Long time readers of my site know that I don’t shy away from hard work. I work multiple jobs, sometimes seven days a week. I side hustle like a bamf! If there is something that I want I have no problem working my butt off until I get it.
Since September of 2014 I have been working really hard at one thing in particular: me.
I hated my life last summer. I was unhappy with who I was and what I was doing. I honed in on my loans as a way to take back control of my life and pull myself out of my sad downspiral.
I was investing my time and energy into myself. I was shutting out the noise of the world around me and looking to myself to provide the direction I should move in. Once I had the direction established, I also found in myself the energy and motivation to work until I got what I wanted.
It was an eye opening experience. I realized I was my most valuable tool. I realized the only person who could truly set limits on myself was me. I was totally capable of shutting out the expectations of friends, family and society at large that didn’t mesh with what I really wanted. THAT is a really powerful thing. Society in particular can be a persuasive and powerful beast. Wear this, look this way, be this person. Realizing I could ignore that voice and listen only to myself was a game changer for me as a person.
THAT is a really powerful thing. Society in particular can be a persuasive and powerful beast. Wear this, look this way, be this person. Realizing I could ignore that voice, and listen only to myself, was a game changer for me as a person.
What’s more, I’ve come to a place where I am my own biggest fan. I’ve always been a confident person, but have certainly experienced times of self loathing or self doubt. Those moments still occur, but overall I can say I think I’m a pretty kickass person. I’m feeling myself, know what I mean? Loving yourself is a radical notion in our world. We’re supposed to doubt ourselves in everything, especially women. This doubt is turned into profits by companies who tell us that if we lose weight, or color our hair this way, or wear this thing, we’ll finally be right. We’ll finally be worthy.
I already think I’m worthy. Now I’m working to make my life the best it can be. In every area of my life I am working for what I really want. I want to avoid stomach pains and cramps, so I’ve given up dairy. I want financial freedom so I’m saving a significant amount of my earnings. I want a healthy relationship so I spend time and energy on my boyfriend.
No one will give me what I want. In fact I’ve found the world can be pretty good at throwing up road blocks right and left for everyone. Life can be difficult at any point and the difficulties can come from any direction. There’s only so much you can prepare for.
I’ve found that by working on myself and working towards the things that I really and truly want I’m becoming a happier and more centered person. I can be very high energy. I talk quickly, I talk with my hands a lot, I move around a lot. I like to form a plan and act on it right away. I prefer action over inaction. I prefer moving over stillness.
By taking the time to ask myself what I want most of all, what I’m willing to do to get it, and then forming a plan to get it, I’ve had to slow myself down. I’ve had to really look into myself as well as look ahead to the future. How do I want things to look for myself in 5 years? In 15 years? What am I doing now that will get me there? Am I spending my time the way I really want to?
Working on myself covers a lot of categories. I’ve got a huge sweet tooth and I give into it too easily, too often. So I’ve started to focus on getting vegetables onto my plate at every meal and decreasing my sugar intake.I love reading and have been limiting my tv time so I have more time to read. Working on my health and body gives me the energy to work on myself in other areas. I sleep better, meaning I have more energy to do things with friends and my boyfriend. I can be a better employee.
Listen to yourself. You know what you want and need. Trust yourself enough to follow what your own body and mind are saying. Love yourself enough to stick with it. Work hard on creating the person you want to be.
Kara Perez is the original founder of From Frugal To Free. She is a money expert, speaker and founder of Bravely Go, a feminist financial education company. Her work has been featured on NPR, Business Insider, Forbes, and Elite Daily.