I am very familiar with desperate situations.
Some were life threatening, others tried to devastate my family financially and then some threatened to unravel the very fabric of my family unit.
When you’re in desperate situations for prolonged periods of time, you start to adopt permanent behaviors not meant to continue once the “all clear” has been given.
One day in a moment of reflection it dawned on me that I was still making decisions and living my life from a desperate place when my situation wasn’t desperate.
I hadn’t made the shift mentally.
My body had shifted, my situation had turned but my mind responded as though I was still under threat. I was a desperate housewife still living on the edge. I was convinced that I would be toppled by the next gust of wind life blew my direction.
Let me explain.
When you’re in a financial crisis, there is no such thing as disposable income. It’s all about the necessities and even those get juggled. You pay your rent or your mortgage and if you live in the South like I do, you do your best to keep the air conditioning running. You buy food, gas for the car and pray to God that the kids don’t outgrow anything in the immediate future.
So buying things like an extra set of sheets, or replacing towels or bath mats or kitchen utensils is a luxury you don’t even consider.
When the people at the grocery store ask if you want to make a donation to whatever cause their sponsoring that month, “no thank you” comes out of your mouth before they can even finish asking.
But once your finances have righted themselves, once you can loosen that belt and breathe again, you have to reconcile that in your head and heart as well.
One day while I was putting on my makeup in the bathroom, I realized that our bathroom rugs had gotten pretty ratty. I mean they were in bad shape so I threw them out.
It would take me months to replace them.
Because I was still living on the edge mentally even though we weren’t on the edge.
I could have replaced those mats the day I threw them out but I waited because I was fearful. I was convinced that an unexpected gust would send us back into some financial abyss and bathroom rugs weren’t going to send us there . My survival mentality had a hard time disengaging. Meanwhile, we were walking on cold tile floors in the middle of night unnecessarily. Same with towels and sheets…they all needed to be replaced but I didn’t want to spend the money because “you just never know.”
I’m not saying be frivolous or stop being a good steward over your finances.
I am saying that yes, desperate times call for desperate measures but once those desperate times have passed you have to consciously shift your thinking.
I then understood how you can be enslaved to a philosophy or way of thinking even if you’re in a new place. Unless your inner environment changes, you go right back to what’s familiar even if what’s familiar is fear-based.
Today if you find yourself still living in crisis mode and the crisis has cleared, promise yourself, no more decision making from a desperate place. No more living in fear.
#ThisWomanKnows you can make the shift and enjoy life in its present moment.
Lisa N. Alexander is the author and founder of This Woman Knows and What Million-Dollar Brands Know. She is an award-winning filmmaker, director, producer, and writer and is the owner of PrettyWork Creative.