Living Through Tough Economic Times

By Guest Blogger Dawna Kreis

I’d like to be able to say that our family is among those that have emerged unscathed by the economic hardships being experienced by many these days.   Unfortunately, I cannot.


It has not even been a full year since our family packed up our things and walked away from the house that we’d purchased a couple of years ago.  It was one of the most difficult things we’ve had to do.  Had it not arrived at a time when my husband was preparing to PCS (Permanent Change of Station) with the Army, it might have ended up being a good deal more difficult for our family to contend with.

Now, when I first sat down to write this article, I thought of all the ways I could defend our actions.  I tried to find the “right” words that could possibly convince you, the readers, that we acted as responsibly as we could have in our unique set of circumstances, despite the final outcome.  Ultimately, though, it did no good.  In the end, it did not change anything that has come and gone.  It has only been a waste of my energy.  What I am here to say is… we thankfully survived.

If you’re reading this and find yourself, or someone you love, mired in a similar situation, you may wonder how one gets to be alright with it.  After all, isn’t such a situation the end of life as we all know it?  Just think!  The stigma of losing your home.  Not to mention your credit rating…  Will life ever really be the same???

tough economy

Admittedly, the very same things went through my mind while I was in the middle of it.  I was so overwhelmed at times that I could not think straight.  My survival mechanism had kicked in and was running overtime. It was pretty much a nightmare. Financial crises are about as dark and difficult as it gets.

So, how did I get from that point to where I am now?

It wasn’t, by any definition of the word, easy.  After all, my desire to be “alright” challenged nearly every perspective that I had established and held tightly to since… well… adolescence.  I had to change my way of thinking.  I had to regain some sense of personal power in what I considered to be a powerless situation.  I had to get beyond my fears.

From the time that we are small children, we are shaped and molded by the perspectives of those around us.  We are told what we should seek out of life (ie a good education, a good paying job, a nice house and car, etc)  The American Dream on steroids.

keeping up with the jonses

We are taught that certain attributes or personal circumstances say certain things about the people that have them, almost as though there are scientific facts to back up those perceptions.  Stereotypes.  Often we utilize this socially accepted form of characteristic shorthand to act as judge and jury, viewing situations in a very “black or white” manner, while ignoring any or all evidence that there are shades of gray existing in between.

In addition to all of this, we are taught to “play small,” “go with the flow,”and “do not stir up trouble.”  If we question authority or the way things “are done,” if we speak our minds or perceive things just a bit differently than the “herd,” we are viewed as being “rabble rousers,” “trouble makers,” or “weirdos.”  The fear of being “different” or not being accepted is instilled within each of us at a very young age.

teased for being different

In some instances, fear is a healthy thing.  It is the innate mechanism that seeks to keep us alive.  Where physical danger – or even a “healthy” fear of the consequences should we commit some unlawful act – is concerned, it assists to keep us all safe within society.  There was even a time in human history when it was not safe to be different from the “other villagers.”  To do so could have meant certain death.  Those days, however, are gone from us, and many of our fears do nothing more than keep us chained to conventionality, and still following the herd.

Take for instance, peer pressure, which could also be viewed as our inner need to “keep up with the Joneses.”  Motivated by fear, we come to believe (whether consciously or subconsciously) if we are able to do so, we are perceived by others as being “successful”.  If we are unable to do so, we believe that others see us as being “UN-successful.”  The true problem arises when we begin to adopt these perceptions – be they real or imaginary – as our personal truths.  It is then that we set our personal power into the hands of people who likely matter not one iota to our existence.  What power we have bestowed upon them over OUR lives!

Which brings me back to my situation…

The first step I needed to take toward being alright with it was to take back the power I was giving to others.  Who is to say one cannot still be happy with “less” or without a big fancy car? I had to get beyond my fears and stop allowing others to tell me who I was or what my actions or inactions for that matter, said about me and my family.  Whether there were others who were forming such opinions or not did not matter.  As long as I believed they were, they’d already won half the battle.

Now, I would like to say that I am a wise soul, who navigated this situational maze all by herself.  Unfortunately, I’d be lying if I did.  No, I did A LOT of reading and listening to podcasts from quite a few experts.  Among them were: Guy Finley, Neale Donald Walsh, Esther and Jerry Hicks, Michael Tamura… just to name a few.  What their messages all boiled down to for me was that I’m much more powerful than I was allowing myself to be.  They showed me that I needed to let go of the societal perceptions that I had adopted over the years and determine what was right for me.

So if you, like so many today, are struggling through tough economic times, let me give you a couple of things to ponder. We as individuals need to listen to our intuition – that little bit of divine energy that exists within every one of us – and accept that what is right for us isn’t always what society dictates ought to be right for us.  We need to start thinking for ourselves and stop allowing others (banks, media, Mr and Mrs Jones) to tell us who we are, what we want, and how we want to get there. And remember, when it feels very dark, happiness is the right of each and every individual, living through any life circumstance or situation. It is always a choice.

Thank you.


Dawna Kreis’ blog is a must read, it can be found at Hiccups in Time.  Check it out! She also guest blogs at a new online baby clothes boutique,  My Baby Clothes Boutique which specializes in adorable baby fashion.

Copyright © Dawna Kreis 2010  All rights reserved.


And tell us, are you living through tough economic times? How are you staying afloat? How are you keeping your spirit in-tact? How does one stay positive during crises? Did you learn anything from Dawna’s story?

Happy St. Jean Baptiste to all my Quebec readers today! I have my whole family home today. 😉


  1. Thank you Dawna for your candid blog post. While we have not lost our house we have been going through very rough financial times and it has put a strain on our marriage and happiness. Thank you for making us realize that life goes on and we can still be happy with less. Sometimes its hard to realize.

    1. I wish you and yours luck, AMK! One of the things that I ended up doing while switching perspective was to re-evaluate my priorities. I had to remind myself what is truly important in my life. In the “mundane” part of my life, my family was at the very tip top of my mental list. Finances are important, but nothing is as important to me as my family. I wasn’t about to let financial strains take a toll on my family, especially my marriage because, in the end, it is the foundation that our family is built upon.

      Indeed, it is difficult to realize. ESPECIALLY when you’re in the middle of it…

      My thoughts are with you and yours!

  2. Wow what a post. I think times are tough for many these days. It brings us back to good old fashioned home values and teaches us to be grateful for what we do have. In the end, it can be a very good life lesson I think. Thank you for sharing your story. Rita

  3. Thanks for sharing this; I know some people that have gone through this situation and they did not talk about it, but I am sure that they had some of your same thoughts and feelings. My mom has always stressed the fact that it does not matter where you live or how much money that you have….but, more importantly life is about how you live and making sure that you enjoy the family and friends that enrich your life. I try hard to live my life by this mantra! Thanks for this great post!

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