This is what the lady ahead of me at the check out line at Walmart said the other day. She was unloading a cart full of toys and went on to say she had two kids and their birthday’s were coming up. Her posture confirmed her words, she seemed defeated….broke. She seemed guilty knowing she couldn’t afford all that she was buying by the way she was “justifying” her actions and telling complete strangers “I”m broke, but my kids are happy.”
The toys were for kids in the age range of three to five, and I have to admit I felt sad for her as she paid with a credit card. It was as if she was using her last bit of credit limit to portray to her kids “all is ok” and here is more stuff to prove it.
So much ran through my mind. As I watched her, I wanted to reach out and offer advice on how to not to be broke. How to stop the cycle of paying with money she didn’t have. I wanted so bad to show her there was a way out from under all that stress, but of course the situation and timing was not right…she was through the line and on her way.
How many times have you had that same thought process of “I’m broke” but feel like you have to keep paying out money you don’t have to “keep someone happy”?
I once knew a man who was broke, he was divorced and had a son. He gave his son anything and everything. Video games, two new cars, all kinds of “stuff” which kept the father broke and the son lacking in what he really needed….quality time with his Dad.
So often I talk to people who are in debt, who justify staying in debt because they “have” to buy more “stuff” for someone. Not realizing, that many times the one thing your loved one wants and needs most, is quality time with you. Quality time that is free to give, but many times the hardest to give.
Why is quality time so hard to freely give to your loved ones? Why is it so much easier to go to the store, buy some stuff and hand it over, smile and be on your way while your loved one plays with their new stuff?
Is it because you have been to per-occupied with yourself?
We, as a society, seem to have become desensitized to emotional intimacy with family and loved ones. We have become focused on anything that takes us away from talking to one another, to learning about each other. We have become afraid of listening if that listening involves anything but “happy thoughts and feelings.” So what do we do? We distances ourselves with stuff. Many times that stuff keeps us further and further away from building deep bonds with people. Video games, TV’s, internet, movie tickets, toys and the like are numbing our brains and emotional senses, not only are we becoming financial bankrupt, but emotionally bankrupt as well.
All this stuff, keeps us in debt as well as keeps us from knowing those around us. We feel guilt for buying (because we can’t afford it) and we feel guilt from not buying, because we don’t really want to give what is needed, which is a part of yourself.
Getting out of debt has more benefits than just not owing someone else money, it provides you the ability to give of yourself by not buying stuff. It opens up the possibility of becoming more creative of how to give of yourself, rather than spending money.
Giving of yourself is far more difficult than spending money, it is also far more rewarding, both in the short term and the long term.
Think about it…and take the risk – give a part of you to someone rather than buying something at a store. You just might find the reward is two fold. You will save money but more importantly, you will receive so much back from the person you spend quality time with, you will receive love and true appreciation. That is priceless.