Tuesday, October 25, 2011

3 Ways to Deal with Tough Times

Times are tough. If you've been paying attention, you know that all of the economic gains of the last decade have gone to the top 1% of the population, leaving 99% of us no better off -- or worse off. You know that half of all workers earn less than about $23,600/year. Small business owners have been hurt more than other workers -- with an average decrease in income in the last few years of about 17%.

This has been hitting home in a number of ways.  Here's one:

Last week, a friend called me, saying she was at the end of her rope and didn't know what to do. Jenny is a talented psychologist in private practice, generally very positive, very together, very upbeat. Her clients think the world of her -- and say so publicly. But her business is down -- her sales are now less than her rent. Jenny, divorced many years ago, is going through her savings, and although she is in no danger of being homeless any time soon, she's terrified.

When I tried to commiserate with her, saying my business was way off, too, she sobbed, "But you have a husband, you own a home -- you have something!"

I had to acknowledge that that was true, and pointed out her close family and many good friends. Jenny has been a good friend to many people, and so many people would be there if she asked. But she won't ask.

"Why not?", I wanted to know.

Well, because many years ago, her mother, a stiff upper lip Brit, told her that, "People don't want to hear your troubles. If you tell them you have problems, they'll abandon you."

As my Dad (an educated man) used to say, "Them as don't ask, don't get." You have to ask for what you need! How else are people supposed to know you need something?

So for Jenny, step one is acknowledging to her friends that she needs help, and asking for what she needs.

99% of us are all in this together. So the next question, whether or not you're in need right now, is: what do you have to share? If you need a place to stay, can you offer services in exchange? Can you cook? clean? garden? If you have an extra room, are you willing to share that? What would you like in exchange?

 We're all in this together -- and the more we can share, the more outside shocks we can all withstand. United we stand...

There's more to it than just sharing, though. Gratitude is hugely important, too, and there are two reasons for this. First, if you are appreciating what is good in your life, you'll have a more positive frame of mind to deal with what is less positive. Second, what you focus on, expands. This is the famed Law of Attraction.

Here's a very partial list of things to be grateful for:

  • food to eat
  • clothes to wear
  • a roof over your head, and the utilities to run the household
  • any and all good relationships
  • good health
  • the ability to get from one place to another
  • having a body, so you can experience the world at this most interesting time
  • the beauty of the earth
  • being connected to the world on the internet 
For a really easy and effective way to be grateful -- and totally not what you'd expect -- click here

To summarize, here are the three ways to deal with tough times:
  1. Ask for what you need
  2. Share what you can
  3. Be grateful for you have

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