I have spoken with many people who are experiencing economic stress and asked how this phenomenon can make them feel. The range of emotions that have been shared with me by people who are experiencing economic stress can begin with shock, disbelief, denial, frustration, anger, shame, guilt and evolve to feelings of helplessness, loneliness, isolation and depression. Each person’s response can be different but a common question that is asked by people who are experiencing economic stress is, “How am I going to live?” This is a very natural question to ask but often, people ignore their feelings about the impact of economic stress on their lives and the lives of their loved ones and focus, exclusively, on “fixing” it.
Of course, you have to feed your family and pay the bills. But, focusing on the “feelings” that can result because of economic stress while you work to “fix” the economic stress in your life will help you to manage it more effectively. Your feelings matter and acknowledging them to yourself, first, and then to another person such as your spouse/partner, a close family member, a true friend or a member of the faith community can help you to take back some of the power that you may have lost as a result of experiencing economic stress.
In my blog, at the beginning of August, I emphasized the importance of “speaking up” about economic stress. This point cannot be overemphasized. But, before you can really speak about it in an authentic way, you have to be willing to acknowledge to yourself that you have been affected by it. The next step is to summon the courage to talk with a person who can provide understanding and good counsel (see the list above). At first, this may not be easy to do but over time, it will become easier, especially if the person that you have selected to speak with validates your feelings but also encourages you to move forward in a positive way. There is no shame here, just an exultation of your humanity. What could be more empowering than that?
I would like to hear from you so please share your thoughts.