• Morag McIntosh

Financial Safety

Safety is the second universal need for humans. It feels so critical to make this point: money may not buy happiness but it can buy safety. Especially with everything that is happening around loss of income, families in high stress environments and quarantining in place, safety is of huge concern right now.

If you are reading this and you’ve hit the end of your rope for whatever reason, please, please, please reach out to me. If I can’t help I will bend heaven and earth to find someone who can.

Financial Freedom directly contributes to physical safety. Having sufficient money gives women the ability to leave an abusive situation. It allows you to refuse unsafe work if you have to. It lets you to live in an area that is safe to walk in. I keep saying that we are living in unprecedented times, but in terms of the stressors on families and workers, it’s absolutely true. This is why economic control of women is practiced by so many abusers. Safety in the face of abuse trumps all financial considerations. If you are dealing with abuse, or know someone who is, I urge you to get help right away and deal with the financial considerations later. Here is a web page that helps people locate services.

But Financial Freedom goes beyond physical safety and helps with keeping your mental health safe as well. Anyone, myself included, who is or has been deep in debt can tell you about the middle of the night freak-outs. The 2am anxiety fests where your brain feels like a hamster running flat out on a wheel while getting nowhere. Having money to keep a roof over your head, pay your bills and provide food for you and your family is a huge emotional and mental relief.

So what can you do right now if you aren’t as financially stable as you would like to be?

1) Know your truth.

You have to accept the truth of your situation without judgement. No coulda-shoulda-woulda’s allowed. Knowing your numbers, the good, the bad and the ugly is the best way to really face your fears. You also need to know yourself. What do you honestly believe when it comes to your ability to handle your finances? How is that holding you back? How is it serving you?

2) Accept any and all forms of help.

If you are out of a job (or working far less than you need to to make ends meet), you need to be open to help, whether it’s in the form of government programs, a loan from your family, hand-me downs, or any other offer that comes your way. If you find it hard to accept help, then you may need to do some mental gymnastics to find a way, but it’s critical to your financial future. If you are having trouble accessing the support you need it’s ok to ask for help. Reach out to religious or community groups that you may be a part of. Please reach out to me. I’d love to help.

3) Start taking your control back.

I am a huge proponent of the idea that you can do anything for 15 minutes (except maybe running, but that is just me). It’s my rule that I use to get unstuck when I am really paralysed with anxiety. I actually set a timer and spend 15 minutes tackling the problems that are holding me back. When I was at my financial lowest that meant finding and opening my mail for 15 minutes. It was something I was avoiding like the plague, because I was too scared to face where I was. But that 15 minute session was a huge weight off my back. It was my first step in taking back my control of my journey. So I challenge you to spend 15 minutes tackling the issue you are avoiding right now.

This post has been pretty grim, but not talking about real issues doesn’t move them forward, it just cloaks them in fear and power. I do however promise that the next post tackles a need that speaks to all of the things that make life worth living.

Take care of yourself.

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