I'll be honest-for many years I went about my life thinking I was doing great-life was extremely busy-full to the brim with commuting, work, caring for family (both young and older) and studying, not to mention some hobbies squeezed in. It is startlingly obvious to me now that I never thought to stand back and think about what I was doing and why.
Okay so some of it was for financial reasons-I was the main breadwinner-and of course I had aims and places I wanted to get to. The well-embedded family mantra of 'keep on going even if you are fit to drop' was very much a feature!
Don't get me wrong I like hard work-up to a point! On reflection though I wondered what that intense activity was all about. I wondered what was driving it and I got to thinking how prevalent it seemed to be. Looking around I saw people doing life in a very similar way.
I came across something Brene Brown tweeted recently;
Beautifully put Brene, as usual! Self worth is so important for our mental health-it helps protect us against life's knocks. Brene's tweet and the link between self worth and constant busyness-struck a chord with me and got me thinking. What was this busyness about and why was exhaustion from it so desirable? Here are some reasons I came up with:-
1 It makes us feel useful
Having a sense of achievement feeds directly into our self esteem. So if we get loads done we should feel good about our selves. Maslows Heirarchy of Needs comes to mind.
Having variable or low self esteem makes us seek out things that have this type of reward attached to it, and often the quicker it works the better. Plus feeling needed makes us feel nice. However filling your day with tasks can lead to us just feeling overwhelmed.
What I'm talking about is the type of hard work that doesn't feel fulfilling at all.
2. Comparing ourselves to others
This is a good strategy providing we are comparing ourselves favourably.
What better place to do that than on social media. Sharing your life on facebook is like putting a huge spotlight on yourself-or is that a microscope? But it can have the opposite effect if we compare ourselves unfavourably with others statuses. I'm sure you know the profiles I mean-full of events, places and how good it all was!
3 We feel we have to be all things to everyone
How exhausting can this be? Think of all the roles you play-mother, father, daughter, colleague, friend, employee, partner, the list goes on! There's the possibility of guilt if you can't manage it all when others seem to do it with ease. You can end up feeling like a frantic hamster in a human-sized wheel but not feeling any sense of increased self-worth. If you feel compelled to help everyone then the chances are you are putting yourself last mot of the time.
At this point I have to ask whatever happened to being able to enjoy life? Surely we weren't put here just to have a miserable time? Do you feel as if you are doing 'busyness' to the max?
Ask yourself why-is it to boost your self esteem? Or is it other's expectations of you? Or your own? Maybe even society's?
Here's a suggestion.
Instead of packing your week and your even more precious weekend till it's bursting at the seams-why not have a day a week where you don't plan anything?
I have tried it recently with great success. Even the meal planning went out the window resulting in some odd combinations but no-one really minded (chips and pasta anyone?)!
Forget the endless to do lists and clear a nice white blank space in your calendar.
And maybe put your mobile in a drawer.
How does that feel? Exciting? Liberating? A bit scary?
And if your self esteem needs boosting try some of these ideas instead.
(courtesy of Selfdevelopmentjourney.com)