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Personal ‘overdrafts’ come at a high cost

Photo by Vicki Harris

Photo by Vicki Harris

If when you go to withdraw money from your bank account and receive an “insufficient funds” message, the immediate presumption is that you have not done a good job of managing your account.

Whether it’s a matter of overspending or one of repeated withdrawals without having made any deposits, the outcome is the same.

When this is the case, you cannot spend or otherwise withdraw that which you no longer have available. It is the old “nothing in, nothing out” adage. It is a simple concept at this level, but not so much when it is applied to our lives.

Do you overextend yourself to take care of everything and everyone else without checking in with yourself at all?

When we begin talking about our self-bank account, I think that the concept remains the same as it is for financial banking accounts. When we fail to balance our self-bank account, (saying no sometimes, setting aside personal time for yourself, encouraging yourself, loving yourself), then, it too, is subject to being overdrawn.

Your self-bank account comes with automatic, but optional overdraft protection. Although it is within each of us, we have to choose to use it. It is not designed to transfer more energy, more time, or more of you from one thing to another to cover those times when you have agreed to head one too many committees, to keep your neighbors’ children one day too long, or to cover your co-worker’s shift one time too many. Instead, the overdraft protection is in place to prevent you from even getting to that point.

Sometimes it is about our willingness to take on more than what is reasonable to handle mentally or emotionally, more so than physically. However, at other times, it is about our willingness to allow those around us to make repeated withdrawals from our self-account without any limits, literally rendering ourselves drained.

I know it is just because of our big hearts, but when we are not careful to pay ourselves first, we will begin to feel stressed or even resentful for having being stretched so thin.

Also, we have to require more from the people in our lives to whom we give so much of ourselves. They have to make deposits into our self-bank account, too. Are the people in your life putting back those things you so freely give, or are they freely taking without regard for the reciprocal nature of giving?

I think that many of us are consumed with guilt over the notion that it is better to give than to receive. What a heavy burden to bear. Giving that is disconnected from wisdom can lead to a point of emotional and spiritual exhaustion. Applying wisdom in your giving of yourself will allow you to remain connected to what you need to take care of yourself. This, in turn, keeps your self-bank account balanced and positions you for continued meaningful giving.

You owe it to yourself to manage your self-bank account. Don’t you know that “you” don’t grow on trees?

Be encouraged.

Contact columnist LaTonya Dunn at ln_dunn@yahoo.com.