Bankruptcy does not end when you walk out of a courtroom. It follows you around for years. And not just as part of your credit score report.
Learning to deal with the aftermath of your bankruptcy is as important as the legal process. Besides the obvious financial toll, you face tremendous emotional challenges.
Bankruptcy does not mean that you are a bad person, although it is natural to experience bad feelings such as depression, anger and shame. Give yourself enough time to heal by considering counseling. The sooner you deal with negative feelings, the sooner you move on with your life.
You are making changes in your lifestyle as you learn about living with less money. Do not equate your self-worth with material possessions. That may be part of the reason why you found yourself in bankruptcy court to begin with.
Instead of focusing on what you have lost, keep your attention on what you still have and your goals. Some people take this time to reevaluate their lives and priorities, giving them peace of mind.
You also can expect changes in the dynamics of your personal and professional lives. The stress can lead to divorce, separation, estrangement and lost business opportunities. Some people will see you in a different, negative light. Others will be supportive; they are your true friends and trustworthy colleagues.
Repairing your finances
During bankruptcy, you may feel like your situation is beyond your control. While this feeling of despair is normal, you can take charge of your life again.
Start by learning from your mistakes so that you do not repeat them. Take classes, conduct research and consult others. You can gain new financial skills that protect your fiscal health.
Repair your future
The bad news: Your life is never going to be the same again. The good news: Your life could be better than before. Your bankruptcy has been haunting you for months or even years, so it will not go away overnight.
However, now is your chance for a fresh start. Instead of beating yourself up, build yourself.