Growing up, we were often told by our peers that life is a rat-race and we must run faster if we wish to achieve any happiness and self-worth in life. So deeply ingrained in our mind is this lesson that we forget to be happy living in the moment while we are chasing some mythical grand happiness.
Often, we find that we are berating ourselves if we spend a day doing nothing. This need to do something, to be productive in order to be considered worthy, has taken such strong roots in our psyches that we often overdo the productivity and end up messing up our mental health.
Learn to segregate
In many cultures across the world, “who we are” is often determined by what we do. This also makes our value in the perspective of others be less or more. This is why artists are often viewed with some scorn unless we are talking about renowned and millionaire artists. Unless you are Beyoncé, you are not a proper singer and you should try doing something real. And if you are doing nothing for some time, then you need some intervention to get you back on track to being productive.
Learning to understand that self-worth does not depend on the productivity of the individual is hard, even for us. We cannot think that one day spent resting is an achievement. In fact, there are people who start hating themselves if they sit idle for a few hours. This needs always to do something productive to control the life and relations of many, and not in a positive way. In some ways, society can be held accountable for the cause of this conflation of self-worth and productivity, but we too take it up and let it fester in our minds.
Be more self-aware
Self-worth is not some number or statistics that can be measured. This is a fact that we have to understand first. It is difficult to uproot all the years’ worth of programming that unless you are busy doing something worthwhile, you are degrading your worth, but it is a process that needs to be started. Here are few ways to overcome this hurdle:
- Understand that being busy is not necessarily an achievement. Answering queries about “how are you” with “so busy that I can’t even breathe” is not an achievement. There will be days when this phase of busy-ness will not be there. Rather than being proud of this rush or even being proud of being at rest, normalize your work.
- Know that your existence is not limited to a list. Some people have travel lists, some have office lists, both in both cases, if a single item on the list remains unchecked, you feel a sense of helplessness and feel that you have not achieved anything. Learn to live in the moment. Understand that no matter what, there will be certain things that you will miss out on and that is okay.
- Learn to take a break. Giving yourself a day of rest is not a crime. Rather, a day doing nothing or following your passion will help you be more productive when you return to work. Also encourage your friends to go easy on themselves. If they say they have done nothing, celebrate it with a smile and feel good about it.
- Take up some hobbies if you don’t have one already. Hobbies often help you have a fresh perspective of yourself and your work. It also helps you relax and understand that you are more than a list. If you have a hobby, try not to monetize it. This will beat the purpose of relaxing.
- Again, there will be days when the feeling of not succeeding in removing these negative talks will make you feel inadequate and worthless, but letting those feelings wash over you will make the moment pass. You are not your work or your skills. Monetizing every skill is not an achievement and this needs to be understood. You do not need to be validated by people who barely know you. Cherish the moments you have with yourself so that you can become a stronger and happier person.