Life can be hard sometimes. Some people have unbelievably difficult childhoods. And most of us have experienced varying degrees of adult challenges. Regardless of when difficulties occur in your life, it is easy and natural to blame some external cause as the source of our woe. But this is a mistake.
Of course, sometimes things happen that are out of our control. The key is how we respond to those experiences. It is our choice to play the victim or decide to be the hero in our lives.
I suggest you play the hero.
Here are some examples of hardships or bad situations you might experience in your financial life, as well as ways to reframe your thoughts and tackle the challenges like the superhero you are!
Hate your job? Dead end job?
It pains me to hear people routinely complaining about their job. While I want to be a caring friend and good listener, what I really want to do is shake some sense into them. If you don’t like your job (or any circumstance you find yourself in at the moment), examine the facts and consider making a change.
I am NOT advocating impulsive action. But if you are unhappy in your career, start making a plan. Use the energy you expend complaining about your circumstances and redirect it into positive, forward action. What other job options are available in your field? Would you prefer a different field altogether? Start researching other avenues available to you. Then understand what would be involved in making a change.
Maybe you are mostly satisfied with your job, but you recognize it’s a dead end with no potential for growth. The solution is the same: redirect the energy you use to complain about your situation into research and forward momentum.
Lost your job?
It is extremely temping to assign blame elsewhere when you lose your job. When you lose your job, you feel wounded and betrayed, regardless of the circumstances of your dismissal. Pinning the responsibility for your current situation on your former boss is the easiest default.
And yet …
Spend some time looking at the situation both objectively and introspectively. Were you let go because of a downsizing of the company? (Was the situation really from left field? Did you have any inkling that your industry was at risk, that your company was struggling, that your job might be in danger? Should you have been paying closer attention?)
Or perhaps the reason for your dismissal was more personal. Were you dismissed due to lack of skills or inability to do the job? (Again, was this really from left field? Did you know that your job performance was not up to snuff? Did you honestly and truly give your best effort at all times?)
Examining the truth of your dismissal can lead to some valuable insights resulting in a different outcome in the future. And don’t overlook the age-old expression that things happen for a reason. If you subscribe to that philosophy, move past this low point of your career, since better things may be on the horizon for you.
Income too low?
Perhaps your job is just fine, and you have no intention of changing careers, but you are just not making ends meet or getting ahead with your financial life. What options do you have to take the bull by the horns and generate more income? Have you done the research and know your skills and job position can command a higher salary? Ask for that raise! Could you get a part-time job on the side or start a side-hustle to bring in more income?
Instead of continuing to be frustrated that you don’t have enough income to do the things you want to do, brainstorm how you can bring more income and abundance into your life.
Too much debt?
If your financial life is burdened with too much debt, getting that debt paid off should be a high priority. This is another area where some objective observation and introspection will pay off. How did you get in this predicament? What habits do you need to change to avoid taking on more debt? What sort of plan can you create to dig your way out of your debt situation?
In most cases, you probably only have yourself to blame when it comes to debt. But wait! Your spouse that ran up the credit card balance? Or was it that your children pestered you until you caved in and got them the whatever-the-Jones’-kids-have? Sorry. If your spouse is a spender and won’t listen to your opinion on the matter, get separate credit lines. If you kids are deep in the “I want …” phase, start educating them on needs versus wants and stand your ground.
Take responsibility for your debts and banish them from your life.
Do you have unintended dependents?
When thinking about legitimate financial dependents, spouses and children come to mind. And you may have also chosen to support other family members due to unexpected circumstances, such as a death in your extended family.
The problem isn’t your legitimate dependents. I’m talking about the leeches in your life: leeches of the human variety. In the dictionary, a leech is defined as “a person who extorts profits from or sponges on others.” As a verb, the definition of “leech” is equally eye-opening. To leech is to “habitually exploit or rely on.”
Our financial lives take a serious hit when a leech shows up. For example, that family member who can’t pull his life together and is constantly asking to borrow money. Need another example? How about that friend who doesn’t hesitate to mooch off your financial goodwill at every turn?
Don’t misunderstand. I’m all for helping a friend or family member in genuine need. But there is a fine line between helping and being taken advantage of. There is also a fine line between helping and enabling.
Be generous when you have more than you need, and you feel that your financial assistance will help the person get back on track. But if you are barely making ends meet, how is your financial assistance to others helping the greater good? Going into debt to help someone else out of their financial dilemma will not only negatively impact your finances, but also damage your relationship with that person.
It is fine to help someone. But when helping becomes habitual and it turns into enabling, you are no longer being helpful. Their dependence on your generosity will deter them from moving forward. Instead of loaning or giving someone money, lend them your sympathetic ear. Help them brainstorm ways to pull themselves out of their bad situation.
Then, you have to deal with the inevitable guilt trip. You might feel guilty or feel you are being selfish. Worse yet, the dependent person may push all your guilt buttons.
It’s not an easy thing to deal with but deal with it you must. YOU are responsible for yourself and your legitimate dependents. Period. THEY are responsible for themselves and their dependents. You are not being stingy. You are not being mean. You are taking care of your own life and being generous when you have the means to do so. Do whatever you can to build yourself a bunker against enabling. Persistent requests for handouts that cause you to cave in are not healthy for either party.
Focus on providing help to others in positive, healthy ways that lead them to self-sufficiency.
YOU are responsible for your life
Regardless of the scenarios you are facing, just remember that ultimately YOU are responsible. You cannot control the actions of others. You can only control your reaction and response to those actions. Keep yourself focused on your own path, your own goals, and your own responsibilities. Don’t succumb to someone guilting you with a victim mentality.
And be prepared to encounter some resistance from the people in your life who do succumb to victim mentality.
Situations like these can be very difficult and challenging to face. But standing up for yourself is necessary. Be your own hero.
How are you being responsible for your life, financially and otherwise? What challenges have you experienced? Share below! Or if you want to start a discussion with some like-minded friends, join the free SimpleMoney Community on Facebook to share your ideas!
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