If you’re in debt, read this...

Do you have debt? I’m guessing if you’re reading this the answer is probably yes. I do - I’ve had it since I was 21. I am part of the generation that was sold credit as the answer to everything and home ownership as an ultimate goal in life (made possible only by debt for most of us).


Some people look at their debt and feel ashamed. The shame can shut down the resourcefulness required to find repayment solutions and trigger a lot of fear. Other people see their debt as a means to an end - a tool and a necessity but nothing shameful. And some people borrow - from banks, friends, parents - and don’t think twice about it. Maybe don’t even repay it. So, while many of us might have debt, we can all experience it differently, depending on the money mindset we have.

Money mindset matters

If you have any struggles with money the likelihood is that this is down to your money mindset. Although this is quite a new buzzword, it’s not a new concept. And it works in the same way that any other kind of mindset magic does - what you believe tends to manifest itself. If you think money comes easily to you, it will, and if you fundamentally believe money is hard to come by then it will be.

This isn’t woo-woo but neuroscience. The Reticular Activating System is the part of the brain that makes it happen because it filters out anything that doesn’t match up with your core beliefs. So, it might stop you seeing easy and fun opportunities to make money, for example, because you believe earning money will always be a struggle.

A mindset shift won’t magically bring you abundance but it will plug your brain into different ways of doing things, release the paralysing emotion of shame and give you the confidence to make bolder choices that could create financial ease without struggle.

Debt is nothing to be ashamed of

In 2022, the average personal debt (not including mortgages) was around £33,000 in the UK. So, debt is a lot more common than you might think. Average debt today equates to around 107% of average earnings. There are plenty of scary stories about debt in the news but the side of debt we don’t talk about quite so much is the role that it plays in the economy and society at every level, not just for those on low incomes who are struggling.

The billions that the British economy borrows, for example, or the millions that are loaned from one wealthy acquaintance to another (BBC chairman Richard Sharp arranged an £800,000 loan for Boris Johnson just to ‘top up his income’), the fact that sometimes simply being born into money (i.e. random chance) is one of the most influential factors in whether or not you end up in debt. And that’s before you even consider the stock market - which is literally built on gambling with, among other things, debt.

My message is: if you have debts, if you are struggling with debt, you don’t need to feel ashamed. Let’s just stop being so hard on ourselves. There is nothing wrong with you, and there is probably nothing wrong with your financial choices - and even if you’d like to do things differently, shaming yourself and feeling embarrassed and guilty isn’t going to help. 

No more self-shaming around debt

Part of being more resilient is giving yourself the freedom to move beyond self-shaming. To release the very real fears that come with something like debt and to stop punishing yourself. Even if you borrowed a load of money and blew it on something absolutely pointless that you now regret, being hard on yourself now isn’t going to give you the energy and self-belief to change things.

And that’s what this is all about - throwing off any negative self-image and beliefs around debt so that you can start to see yourself as someone able to be debt-free. Because when we plug that image into the mind - really start to believe it - then it becomes possible to see solutions that we previously missed, to move forward instead of feeling shut down and paralysed by fear, and to take the kind of action that really makes a difference.

The basis of resilience coaching is changing how we see ourselves and the world to a more resilient perspective. So, let’s start with that self-image and those beliefs - and the mindset that you hold them in. Try using the reframes below to shift how you think about your debt and who you are with it. That might be all you need to do to start seeing practical solutions where before there appeared to be none - at the very least it will help to improve self-esteem.

Swap: I’m ashamed of my debt. For: debt is a tool, not a sign of failure. 

Swap: I’ll never be debt free. For: I am learning to manage my money and make positive steps toward my financial future.

Swap: Debt makes me feel afraid. For: I am capable and this is figure out-able.

Swap: I need to be debt-free to be worthy of respect and taken seriously. For: Money is not a sign of self-worth, I am already worthy.

Swap: I never have money. For: My current financial situation is not my permanent financial situation.

Swap: Making money is hard. For: Making money can be fun and surprisingly easy.

The process of any kind of change begins with believing you can do it. Even if there is no proof of that yet (you haven't done it before so why would there be?) and even if you’re filled with anxiety and uncertainty about where you are right now. This kind of mindset shift is something we can achieve in coaching, alongside identifying a set of tools and habits that will help you to move forward from wherever you are right now.

You aren’t defined by anything that you have done up to now - including being in debt. And it doesn’t need to be something that you hurt and shame yourself with emotionally going forward either.

The views expressed in this article are those of the author. All articles published on Life Coach Directory are reviewed by our editorial team.

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Winchester, Hampshire, SO23
Written by Alex Pett
Winchester, Hampshire, SO23

Alex is an ICF trained and NLP cert coach focused on helping people to deepen their resources to adapt and bounce back - and go on to thrive. She works with resilience to help clients build confidence, recover from burnout, be assertive, set boundaries, find joy and move beyond limiting beliefs. Clients achieve tangible change in 6-9 sessions.

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