Invest in Yourself: What Does That Really Mean?
Updated: Sep 13, 2019
I remember hearing the phrase "invest in yourself" on a podcast with one of my favorite coaches and thinking, what a novel concept! *slight sarcastic tone* But...
Why does that sound so hard?
Does that cost a lot of money, that I don't have? Can it cost me nothing at all?
How often do you do it?
What counts as invest in myself?
Is it similar to self-care?
The answers to these questions are different for everyone, but it's important for anyone attaining goals and consistently improving their life to consider what it means to them. I think it's a part of the pie that makes us whole, happy, and fulfilled:
1) loved ones,
2) work/business or finances,
3) health and fitness,
4) and recreation.
But there are lots of sub-categories you could argue depending on the person: physical environment, love life, spirituality, education/learning new skills, travel and adventure. Some of these categories are non-existent for some. We all seek happiness differently, in both healthy and potentially unhealthy ways. Awareness is key, which is why attempting to answer the above questions for ourselves is so important and helpful for a happy, healthy life.
It's also science. As humans, we have different chemicals in our brain that are produced from different aspects of our life - you know, dopamine, serotonin, oxytocin, etc. It's what makes us human beings experiencing different moods, emotions, and chapters in our life, whether we are aware of it or not. Our pie won't always feel balanced and whole, but the more we check-in, understand where we are at, why, acknowledge the emotion, and choose joy and moving forward instead of a pity-party, invest in ourselves, the more joy there will be in the small, simple things in life. (That was for sure a run-on sentence, I know. I'm always and forever working on my writing skills. #workinprogress) It's a way for us to accept the good with the bad, and more blissfully have peace in the present moments.
An opportunity to sign up for Yoga Teacher Training landed in my lap this week. It once lived in the back of my mind to consider doing it, but I was always worried it would ruin the peace and happiness I feel when I go to yoga/barre etc. So, I never gave it much thought. I was told about the training by one of my favorite local yoga teachers (we figured out we were both from Nebraska and the rest is history). She popped into my inbox in the most beautiful moment. It makes so much sense for the phase and chapter I am in. I felt crazy for considering this though. How could I spend this amount of time and money on myself? I ended up talking it through with one of my favorite humans. I told her the story, I told her all about my pro-con list...I had a whole plan and rationale prepared. I was just trying to convince myself to do it, but I felt a sense of guilt that I would invest this time and money ONLY into myself. I knew she was the right person to talk to for various reasons, but one being that she just went through the certification process as well. She stopped me, and she said, but Lindsey, what if you just did, in fact, make this about you? What if you had no expectations or plan? I mean, again, what a novel concept, right?
I am challenged by always keeping my self-worth and self-esteem buckets full to this day, and this was a beautiful moment of this coming back up. It was beautiful because I acknowledged what was coming up for me and why, and I chose a different path than I have before. I chose a different path when I invested in myself in order to become a Social and Emotional Intelligence Coach. I chose to become a certified Yoga Instructor this past week. I'm always choosing others' priorities over my own. I don't often put my needs before others'. I want everyone I love to always know they can count on me to be their love and support. Yet in my loneliest moments, I realize that, though I have an incredible life with incredible people in it, when you are single without kids, there's often no one prioritizing you. That's not dark, or mean, it's just honest, or it's at least an observation that I've both experienced and witnessed often. I'm not anyone's #1 priority. It's up to me to prioritize me. At the end of the day, that's all of our jobs because in reality, it's up to each of us to be taking care of ourselves first and foremost. It only ends up hurting our loved ones when we aren't. In a way, I've also found this to be a way that you teach people how to treat you. If you let others take advantage of you and your time, they will.
I have a couple of other things I want to leave you with.
First, investing in yourself is also not always literal. It doesn't require money. It can be as simple as walking around a park listening to a podcast, going to see your favorite artist in concert, going to a movie with your best friend, or whatever self-care and investing in yourself looks like for you. That's you investing in recharging, educating yourself, decompressing, and/or just enjoying life. It can be you making time for what fills you up.
If your glass isn't full, how can you expect to pour that love and support into others?
Lastly, here's a quick list of what I've found comes out of investing in yourself and filling up your cup first:
1) A full cup of both self-esteem and self-worth
2) Belief in yourself - knowing you can handle anything that comes your way
3) Accomplishing a goal = pride in yourself
4) Connection and community (often when we invest in ourselves, we find deeper connection with ourselves and others who accomplished the same goal)
5) You may notice a new part of you now exists. Suddenly this investment has become a part of who you are, and it may be something you never anticipated existing. That's what we call growth.
6) Helps to build new healthy habits.
How are you currently investing in yourself? What does that look like for you? What fills you up?
When you begin to answer these questions, you may find fear and you have to decide if the investment is expansive or contractive. Your intuition is there to guide you to make those decisions and determine what’s expansive for you.
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