I have come across many people in life who measure their self worth by how busy they are and by how much they have achieved. There seems to be an explicit link between tasks, action and personal value. If we are not doing something (even if the results are inane and non-productive) then we feel we are not a productive member of society and we are therefore redundant…worthless.
The danger with this type of thinking is that we end up running around like headless chickens, endlessly ‘doing’ in the hopes that we will finally be given that sought after badge of worthiness. Somehow, we imagine that our blood, sweat and tears will allow us to finally feel “good enough”. I know that I find it hard to be still and focus on one thing at a time. Even watching a movie can be a challenge and I find it very hard to resist googling things on my laptop whilst watching TV. What’s that all about?
What is SO bad about being rather than doing? Too much action leads to less monitoring of the effectiveness of what we are doing and we can get caught up in a frenzy of directionless activity, while hoping on an unconscious level that all this manic activity means we are doing good, getting ahead in life. What a huge misconception!
One of my aims is to learn more about meditation. About being mindful. In this fast paced world it has become even more essential to be able to detach and centre ourselves. Taking regular checks of whether we are still on track and feeling we are going in the right direction is vital. I meet many clients who have worked so hard for many years without coming up to breathe. Years down the line they are exhausted, older and so far off track that they feel empty and unfulfilled.
What to do:
- Take time out – away from TV, media, computers and phones and assess your current life position.
- Ask yourself whether you are happy with what you are doing? Do you enjoy at least 80% of what you engage in daily?
- Make time for pleasurable activities. Pleasure is the key, not task-orientated achievement. If you achieve whilst gaining pleasure that’s brilliant but it shouldn’t be the main focus.
- Engage in real life – meet with friends, play with your children and engage with animals and nature.
- Spend time alone. If you feel unease at quiet time alone, ask yourself why. Time alone is essential for regeneration.
- Give back to society – donations, volunteering…whatever you can. This adds a sense of purpose to life and extends your impact in the world.
- Understand that it is okay, even essential, to stop doing, start being. Challenge your resistance to quietude.
- Meditate to centre yourself and tune in to your essential self – where your real peace and happiness lie.
Many people are busy achieving nothing. Stop doing, start being by seeing your inherent worth. Disconnect the unhealthy link between self worth and being busy. Too many people work themselves to a standstill, affecting their health in the process. They scurry around promising themselves that their crazy, hectic lives are temporary and that once they have the money in the bank, the status at work or the retirement package they will be happy and will begin to take it easy. I get to see the reality. These people wish their lives away, have a poor quality of life yet fool themselves on a daily basis.
Step back, take regular ‘health’ checks on your life and reject the idea that being busy will bring value and happiness. It doesn’t.
Photo by Miguel Virkkunen Carvalho
Photo by _.Yann Cœuru ._