All By Myself

When I started with LSS nearly 10 years ago, I was one of a group of satellite offices for my department. Over the years, as funding changed, and the world changed, and our department changed, I find myself flying solo out here as the last satellite office in my department. It takes deliberate intention on both my part and on the part of my coworkers to include me in things that most people take for granted.  For many years, I worked in offices with a lot of people around me, and I longed for solitude.  Now that I have it, I wouldn’t mind a bit of company now and then. And so it goes.

So it is, when we are dealing with financial difficulties. We tend to isolate ourselves, often feeling like we’re the only ones in the world with such troubles. We struggle through, hiding our difficulties from friends and families and often even from those who can help us.

A question nearly every client asks is, “Am I the worst you’ve ever seen?”  And in all but one case, the answer is no. No, you are not the only one who is struggling. No, you are not the only one who has made mistakes.  No, you are not the only one who has asked for help. Even for that client that IS the worst case, I don’t tell them that.  I usually answer that there are plenty of people that have also faced struggles. No, you are not alone.

It’s hard to face up to not only others, but ourselves, and I think that’s why we isolate. We assume everyone else’s life is so much better than ours, that their house is spotless, their checkbook always balances to the penny, and that they have never paid a bill late or worried about their finances.  The fact is a LOT of people struggle with that.  Sometimes they’ve managed their money poorly, sometimes it’s life’s circumstances that have dealt them a bad hand.  Sometimes both.  When we are unprepared financially, those bad hands that we are dealt have a much worse impact.

business-as-trapeze-artistWhen I’m teaching about savings, I like to compare savings to a safety net.  Much like a net for a trapeze artist, it will catch a person before they fall to the ground.  A savings safety net will catch you and prevent you from falling into the hole, or maybe from falling to the bottom.

But even the trapeze artist depends on others to help him be safe.  The circus wranglers that put up those nets are holding the trapeze artist’s safety in their hands. It takes more than one person to set up the rig. It takes the whole team to make it work.

The point I’m trying to make is that we don’t have to go it alone. If you or someone you know is struggling financially, there is help. Even in that very bad, very worst situation, when there are few options, at the very least, people are given an opportunity to share the burden, to know the truth of their situation and to work with their team to find the way out of the jungle.

When I’m feeling out of the loop at work, I have to be brave enough to say so.  I have to tell my team that I’m feeling left out. If I don’t do that, they may think I’m doing okay even when I’m not. We are all in it together.

If you or someone you know needs to build their team to get back on their feet financially, my team and I are here to help. We’ll coach you, cheer you, guide you and help you put up the safety net you need. Contact us at 1-888-258-2227 or at www.lsssd.org to make an appointment.

All you have to do is ask.

Written by Sylvia Selgestad, Financial Counselor and Educator

Photo credit: Freepik.com

LSS Center for Financial Resources
Consumer Credit Counseling Service | Housing Resources | Sharpen Your Financial Focus | Financial Fitness Education
705 East 41st Street, Suite 100 | Sioux Falls SD 57105-6047
605-330-2700 or 888-258-2227
www.LssSD.org
Strengthening Individuals, Families & Communities

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