By Ken Honda
When you’ve lost your job, can’t pay this month’s rent, or can’t afford food for your family, the message of how to find peace with your money can feel like trying to put out a house fire by sitting at the kitchen table searching for a how-to guide on Google while everything burns down around you.
Before you can reframe your belief structures about money, which is critically essential but less urgent than solving the real-time emergency, you have to address the issue that is currently burning down your house.
You may think that the most urgent issue is not having money, but the thing that’s really throwing gasoline on this fire is your panic and fear of not seeing any alternatives or ways out.
The truth is that although you cannot perceive them at the moment, there are many opportunities for help that exist around you. Your panic acts like a blindfold that narrows your focus down to almost nothing. In the heat of the moment, we truly believe that there are no opportunities or solutions available because we can’t see them.
Here is my advice for when you feel like you’re facing a serious crisis and see no way out.
First, to take off the blindfold requires a deep breath. To open up your field of perception to opportunities for help, you’ve got to find a small place of calm and know deep inside that you will be all right.
The belief that no opportunities exist is just that – a belief. If you look for proof that it’s true, that is exactly what you will find. Instead, focus on the positive, reassuring hope that there are solutions out there, and begin to open yourself up for guidance and possibilities you haven’t thought of yet.
Second, make a list of things you think you could do, no matter how big or small, feasible or not. Close your eyes and think of as many items to add to this list as possible. Not one or two things, but twenty or thirty. If you need to, you can search online for examples of people who have overcome similar challenges and find out how they did it. Add those things to your list.
Then, starting with the most easily, immediately achievable items, begin to take action one after another. The simple act of taking action gives you back a sense of control that you lost, and this will help you feel calm, too.
Third, ask for help. Be humble enough to open up and ask for help from your friends, family, neighbors, work acquaintances – anyone and everyone you can think of. Sometimes people are able to offer you support in the form of money, but oftentimes they might be able to shine a light on your troubles and offer advice that you hadn’t thought of before during the previous step.
When things have begun to simmer down and the flames don’t feel as hot anymore, another thing you can do is give. Giving is a superpower that takes the narrow focus off of yourself and opens up your vision to the people around you who might also need help. It connects you with others and eases the fear and anxiety that can build up inside when all you can think about is yourself. Giving time, care, communication, and physical help are just a few of the things you can give besides money.
When you think you don’t have anything to give, that means you’re still in a state of panic and negative thinking that stimulates the fire instead of putting it out. Build some self-confidence that you can in fact get out of this emergency, take a deep breath, and open up your vision to all the opportunities for help. The fire will eventually go out on its own, but taking action in your own way with some of the steps above will help put it out much faster and get you back to a place of mental, emotional, and financial health.