The need for forgiveness in bankruptcy extends beyond forgiving debts. Self-care requires that you forgive yourself.
Kansas City bankruptcy lawyer Rachel Foley wrote about forgiveness in the bankruptcy context.
She wasn’t talking about the forgiveness of debt, but about the negative emotions that can eat you up.
Shed the anger at others who threaten your family’s well being, she counseled, and look forward.
I don’t see many clients who need to forgive their creditors or others they see as responsible for their plight.
My clients need to forgive themselves.
Closer to home
They arrive in my office, certain that even making an appointment with a bankruptcy lawyer is an admission of guilt.
Guilty of what?
- Of job loss?
- Of investments that crashed?
- Of illness?
- Of divorce?
Sometimes, there is a decision or a pattern that, seen from the outside, was poor judgment. But that isn’t a character failing.
For Pete’s sake, multi billion dollar corporations, run by highly educated, highly paid, and very experienced professionals file bankruptcy all the time. Why is it a source of guilt for individuals?
Bankruptcy in the imagination
My clients imagine bankruptcy like the Day of Judgment, lined up before the bankruptcy bench to be sorted into those who are worthy of forgiveness of debt and those who are not.
Not the way it happens at all. For well over 99% of bankruptcy filers, they will never meet a judge. The judge will give not a moment’s consideration to their situation. There is no subjective aspect to the unchallenged bankruptcy.
Debtors are presumed to be entitled to a discharge. Only the very rare bad actor is pulled out of line on the march to a bankruptcy discharge. And it’s deliberate and dishonest actions toward their creditors that cost those bad actors their discharge. Not bad luck or even bad judgment.
Charity starts at home
If there is pain in filing bankruptcy, it is all self inflicted. Forgiveness truly is healing and debtors need to extend that forgiveness to themselves.
If there is a lesson in the past, learn it. Prepare for changes of fortune from whatever cause. Move forward.
Image courtesy of dalbera.