Everyone needs help from time to time. This is not a blog post about never asking for help or never giving help to those who need it. In fact, I encourage people to help when and where they can and I encourage people to ask for help when needed.
After all, my job as a Financial Coach is helping those who ask for it and are ready to receive it.
The problem arises when we spend too much time depending on the help of others; when we take advantage of the help that is offered. There is a difference between enabling and helping.
Let’s pretend that you are in a situation where someone always bails you out, always enables you.
Ugh, that’s hard to think about isn’t it? But you know its happening. You allow it and they give it so what’s the harm, right? Well, what if, one day all that “enabling” help just went away?
What if… The people who give and give and give to you just quit doing it.
What if… The Church you go to for help says they can’t help you anymore.
What if… Family and friends who give you food, shelter, clothes and/or money just got tired of helping you time after time and just stopped?
You don’t think it would happen? What if that one person who was enabling you the most died?
All of those situations mentioned above – I’ve heard about them happening. Some, I’ve seen happen and some I’ve heard directly from clients.
It’s all the same – one day, people were helping them out and then one day all that help was just gone.
The mentality that “someone will always bail me out” irritates me. Again, I’m not against people helping people. I AM against people enabling others. It seems to me that most people don’t stop to think,
“what if no one was there to bail me out anymore?”
And, if you are the person who is always enabling instead of helping, then you are just as much to blame.
I have seen, too often, that its always someone else’s fault for whatever circumstance people find themselves in. I know that you cannot possibly prepare yourself for every single thing that might happen in your life but, on the other hand, most of the issues I see are because people depended too much on others and when that option went away, life just fell apart. Call it tough love or high accountability but at some point, this lesson must be learned –
YOU are responsible for YOU.
You know what? Its YOUR fault for relying too much on other people. Its not really the fault of people helping you. At some point, as an adult, you have got to pull yourself up by the bootstraps and get working on fixing whatever caused you to be in your current state. YOU have to take responsibility for your own life and quit relying so much on other people. Remember, there is a fine line between helping and enabling.
I know from experience that its HARD to deal with issues. I knew for years that we needed to do something to fix our financial situation and I never took any action to make it different. Making more money didn’t help because we never changed our habits. It wasn’t until December of 2009 that I finally hit my own personal “rock bottom” by putting Christmas on credit cards and realized that it just wasn’t right. I had been sucked in by the commercialization of the holiday and forgotten the true meaning of Christmas. We were living paycheck to paycheck, had no money in savings, no plan for retirement and $43,500 in debt, NOT including the mortgage.
Then, we won the lottery paid off all our debt and lived happily ever after. Oh no, wait, a family member died and left us a large inheritance so we paid off all our debt and lived happily ever after. Oh, no, that’s not the way it happened. Let me think and remember –
Oh, that’s right. We learned how to make a change in our financial habits, we made a plan, we followed the plan (note that I say “we” because my husband was included in the process although reluctant at first.) Was it hard? Absolutely! But we had dug our own financial hole and so we worked together on just adding rungs to the ladder and climbed our way right out of that hole. It took almost 4 years. There were many times that we wanted to quit. There were many times that we fought about the budget. But, today, we are debt free except for the mortgage, we have savings and a plan for our retirement.
You know what? I was 36 when I made that decision to change our finances – we called into the Dave Ramsey show on my 40th birthday to do our Debt Free Scream. I had to change over 20 years of bad habits with money in order to have the life I enjoy now.
Our finances were broken and we fixed them. We did it. No one bailed us out, forgave us our loans and we didn’t win the lottery.
Because, you see, all of that would have required us to be dependent on others. And the problem with that is not being able to experience the freedom that comes with knowing you did something all by yourself. Every time I look at our budget and see that the only debt we have left is our mortgage, I am proud of the fact that we did that! We paid off 6 credit cards, 2 vehicle loans and my student loan.
That is a great feeling of self-accomplishment. That is a feeling no one can give you.
It’s time to start depending on YOU. You can do it and if you need help, I will help you.