Isolating thoughts come far too often. These types of thoughts seem to peak in your teenage years, but they never go away completely. Isolating thoughts can vary tremendously, but here are some common ones:
"Does anyone else ever think this way?"
"No one could understand what I am going through."
"No one else could have ever made this dumb of a decision."
"I'm 50. There is no way I can start saving for retirement now."
The ultimate problem with isolating thoughts is that they leave you internalizing your feelings. If no one else could appreciate or at least relate to what you are going through, why should you share anything?
How It Relates To Personal Finance
If you are new to this website and started reading today's post before any other, you would never have guessed this is a blog primarily about personal finance. But, before I explain what this has to do with personal finance, a little sneak peak on my writing process may be helpful.
Roughly half of the time I sit down to write these posts, I do not have any preconceived plans what I am going to write about. I simply sit in front of my computer and start thinking about my journey and what I am passionate about.
However, the other half of the time I begin writing with a plan. Whenever an idea comes to me that relates to personal finance, I write it down. When I thought of the idea behind this post, the following is exactly what I typed into my phone to keep me from forgetting:
"Feeling Alone Then Realizing There Are Over 7 Billion People In The World (My thought is that a lot of people feel like there is no one on the planet going through the same things as them. Such as, if you are a single parent with 3 kids, there is no one who has gone through what you have gone through and financially excelled.)"
Feeling alone makes it extremely easy not to try. What is the point of trying if no one in your situation has ever been able to turn their life around? Why begin saving for retirement at 50 years old when it is too late to do so?
You must be able to recognize these incorrect beliefs as they pop into your head. If you have any sort of isolating thoughts that you are alone and financial independence is impossible, I assure you - you are wrong. There are currently 7.8 billion people in the world, and the odds of you going through something in isolation is mathematically improbable.
If you feel lost and do not know where to start getting a grip on your finances, reach out to a friend or family member. There are also countless blogs, books, and podcasts available that walk you through the process how to handle seemingly impossible financial situations.
Feel free to reach out to me as well. I am not a financial advisor, but I can point you in the direction of all sorts of free resources that are available.
Why I Thought Of This Post
I wrote down the above idea back in December of last year, but I am just writing about it today. I have been feeling very guilty and overwhelmed lately. I have been having too many isolating thoughts. There are areas in my life that I feel I am neglecting, and it is really starting to wear on me.
To better illustrate what I mean, I want to use an example that a good friend shared with me recently. Imagine you are spinning three metaphorical plates on top of three separate metaphorical poles. Plate one represents work obligations. Plate two represents family. And plate three represents yourself.
In the ideal world, you want to keep all three plates spinning perfectly without any disruptions. However, you quickly find out that you can never keep all three plates spinning properly at the same time. You may be able to keep two spinning fast and perfectly perpendicular to the ground, but the more you focus on those plates, the third one starts to wobble.
After my friend explained the above example to me, he gave me the following advice.
[Paraphrasing] You may never be able to keep all three plates spinning perfectly at the same time (meaning I may never simultaneously be able to fulfill all work obligations to my standards, be the father and husband my family deserves, and properly take care of my mental and physical health). But, as long as you notice when a neglected plate is starting to wobble and you tend to it before it comes crashing down, you will be okay.
This friend may not realize how much I needed to hear that story and advice. It affected me so much that I wanted to share it with others.
If you are not meeting your expectations in all areas of your life, including taking care of yourself, you are not alone. There are many others going through the same or similar struggle. However, if you are aware of which "plate" you are neglecting the most, you should be able to prevent it from crashing down before it is too late.
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