Learning to be true to yourself can be an elaborate ball of frustration. Who am I? Am I a good a person? Does my voice matter? Am I unique?
It has been a little over two weeks since I started this blog, and I have been putting out a blog post every day. There are reasons for that, which I will go into further details about in future posts. But one thing I am trying to do is figure out how to share my inner voice in my writing.
And it is hard. Incredibly hard.
I look back at the posts I have written, and I can’t help but think I’m not covering anything unique. I’m not sharing any life-changing ideas or thoughts that are unique.
I was laying in bed last night with this nagging feeling that I haven’t been entirely faithful to myself on Money Stir. I haven’t been “lying” about anything, or inflating who I am. But the uniqueness of who I am has not come out in my writing yet, at least to the extent I want.
And I want that to change.
Through all the crap, who am I?
We all like to think that we don’t care about what other people think, that we live our lives true to ourselves. But looking at my past behavior, I struggle with wanting to be accepted by people. I want people to like me.
But that desire doesn’t help me be the person I am. I am not a financial guru with all the right answers. I have not done anything particularly incredible in my life. I’ve made more bad financial decisions than good most of my adult life.
Does that make my voice less valid than someone who is farther along than me? Am I bound to my past mistakes?
My inside screams “No! Your past mistakes do not bind you!” But something wants me to believe that I am a failure and I can’t change my behavior.
Failure and success are not defined destinations. No person is a failure. We can only fail or succeed with our choices. No matter how many times you failed, that does not have to define how your future looks.
Life is About Discovering Who You Are
Our behavior sometimes doesn’t reflect who we truly are. In fact, it can sometimes do the exact opposite. We could be acting out a lie that results in behavior that is not our true selves.
Learning who we are on the inside, and who we want to be, is part of what it means to be alive.
I’m sick and tired of being sick and tired.
Behavior and bad habits can change. We can start making good decisions. We can start living in a way where we can be who we truly are, regardless of what people think.
And being yourself might piss off some people. But that is okay. If everyone loves us, we probably aren’t being honest enough. Ruffling some feathers is perhaps a good sign that we are doing something right. But I also don’t want to piss people off primarily to make them mad and get attention.
I am my Biggest Critic
Being self-critical has benefits in pursuing growth. But it has a darker side in making us feel like we are not good enough.
Our confidence gets drained when we look down on ourselves.
But the biggest mistake we can make is not putting in enough effort towards where we want to go and who we want to be.
Like me, you may not be the smartest person around. Or you might have struggled with going into credit card debt and being miserable. But we are not alone in our struggles. Sure, there are people out there who are doing much better, but why should that matter? If one person is motivated by Money Stir to start making solid financial decisions to change their future, it is all worth it.
And life is about deciding what hills we are going to climb. There is not only one way to be successful. We can carve our own path to reach our goals. And the only way other people can affect that is if we believe we are inferior based on their opinions.
It is amazing how one negative opinion about us, or thinking that we are lacking can ruin our psyche. These thoughts do not define us and are trying to sabotage our progress.
Don’t let anyone try to define who you are. Sure, people can point out mistakes you’ve made, and they might be right. But who you are on the inside can only be known by you. We should learn to filter criticism to figure out what is worth changing, and not let it define who we are.
Perfection is Impossible
I recently published a post talking about the benefits + cons of using Grammarly. I’m still using it for every post, but I noticed how much time I spend trying to make each post perfect.
I don’t work on my blog full time, and I want to prioritize my family. But if my goal is to have every post on Money Stir be perfect, it is going to take most of my time. Obviously, I don’t want to sound like a 2nd grader, but who cares if there are some grammar mistakes in my posts? The content of each post is what is most important, not that I made sure that I sound professional all the time. In fact, maybe having some minor mistakes makes me more relatable.
No matter how hard we try, we will always make mistakes. And the idea that we can reach a state of “perfection” is a fallacy.
As a result from writing so much, my writing is improving, and it is taking me less time to put down my thoughts. Often participation and effort allow us to make progress by just showing up. It is less about having every move be perfect, and more about maximizing our energy in working towards our dreams.
The success of Money Stir is dependent on me not giving up, even when things get hard, and learning how to be myself through my words. Using my own words and thoughts will separate me from other financial blogs.
Who You Are is Not Static
Often it is assumed who we are is determined when we are born. What makes up our gene pool. But is this true?
