Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Say Sorry and Save Money: How I'm Shedding Emotional Debt in 2008

Unresolved worries and regrets cost me at least $6,500 a year, but saying sorry will help me reduce that debt load and convert worries into dollar signs and personal growth.

Clearly, the high cost of regrets also eats into emotional and physical health, which can create additional financial tolls. What's more, if my subconscious mind is engaged in replaying old reels, I have less energy to devote to the here-and-now. It's not a Ferris wheel that you want to ride.

The remedy: Apologize, make amends, change behavior & move on. That's the formula suggested by business mavens such as Brian Tracy, author of the book: Change Your Thinking, Change Your Life. In that text, Tracy recommends contacting those that you have wronged in the past and simply apologize. Regardless of the response you receive, it's a very liberating process.
"Apologizing can have health benefits such as lower stress levels," according to Maria Neuman, author of the Art of Saying Sorry, an article which appeared in a past issue of Self magazine. She cites a report from the University of Michigan, which linked apologies to improved health. Neuman's article outlined three basic steps for saying sorry:

1. Express regret

2. Take responsibility

3. Be willing -- if possible -- to remedy the situation.
Personally, I subscribe to Brian Tracy's system: He urges phoning or writing someone that you have wronged and just lay it out: For example: I hurt you, I'm sorry... Just that simple. It's just good Karma to say sorry.

From experience, I will testify that it's a difficult process, but it's far harder to carry around a fat purse (or suitcase) of regret. It's also important, Tracy says, to forgive oneself. For me, that's the hardest part. And sometimes, I feel lost in a Grade-B movie of my worst moments.

But letting go of self-directed anger is a crucial step to moving on. On that account, Brian Tracy offers a helpful reminder: Either due to inexperience or immaturity, many of us made errors in the past (financial, professional or personal), that we would not make now. Quite simply: we're not the same person that we were back-in-the-day and we have far more resources to cope with difficult situations.
Sharon Harvey Rosenberg is the author of The Frugal Duchess of South Beach: How to Live Well and Save Money... Anywhere!, which will be published in May of 2008 by DPL Press.
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