One of the nuisances to face during my journey to pay off student loan debt is the distraction of social media. I see things I wish I had now and can’t help but compare myself to others who do have them. I want them all; high tech gadgets, a luxe wedding, a brand new home. The downside of being exposed to this repeatedly is that we become tempted to veer from our own paths.
Here’s what social media won’t tell you.
1. Instant gratification comes with consequences
Scroll endlessly through photos of beautifully presented products. If you like what you see, click the link to the purchasing page. Enter your credit card info and you’ll have it within days. Want it by tomorrow? That’s easy, just pay a bit extra!
It’s magical isn’t it? No longer are the days of having to go from store to store to find what you need. Then you come across another temptation with shopping online: “Spend $75 more and get free shipping.” The next thing you know, you spent $75 more than what you planned for. Your spending habit continues and you consistently exceed your budget.
In 2006 I was lured into the trap of student loans. The thought of it seemed promising. Go to any school no matter the price, the loan will take care of it. Paying it off later instead of working for it now is a common thought process for college students.
The gut wrenching idea is that a financially naive 18 year old (the old me) can take out thousands of dollars in loans yet can’t even rent a car. I’m now feeling the aftereffects of student loan debt. Not only do I pay principle balance, but also on the added interest. The anxiety from the debt even contributed to a Quarter-Life Crisis. But hey, I graduated without having to overwork myself right?
2. Looking good will not always make you feel good
With the emergence of new fad diets, fit teas, and booty workouts comes the belief of looking good to feel good. While I do believe there is truth to this idea, there’s an important part that is often neglected: How are you feeling internally?
We’re faced with a myriad of emotions daily; happiness, sadness, anger, excitedness, regret, thankfulness, loneliness, etc. Displaying our “negative” emotion is perceived as weakness. We don’t talk about feeling sad, lonely, etc. in order to maintain a facade of being emotionally strong and badass. Read about how my stress levels affected me here.
What we don’t realize is that if we don’t address our emotions, we create habits with effects just as negative: bitterness, negativity, skepticism, narcissism, insecurity. When I suppress my emotions, I find that I become negative and overall moody. Over time I’ve realized that when I’m feeling some type of way, I have to talk about why it made me feel some way in order to properly deal with the emotion and move on.
I’ve always considered myself an emotional person. I’m also afraid of being misunderstood when I talk about my feelings. Identify your tribe; the people who understand you, your emotions, who you are, what you stand for, and how you function. They will be the people who’ll listen to you, support you, and not judge you for it. Vent to your people and continue with your unbothered self!
3. Having a positive attitude is not enough
Instagram accounts/blogs with positive quotes and thought provoking topics are my fav! I find myself liking and agreeing with these posts. Sometimes I jump in on the comments to discuss. After doing this for some time I thought to myself, even if I’m committed to having a positive attitude, what am I doing to reflect this in my daily actions?
I had the mindset that I was capable of becoming more responsible with my finances. Sure, these thoughts lived in my head, but I did nothing to bring this goal into fruition.
Going out every weekend, buying unnecessary things, and not budgeting were the negative habits I needed to get rid of in order to make room for positive habits. Read about how I plan to get out of debt here.
Having a positive attitude without positive action is the same as not having a positive attitude at all.
Mind ya bidness
When I’m scrolling through the media I remind myself of my goal: to be free of student loan debt and encourage others through their debt payoff journey. I’m far from my destination, but learning so much on the way! I will attain these things one day, but as of now they don’t fit into my goals.
Despite what other people are doing or buying never let it make you question yourself. Remind yourself: is this a want or a need? Is what I’m doing aligning with my own goals?
Let’s support each others’ goals, stay in our own lane, and keep it pushin’.1