I’m finally sitting back at my desk, at home, after my week long tour of the Northeast U.S., talking to people about the economy, money, credit, and debt. My travels took me from NC through VA, WV, PA, NY, VT, NH, MA, CT, MD.
I traveled through some of the hardest hit counties in the Mid-Atlantic from these difficult economic times and one message rung true in each corner of this part of the country.
If you go back and listen to my interviews I recorded during the trip you will hear one overwhelming message thread through the advice given by people from all different walks and stations of life.
The advice is so simple and if I had followed it when I lived through my money problems and bankruptcy it would have greatly helped me to recover from those difficult days. The secret, and the message is hope. Hope of brighter days and hope that things will improve is the secret that helped many to find the strength to make across the dark and desperate times.
Almost as if a sign from a higher power, as I was sitting in the passenger seat, headed down the highway on the final legs and contemplating what I had learned from this trip, the truck above passed me by with the message you see on it’s back window. The exact message of hope that many had shared with me, “Things are getting better…just hang in there.”
Now this magic and free hope is not a wish that your life as you know it will be unaffected by your money troubles. It is instead an acceptance of your current reality and then an enthusiastic embrace that while tomorrow may be difficult, the days that follow will be better and take you one step closer to a better life.
Everyone I talked to has lived through painful times in their life and yet their advice for you was that hope carried them through. Hope provides energy to make it through today and tomorrow and it positively encourages you to power yourself forward to the better times that will come.
The loudest second bit of advice to share was not to suffer in silence. That it is important to reach out to friends and family and to lean on them for emotional support. The time honored tradition of community provides a scaffolding to prop you up when you are struggling. This community isn’t going to bail you out or make the problems disappear. But a community can help you buoy hope and carry you over the tough times and to shore where you can gain your footing.
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What was also encouraging was that the two most powerful emotional and supporting messages of hope and community and both tools that are totally free and available to you this very instant. You don’t need to buy anything to start applying hope to your situation right now.
But I will admit, it is enormously difficult to flip a switch from feeling hopeless to hopeful. Not everyone can do that in an instant. But if you can remember to hope it can become second nature.
Hope is the knowledge that while today might really suck, better days are ahead. With hope you can live through your darkest days with some excitement because you will know that as bad as today is, a day is coming for you when life will be the exact opposite.
Evoking hope does not have to be a complicated process. It is activated when you can look at your current situation and know that things will get better, you just need to hang in there.
So the message of hope is one that I will try to weave into my help and support that I give to people. And it is a message that I will try to fiercely hang on to the next time I face a hurdle in my life.