So what is this conversation’s subject? Well, it’s mainly about shame and how to unlearn much of what we have learned through social cues that stop us in our tracks, or paralyze us so much that we can’t move forward. Have you been unemployed? Gone through foreclosure? Bankruptcy? Divorce? Coming out to your family and friends? The list goes on…
If you have experienced any of life’s challenges listed above, you’re sure to have encountered judgements and statements that, when analyzed, clearly have a negative connotation to them. Here are just a few:
- People who are unemployed are just lazy. They only need to apply for jobs and they’d have one!
- Filing for bankruptcy is for losers and those who mooch off the system!
- I can’t believe all those people who don’t pay their mortgage payment! What? Do they think they should live for free?!
- Well, people shouldn’t get divorced. Divorce means they didn’t work hard enough on their marriage.
So what do I know about this? What makes me an expert? Well, like many of you, I’ve become a poster child for the Great Recession. Despite my Master of Arts degree, over 10 years of work experience, bilingual speaking abilities (French/English) and many more talents, I lost my job in January 2009. At the time, I had a credit score in the mid 800s, very low credit card debt and more than $10,000 in savings. What happened next was something I never expected at the age of 32.
I would spend 22 months unemployed, having sent out hundreds of resumes, attending networking events, career fairs and the like. I would lose my condo to foreclosure and consequently file for bankruptcy. If that wasn’t enough, after landing a great job, the company hit financial troubles 6 short months after my arrival and I would lose my job again!
During this round, I faced an IRS audit and a huge debacle with the State unemployment office that put me on the hook for thousands of dollars, despite THEIR errors! Indeed, this recession has been “great” and caused much depression for many.
Through it, however, I found patches of hope, happiness and harmony.
So, this blog will chronicle some of the adversity I faced. It will also be a place I post and discuss interesting topics surrounding shame and how we, as Americans, view ourselves as a result of what we are ‘taught’ by our culture. It will also be a place to talk about how to reframe that shame. The judgements and opinions of others will never go away; it’s embedded in our culture, but we can find ways to over come them and move forward with peace in ourselves.
Let the discussion begin…