could get my hands on to create a lifestyle we so richly deserved.
When everything began to spin out of control, I tried to stop using credit cards to spend money we didn’t have. I tried to fit into a budget. But all of that spelled just one thing for me: Deprivation.
I felt like I was being punished the same way that a prisoner is deprived of freedom and personal choice. I tried to reform but my feelings were much stronger than my desire to change. A battle raged inside me and my overwhelming feelings won all too often.
The irony was that in making sure I never felt deprived I paved the way for the ultimate deprivation–the loss of everything in my life that truly mattered. I get chills recalling just how close we came to complete financial ruin.
I made a startling personal discovery that would come to change my life and make it possible for me to break out of the debt trap. I figured out that deprivation never works. You know that if you’ve ever been on a diet.
You can stick with a rigid program for a while, but eventually you give in. Saying you will never eat chocolate again is a lofty goal but come on, that is not going to happen.
Deprivation does not work in food or in money. But sacrifice does. Sacrifice means to give up something of value right now to achieve something far more worthy in the future. Deprivation means to have a possession or enjoyment taken away. Once I learned the subtle yet startling difference between the two concepts I understood immediately why meaningful change kept eluding me.
Sacrifice—it’s a beautiful concept. Sacrifice focuses on a goal. Deprivation focuses on poor me. Sacrifice lifts my head and lets me see the big picture. Deprivation turns my eyes inward so I see nothing but myself.
There is joy in sacrifice. That’s because I am aware that what I am giving up right now is a temporary thing that will allow me to reach my goal. But that assumes I have a goal—and a plan to reach it.
That’s what this blog and my term debt-proof living are all about.
Every day I try to encourage you in myriad ways to do whatever it takes to get out of debt and live below your means so debt never becomes an issue in the future.
Sacrifice. It really is a beautiful thing.