There is scientific evidence showing that genes partially determine our predisposition to certain behaviors and thoughts. That article explains that genes do play a part, but the environment we are in can also have a significant effect on who we are. Tim Spector’s view, from the article above, is that our environment plays a stronger role. I’m a firm believer in that we have free will to determine who we are and what we achieve through our choices. But we will have to work through our disadvantages, whether they are from our genes, biology or environment.
Our behavior can give us insight into where we are. And other factors, such as genes and the environment we grew up in, partially determines how we think and our behavior. But often our actions are not a result of who we truly are. We could be living out the behavior of our parents, or the result of their behavior. Or we could be responding to traumatic events in our past.
When I was in middle school, people bullied me often. People looked at my quiet nature and would make fun of me, which caused me to become shy and go into my shell. I didn’t have many friends. Me, being the victim of their behavior, was I living out who I was? Were bullies living out who they truly were? I think both of us were reacting to our unique situations. I’m not saying we are not responsible for our actions, but our behavior can point to more significant issues. In other words, our behavior can be more of a response, than accurately reflecting who we are.
I struggle with being confident in myself, even after becoming a successful web developer. There is a lot I have accomplished. By realizing that this is something I struggle with, I can pinpoint when I’m working against myself.
I would argue who we are on the inside is continuously changing. It is based on our thoughts and can be a result of our behavior. Actual change is possible for all of us if we can learn how to work through our internal barriers and get to the core of who we want to be.
What Failure Looks Like
Many people have accomplished great things for one reason: effort. They took a risk and put their energy into making it work.
I’ve already mentioned that our biggest mistake is in not trying. But I want to drive this point home as I think it is vital to everything we do.
We can’t live our lives being afraid of failure. Failure is what helps us grow. In other words, effort + failure can equal success. You can’t fail what you don’t pursue, and success becomes impossible unless we try. No single failure makes our whole pursuit fail (for the most part). Realizing our failures is an opportunity to grow from them and push towards success.
We need to diversify our outlook and respin failing into a positive occurrence. When we make a mistake, it might show us something we would not have noticed before — a key insight that opens up other opportunities. It might change what we decide to pursue, but who cares about how we reach our goals?
A significant mistake we can make is not beneficially reflecting on our failures. We might notice we messed up, but until we can see with a clear perspective on what that caused, we will most likely repeat the same mistakes. As much as I hated going into credit card debt, I found myself continuing that cycle for over a decade because I didn’t take a clear look at what I was doing and where I was going. But now my eyes are opened, and I have a positive outlook on how the future can look for my family and me.
We need to realize that change is not a bad thing. It represents a healthy response to what we are learning.
What I’m Shooting For
I want my writing to reflect who I am, which includes all the weird parts too. My goal is to be honest about my mistakes and what I’m doing, and I don’t want to write what I think people want to hear, just because I believe that is what they want to read.
I want to share my unique journey towards my dreams and that people can find hope in their own lives. I want to challenge traditional views on finances and money, and learn how to be the best version of myself. I’m not advocating that my way is the best way for you, or that there aren’t alternatives that are worth considering. I’m hoping that me sharing what I’ve learned and am currently learning will not only help me pursue my own goals but also help others.
I want my past bad decisions to propel me towards the future I want to see come true. And I want to see others pursuing what matters most to them.
I am learning to be comfortable with the idea that my writing style, and what I write about, will change over time, and that is okay. I’m not a robot producing content. I’m a person with dreams, aspirations, weaknesses, insecurities, strengths, and desires, all wrapped up in a person named Chris Roane. That is what I want this site to reflect.
Self-reflection helps us look through our behavior to see who we truly are. And our perception of that person may not be accurate. The only thing we can do is focus on maximizing our effort to achieve our goals and be the person we want to be.
Self-destruction can blindside our dreams. It can ruin our confidence and cause us to believe we are not good enough.
Who you are can change over time. It is incredible how good choices can have a domino effect on our future. We need to fight against the voices in our heads and from others that tell us we can’t achieve our goals.
Our behavior can point more towards internal issues, more than defining who we are. The goal needs to be to get rid of these negative behaviors and embrace our true selves.
How are you learning to be true to yourself? What struggles are you working on or have worked on in the past?
Chris Roane is a financial blogger who loves to be transparent about money-related issues. He’s paid off massive amounts of credit card debt and is the blog author of Money Stir. His main focus on Money Stir is talking about how money relates to our relationships, personal development, and how to plan for the future we want. He’s been quoted on Market Watch, The Ladders, and other publications.