Invest in Yourself

make yourself priority number one again

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author Kristen Houghton
author Kristen Houghton

There has been a resurgence of ‘personal-power’ in 2021 and I am glad to see it, especially among women. We are beginning to make themselves priority number one. We don’t have to be perfect. Perfect imperfection is leading the way for us.

In years past, so many women have said that they sacrificed their own happiness trying to make someone else happy. This has had a lot to do with conditioning and society. We’re certainly not born this way. Even in the 21st century, women still tend to see themselves as the one who not only can but should take care of everyone else before they can satisfy their own needs.

Former First Lady, Michelle Obama, has said that when their first daughter was born, she gave up her morning exercise routine, something she loved to do. But her husband Barack kept the same exercise routine as before the baby was born. He took care of himself and she needed to do that too. However, you still see this with a lot of couples. The mother always puts herself last. Society has always expected this. The mother is the one who sacrifices the most of her own needs and wants.

Women have also told me about how they feel that they lose their identity, their vision of who they are, when they have children. That’s so true. Many of us, upon becoming parents, focus so much on our children that we risk losing ourselves. How can we be a good parent without sacrificing our own identity? But—there’s a price to pay for losing yourself. When you give all your time and energy to your children, you are living on crumbs left over from their lives. Crumbs never will satisfy or nourish you. You have to reclaim your identity and let your children know that you are entitled to time for your own wants and that you have goals that you need to achieve. The best example you can give your children of a healthy, happy life is to live one yourself.

As mothers we refer to ourselves as someone’s mom and so the world identifies us as such. Hunter’s mom, Jennifer’s mom. It sounds as if we’re mere appendages of our children. We have to have our own goals to pursue and to be recognized as a name rather than a title. You are proud to be a wife, mother, daughter, but you are not an appendage to anyone else nor should you be. Reclaim your name. Instead of saying, “Hi, I’m Missy’s mom,” say ” Hi, I’m Cate, Missy’s mom.”

The myth of perfection is being discarded by many women. That’s the idea that in today’s world, not only can a woman have it all and do it all well, she absolutely must! In an interview in 1992, no one less than the great Katherine Hepburn said that the “This idea of the perfect woman was a horrible PR mistake for us. Something has to give eventually for the woman who seeks to be perfect in all things and that something most often is her health.” Unfortunately, many women would self-medicate with alcohol or prescription drugs to maintain a facade of perfection. Perfection is overrated, a little messiness in life is healthier.

Women tended to take on the task of making relationships work too. That is another way we put our happiness last. A relationship should enhance your life, not become a second full-time job. If it isn’t working, it’s time to walk away.

Personal financial freedom is another area where many women are achieving success. Financial freedom is important to me and it isn’t a selfish thing. It took me quite a while to achieve it and it gave me the freedom to be able to do what I love most in life and begin a new career as an author.

Reinvention is where women are leading the way. One job, one profession, or living in one area your whole life, is no longer the norm. We’re reinventing our thinking about exactly what makes us happy and planning on how we can achieve it. We change jobs, seek new professional outlets, and move anywhere we choose. We are investing in ourselves and that makes us more apt to invest in society.

Let 2021 be the year when you start to invest in yourself. Believe me, you’re definitely worth it.

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