When the Bottom Falls Out
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We all would love it if life would go the way we would like it to, wouldn’t we? We would all like a a road that is easy and free from roadblocks, obstacles, and detours, however, this is not the case. Reality has a way of creeping in and doing everything it can to steal our joy, to steal our sense of security, and to steal our faith and hope. From a financial standpoint, there is nothing worse than standing on the verge of collapse. With this in mind, what do we do when the bottom falls out?
While there is no way to solve things that are so variable, I can speak about how important it is to keep control of our minds, our emotions, and our behavior during this sort of time.
Generally, in the case of a layoff, a job loss, or some unexpected larger expense that needs to be paid for in an urgent way, there is not going to be a quick solution. Any kind of solution will be long in coming, and again speaking from experience, these long journeys are often painfully long and hard. A simple day can feel like an eternity.
If you or someone you love finds this to be a reality, here are some things I found to be helpful when the bottom falls out.
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Process the emotion
Don’t stuff the emotion. Don’t pretend the emotions aren’t there. Don’t assume that you can just start working towards a solution without first allowing yourself to feel frustrated, angry, hurt, overwhelmed, or even panicked. I have found that trying to put on a strong front initially only means that you’ll come crashing down later. Identify the emotion(s), feel them, respond to them, let out the tears, let out the screams of frustration. Process through the emotion first, then you can move on.
Set a longterm goal
When something like this happens, the feelings of overwhelm often make it impossible to see past the immediate need. We can’t see past the immediate problem that often has no immediate solution. We get so lost in where we are right now. For this reason, I say set a longterm goal. Where could you be in six months? How will life be better a year from now? Maybe your goal could be that in six months you will have found a new job or maybe you would have received a tax refund that will allow you to pay that medical bill. Decide on something that could be a real possibility that gives you a sense of relief in the here and now. Then, take one step toward accomplishing that goal. Fill out one job application, for instance.
Choose your company wisely
Sometimes it can be hard to confide in those who paint you a rosy picture and a simple-minded solution that just isn’t relevant right now. It can also be hard to confide in those who only want to compare your situation to how their life is difficult right now. The last thing that is helpful is to look to others for support or a solution only to have them “one-up” your problem in some way. In my experience, this is beyond frustrating at this time.
You’ve processed the emotions, you’ve had time to allow the initial shock wear off, and you may have received some support and beneficial encouragement from others. Now, get in there and fight. Don’t let this problem take you down. Pull yourself by the bootstraps and start fighting to get yourself out of this place.
Grow a thick skin
The truth is, people will say things, whether intentionally or unintentionally, that will hurt you during this time. People can be so insensitive, never really meaning to be, but there will be plenty times when something will be said that will hurt you deeply. Grow a thick skin. Prepare for these things, and then when they happen you can let these things roll off your back. Don’t take hurtful comments to heart. Almost always, these are not intended to be hurtful, you are just in a valley, and this makes everything magnified. Expect it, don’t internalize it.
Be inspired by someone
Find an overcomer. Find the story of others who didn’t take things lying down. You could find someone in real life or you can find someone in a book or in something you read online. How have others gotten through trying times? Be strengthened through the strength of those who have gone before you whether through financial hardship or through another trial of some kind.
Be open to learning new things. Be open to looking at things a different way. Be willing to learn from others and to to finding solutions that may not be ideal, but that end up being solutions that you can live with. Keep an open mind and an open spirit.
In all reality, you may need to try, try again during this time. You may need to try something and then try something different. You may need to be more adaptable than you have ever been in your life. You need to be willing to accept reality and to live within it, like it or not.
Track your accomplishments
I think there has never been a time when it was more important for me to note my accomplishments than it was when the bottom fell out. Baby steps, little bits of progress, small improvements are all so vital to recognize and then write down. With a list of “wins,” and you can go back and read them later when you’re having a bad day. You are doing great things even during this time. Track them but then write them down.
Would you believe me if I were to tell you that inspiring others does more good for you than it does for them? This is 100 percent true. Inspire others even though you feel like you’ve got nothing to offer. Encourage others. Come alongside others. Be there for someone else. In doing so, you are strengthening yourself.
Of course no one like to think about the bottom falling out, and it always seems as though these sorts of things happen to others, but not to us. But, what to do when it actually does?
Gather your courage, and then work through these 10 steps just one at a time. It will get better, it really will.