Editor’s note: This is an updated version of an Everyday Cheapskate column that ran in 2017.
My Dear Readers: These days, it's easy to fall into the muck and mire of worry and defeat. Personal crises like financial emergencies or job loss — or, worse, home loss — punctuated by the daily news can ruin your perspective and dump you into a pit of despair.
What you need to know today is that even when things seem completely hopeless, there's always a way out. That's not to say that you should slip into denial when bad things happen. But good things also happen.
By learning how to control our thoughts and stepping back to see the bigger picture, we can climb out of that pit and into the sunshine of a new day. It's all about learning how to get our perspective back on track.
Feelings Are Fickle
Our feelings cannot be trusted. They send messages to our brains that are not always reliable. Today, your emotions, like mine, may be all over the map. Instead of allowing our feelings to run the show, we need to take control by writing things down in clear, simple sentences. Acknowledge the facts. It is what it is — no better, but no worse either.
Allow Youself To Mourn
The loss is real, so don't deny it. Feel the hurt and the pain, but don't stop there. Keep moving through it. And don't beat yourself up if you need some help. Grief comes in many forms, and you may benefit from a qualified counselor to help you navigate through this period.
The Future Is Better Than You Think
You've hit some bumps in the road. All of us are living through things we never dreamed would knock us off course like this. Even if you feel like you've lost everything, consider it a heartbreaking interruption on your journey. While things appear cloudy right now, you do have a bright future.
Dwell On The Positive
The simple act of gratitude will change your perspective. Compared to about 95% of the people on this earth, you are wealthy and blessed with abundance. You may not have it all, but when you get down to it, you do have enough. You've had a setback or two, but it's not the end of the road. Failure is not the end unless you quit. We can't allow one setback — or even a series of setbacks — to define us.
Don’t Give Up — Never, Ever
No matter what. You know what they say about quitters: They never prosper. Keep putting one foot in front of the other. Lift your head up high. What looks like darkness right now is just a cloud. Behind it, the sun is shining on the bright future!
We've been together for more than 15 years now — meeting up regularly on the pages of your newspapers and magazines. You've become the friends I've not yet met! A quick glance back shows us all the ups and downs we've traveled together. And we've come through, time after time — always better for having learned to do things cheaper, better, faster.
Here we are in another valley, and — I'll admit it — now and then, it does feel more like a bottomless pit. And now it's time, once again, to turn from depending on our feelings. Let's grab hold of what we know to be true. We're going through a very tough time. This won't last — but together, we will!
Mary invites questions, comments and tips at EverydayCheapskate.com, "Ask Mary." This column will answer questions of general interest, but letters cannot be answered individually. Mary Hunt is the founder of www.EverydayCheapskate.com, a lifestyle blog, and the author of the book "Debt-Proof Living."