Posted by fxckfeelings on February 9, 2016Share This Post
If you find yourself going from a higher income bracket to a lower one, you don’t just lose income; you also find yourself changing where you live, whom you socialize with, and how you feel about yourself as person. So don’t allow the lingering humiliation of downward mobility make you feel like a failure. Work hard, not just to climb back up, but to remember what success really is.
Although I know that the best thing to do is to live in the present, I have been reliving and brooding over my past mistakes (mainly professional ones) quite a bit recently. I had a much better financial situation in the past than I do now, what makes it almost impossible not to beat myself up since I keep comparing the “today me” with more successful “past me.” My goal is to be able to start again, fresh, having learned the lessons of such mistakes.
One of the great burdens of good luck, particularly when it affects your economic and social class, is that it becomes part of your identity. If good fortune slides in your mind from something that happens to you to part of you who you are, then incidental misfortune goes from being bad luck to your fault. You went from being a fairly lucky person to a total fucking failure.
That’s why total economic recovery, while an understandable wish, isn’t a reasonable goal; if so much of success is based upon luck, then it’s dangerous to make yourself responsible for outcomes you don’t control. Besides, if you never regain your wealth, you’ll feel like a loser, which will only benefit the financial fortunes of some shrink.
Instead, the goal of your “current you” should be the same as “past you,” which is to work hard, try to make a living, and be a good person. The measure of success isn’t wealth or security; it’s persistence in your efforts to keep trying and your ability to retain your values, even when your luck is bad, your status is low, and the bill collectors are tenacious.
From what you say, you haven’t let bad luck make you do bad things like give up, retreat into addiction, or generally become an asshole. You’ve continued to work hard, even when it’s impossible not to forget what it was like to have more money.
So work hard instead to become a member of the other one percent, which is the club of hard luck survivors who come out of misfortune completely intact. It’s an elite group that deserves more respect than the other one percent, and it looks like you’re on the way to becoming a member in good standing.
It’s hard to have had early success compared to where you are now, but never let good luck or bad luck define you. Work hard because you believe in it, not just to get back on top, but to keep moving forward, period. You may never again make the big bucks at a fancy job, but you’ll never have lost the ability to do good work.
“It may never stop hurting when I compare my current circumstances to my former, more successful position, but I always knew there was lots of bad luck in this world and, while I wish it hadn’t hit me, I’m proud of the way I deal with it.”
More advice from Dr. Lastname