When you hear the word “investment” what ideas come to mind? The stock exchange? All those compound interest problems in junior high math? Something you say when you’re trying to justify buying something more expensive than you originally planned? (I get you girl, I’ve called that impractical handbag an “investment” for a minute too 😉
What about investing in people? I think we’ve all had a time when we recognized that a relationship wouldn’t improve unless we “invested” some time and energy into it. Whether cultivating a friendship, or getting to know a romantic partner, we decided that the end result of a new bestie or a significant other who may just be “The One” was worth dedicating some resources to in expectation of a life-changing end result.
That’s the basic idea of an investment. Giving time and energy to something now, even if it’s challenging or we are giving up something else to make it happen, with the hope that in time we will have an excellent return. Time/energy/money in now, sweet benefit out later.
Knowing this, let me ask. When was the last time you dedicated time, energy, attention, work, to yourself?
Now, with all the currently hyped and misused vocabulary of “self-love”, “self-care” and “treat yo self”, let me clarify. I’m not saying the last time you played hooky, ignored all of your responsibilities, ate that second Big Mac, or binge watched Grey’s Anatomy (now it’s on Netflix, so I know you’re tempted).
I’m asking the last time you gave yourself the gift of your time, your focus, and your generosity. The last time you stopped to think about what you could do to improve your life and actually “sacrificed” something for that? Maybe it’s been years, but hopefully it was more like this morning.
Here’s the thing. Nothing gets better if you don’t make it better.
Remember learning about entropy in middle school science? It’s a universal truth that we observe all around us. Your health will not improve unless you do something to change it. You will not feel better about yourself if you keep doing the things that challenge your self-esteem. That ever-growing chair of unfolded quasi-clean clothing will continue to grow unless I decide to attack it…
Far from discouraging news, this should inspire and encourage, dare I say EMPOWER, because the inverse is also true!
Everything gets better if you make it better!
There’s not a single area of your life that cannot improve if you invest in addressing that area and persevere in faith knowing that the end result will be worth the current challenge. Every 5 or 10 minute period in which you are active improves your overall health in myriad ways. Every minute you spend learning, feeling gratitude, and reminding yourself of the miracle of you, your self-esteem will grow. The clothes pile can actually transform into a chair if you take some time to put away the precarious stacks of things around it.
If you take action to make a change, IT WILL CHANGE!
Investment now = improvement later.
I think you can probably see this challenge coming, but ladies, we have got to invest in ourselves! The fashion industry isn’t doing it. Magazines aren’t clamoring to help you to grow. The food industry is not working to make you healthier. TV shows don’t have as their vision statements “investing in our viewers to improve their lives”. Maybe you are among the exceedingly blessed and your friends, family, and significant others are investing in you. Excellent. Beautiful! How much more capable will you be of accepting their investment and returning that when you’ve invested in yourself? We can only continue to pour into others and love them well when we are paying attention to our own needs for growth and love. Dedicating time to our own growth, wellbeing and progress IS dedicating that time to others. How well can we serve, love, encourage, minister to, pray for others when we are silencing our own inherent desire for growth and investment. “A rising tide lifts all the boats”!
Simple changes now can have literally life changing returns in the future. A couple of years ago my husband and I decided to trade that second TV show at night for reading non-fiction books that help us grow. I could write for hours and not finish writing about the impact that this decision has made. A few weeks ago I decided to get up earlier than the last minute in the morning to spend time doing some work to get grateful and focus my day. I haven’t been at it long, but I can already tell you that instead of missing that sleep I wake up before the alarm clock most days, ready to get up and into this practice. Pretty huge improvement for someone who could barely drag themselves out of bed in enough time to get to work at the last minute. It’s worth the immediate pain. YOU are worth some challenges for a brighter future on the other side.
I hope this makes sense. I want you to see yourself as the worthy, valuable, precious creation that you are. I deeply hope that you are empowered to daily decide to invest in yourself. It’s the most worthwhile investment. Only when you are operating at your peak are you able to be fully alive, engaged in all the beauty that life has for you.
Can’t think of what investing in yourself might look like? Here are a few thoughts to get you started.
- Trade that 15 minutes of hitting the snooze button for gratitude, prayer, reflection, reading.
- Raid the library for cook books and learn how to make some healthier options. Spend the money for quality ingredients.
- Buy that next heavier set of weights, and really challenge yourself.
- Trade in those beat up running shoes that are now more duct tape than rubber for a new pair. A nice pair. Some that will treat you well as you pound the pavement.
- Find a babysitter for an hour every few days and go to the gym.
- Register for that painting/rock-climbing/business class that you’ve been thinking about.
- Order a book that addresses exactly the thing you’ve been struggling to master.
- When it arrives, read it. Whether that means saying no to drinks one night, turning off the TV (yes, even if your show is on), or trading your morning radio listening into morning book listening.
- Ask your significant other out on a date. Go out. Talk. Listen. Learn. Reconnect.
- Decide that you are worth more than what you feel when you read checkout aisle magazines. Choose to spend a bit more for something quality and uplifting.
Dedicate some resources to yourself and enjoy the amazing results! And share it!! We aren’t blessed to hold it all in. We’re blessed to share it with others, so I want to hear about it 🙂