Yes, bankruptcy IS a good thing…at least it was for me. Sometimes all it takes is to hear someone’s story in order to stretch your thoughts about how you feel about an event, a circumstance, an experience.
In 2005 I ended an abusive marriage, cared for my 4-year-old that had suffered a major eye accident, and gave birth to my second child. I was a single parent and financially broke. I was also incredibly grateful for the love & support of my family and friends…for example, my father spent 2 days with me, in downtown Buffalo, waiting in line to apply for HEAP benefits so that I could afford to heat my house during the winter months. It was a humbling experience…and at the same time I found it difficult to believe that my life had led me to this place.
Life didn’t get any easier, financially or personally, once I went back to work. After the divorce was final, I was left with substantial debt…created by my ex-husband’s carelessness, broken promises, gambling, and my lack of discernment. The debt felt incredibly heavy, restrictive, and depressing. Most of the debt collectors weren’t open to negotiating alternative payment plans…and my pride & ego would get in my way as well. I finally decided one day that in order to support myself and my two children with greater ease, it was time to make some changes. I was open to exploring any and all opportunities to change my financial circumstances. First priority, get rid of the weight of debt so I could breathe again.
From debt consolidation programs to working an additional job…I considered it all…including bankruptcy. I chose to work 2 jobs, and managed to pay off a decent chunk of debt. Things appeared to be going well until I received a surprise notice from the IRS. My ex-husband defaulted on a tax liability that according to the terms of our divorce agreement, he was obligated to pay. Unfortunately, divorce agreements mean nothing to the IRS, and because my name was on that tax return, they demanded payment from me. That’s when I said “ENOUGH!!” It became crystal clear that the one option I kept avoiding was the very thing I needed to do. File for bankruptcy. Why did I avoid it for so long? Easy…my ego. I cared too much about what other people would think about me, personally and professionally.
In order for me to file for bankruptcy, I had to make peace with it. My initial beliefs and attitudes about bankruptcy was that bankruptcy was for “losers”, “failures”, “lazy people looking for an easy way out”. I asked myself, “Am I a loser and a failure? Am I lazy?” Hell no!! That’s when I shed my ego and said, “I don’t care what other people will think, or say. THEY don’t matter a whit! What matters is what I feel is “right” for myself and my children.”
Filing for bankruptcy was one of the greatest gifts I’ve given myself. It gave me the opportunity to let go of certain beliefs, thoughts, and perceptions that said nothing about who I really am. Bankruptcy was my liberation! I could breathe again…and I was free to pull myself back onto my feet, firmly grounded. Bankruptcy allowed me to move forward with greater confidence and courage. Today I’m a better mom, a better advisor, and I have a great desire to help others shift their own limiting beliefs and perceptions so they too can breathe more easily and set themselves free!