“You yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection.”– Buddha
Being the eldest, I was born with a responsibility to be more mature, productive, and understanding, as I believed it would decide my self-worth. With passing years, even when I was in high school, university, and ultimately in professional life, I had a “firm faith” that my self-worth is only there if I am productive. Due to this, I had developed such a workaholic routine.
I find it extremely hard to “let go of work and take time for myself.” In fact, if I do take time, I feel like I am procrastinating and guilty of skipping work”.
Now that the weekend is just around the corner and I feel no shy admitting that I am scared to “Relax.” I know I am exhausted and want to rest or watch my favourite show. But, I can’t stop the continuous internal nagging: You should be using this time to work! This is a wonderful time to prove yourself; you can rest later. You always wanted to prove yourself and your time is here- Look, the weekend is here, and you can complete all your pending work.
So are you really going to Just Relax and Waste Your Precious Time?
You know, the answer to this is very clear. However, at times this internal conflict gets so strong that not only does it make me feel guilty but also triggers anxiety. This anxiety then keeps bothering me for days. I keep telling myself countless times that I am not enthusiastic enough, it gets self-resentful, and I disturb both my productivity and self-worth.
Detangling productivity from your self-worth is difficult… except, I came to realize while writing this article that it is actually not that hard or difficult. Detaching your self-worth from the busy-ness is difficult. However, if we just separate out these two terms, i.e., “productive” and “busy,” we get to realize that how these two attributes are different, yet, we keep mixing and misusing them interchangeably at the cost of our self-worth.
This unhealthy busy-ness, which I misunderstood with my productivity, took a severe toll on my health a couple of months back. I was on complete bed rest for a week, and it made me realize how hard I was on myself. Why was I doing all that? Whom was I proving this to? If it were for me, why was I not happy? These questions hit me deeply about how wrong I had regarded my productivity and self-worth. In fact, what made it worse was this thought, what kind of example I am setting for others. So, while all these things took a toll on me, it helped me realize that if I was a scientific researcher and writer would be compromising on my health and ultimately my self-worth; how can I make any difference for others? Hence, I have decided to work on myself.
“My self-worth is not limited to mere productivity, so is yours’ and everyone else’s self-worth!” ~Aiman Tahir Laghari (Healthwire.pk)
The three dangers of productivity that affect everything are:
- The loop of productivity is endless. So, it does not satisfy you, actually. At least it won’t satisfy you for long.
- If you lag in your productivity, then it would trigger the feeling of shame and disappointment. It would affect your mental health.
- It hinders you from engagement with your daily life.
When we talk about “productivity,” it means that we are “spending quality time on the things important to us.” It is very clear that our self-worth is compromised with our level of productivity. So, for the sake of “being busy,” we all want to detach ourselves from the busy-ness. We need to realize that any work, goal, or quest is only productive when it is adding something meaningful to our lives.
Here are a few tips on how we can detangle our self-worth from being busy without affecting our productivity
1. Reframe Your Rest
The problem with people like us, who are workaholics, is that they believe that “Relaxing” is just a luxury. But I know that this is wrong. For I know if you want to have your orchard of flowers, you need seeds first and plant them.
The surface of the soil where the seed is planted shows as if nothing is happening, but beneath the soil, new life is about to be born.
A LOT OF LIFE FORMING processes are taking place there. Our life is the same; we need time to nurture the seed of our life. Hence, rest is necessary to get back to the light of life- as it is a priority.
2. Declutter From Anything that Isn’t Worthy for You in Your Life
Yes, this is the much-neglected aspect of life. Even when I am tired, exhausted, or workaholic, there are activities that I need to attend for various purposes. But, it doesn’t make me feel any better except the fact I am more drained. I mostly feel worse after such activities, and the feeling guilty of wasting time overtakes me.
So, now I have decided, and I believe you should too, i.e., be mindful of what is necessary. If a certain activity doesn’t bring me peace and joy, I replace it with things that make me happy such as taking a stroll out, reading a book, and colouring a book. Colouring books are the best detox for your stress.
3. Adopt Self-Worth Not as a Condition But as a Value
Who we are and what we do highly affect our self-worth. But, if we hold our self-worth not as a condition but as a value, then self-worth becomes easier. When we link self-worth with a condition, then we look for things or expectations to make it worthy. The energy behind it is different as compared to the value. It would be more like if we prefer something to make us worthy instead of how we value our life.
4. Follow Your Dreams and Listen to Your Heart
Before, I opted for research studies and writing as my career. I used to look up to people to tell me what I need to do with my life. It wasn’t that much worthy. Now, after living quite a life (not that long enough, though!), I am somehow able to filter the Need for Validation or Advice of People. It doesn’t mean I have become a narcissist or something. I still have my role models whom I value, I love to learn and grow, but I am filtering the negative criticism and insecurity as it would be affecting my self-worth.
Obviously, all these things would take time, but I know that I am persistent and better than before.
5. Focus and Consistency
Just as Elizabeth Gilbert has quoted, “Measure your self-worth by your dedication to your path, not by your success and failures,” it clearly shows that how self-worth is defined by what is important for us, and this is all.
We need to be focused and consistent. Instead of just looking for validation, we need to inculcate dedication, value, and, most importantly, what matters to us.
Take Away Note
Productivity is good, but so is your self-worth. You have got only one life, so live it with your eyes wide open with all your heart. Look for the wonders around you and engage with your beloved ones as they need your time too. Remember to not let your self-worth be taken for granted. For if you do, you will automatically be preaching the same.
“Strong people have a strong sense of self-worth and self-awareness; they don’t need the approval of others.” -Roy T. Bennett, The Light in the Heart.