Why we need to invest in ourselves

You would think this requires no explanation. Because, of course, we must invest in ourselves. We must recognize our value and act accordingly.

Right.

You may nod in agreement. You may shake your head in befuddlement. You may smile knowingly because if it were that easy it wouldn’t need repeating.

Over and over again.

Because we forget.

And if anyone is really good at not recognizing what we’re worth it’s us. We believe others over what we know of ourselves. Alas, knowing ourselves, means also knowing everything that is wrong with us, which is a lot. So, naturally, we believe every bad thing someone else tells us about ourselves, and we also believe we deserve to be treated the way they treat us.

It’s the worst of vicious circles.

So, the first thing to do is this:

Do not listen to what anyone else has to say about you – unless they offer constructive criticism in an actually helpful way.

We must remember that we cannot control what others say, what they do, how they treat us, or how they feel.

We can control what we do, in particular how we respond, how we treat others, what we say to them, and how we say it. And whilst we also cannot control how we feel, we can control how to handle our feelings.

Getting to that point takes time, though. And time is an investment. We have to recognize that sometimes our first response may not make things better for anyone. And then we need to figure out how to change our ways.

Change takes time, too. In fact, giving ourselves time is one of the best investments we can make. We are often not very patient with ourselves, especially when we are reminded of something we already know. We call ourselves a fool, beat ourselves up, and forget to be kind to ourselves.

Recognizing that being kind, giving ourselves time, and reminding ourselves of the things we already know is an investment in our mental and emotional health.

Sometimes a glass of water is the investment we need. Sometimes it is a walk, a day off, a spa day, purchasing that pair of shoes you’ve been holding out on for weeks now.

We need to figure out what works for us to keep us going. That, too, is an investment.

It is a daily task. It’s not always a pleasant one either. In fact, self-care is not just a spa day, although that does give us a moment of joy. As does the purchase of an item we’ve been having our eye on for some time.

Actual self-care is continued investment into everything that makes us whole. It is the shower we take in the morning, the stretching to keep our bodies nimble, the glass of water even though we are not thirsty. It is the budget we make to manage our finances or the breakdown of all our debts and how we plan to tackle them. It is meal-planning and making a proper schedule for our time off, and reading instead of doom-scrolling Insta.

It is the thing that makes us resilient to adverse situations and that which gives us the ability to tackle just about anything that may come our way. Taking truly care of ourselves and making this daily investment means building a foundation on which we can create the versions of ourselves we want to be and the life that we feel at home in and don’t just want to escape from.

And to tie back to the beginning, true self-care also enables us to silence that nagging voice that continues to doubt ourselves, to heed the opinions of others no more than they deserve, and to learn how to manage our own (often too emotional) responses.

There are other ways in which we can and must invest in ourselves, but we can talk about that another time.

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