Self-Worth isn’t Found at the Bottom of my To- Do List

Society has tangled self-worth and wealth – I’m here to dig a little deeper.

As the Queen of introspection I often ask myself “why”. Usually, whatever I’m questioning is an action. The questions form along the lines of  “Why did I order that third prayer plant?” or “Why I am I making this decision?” and usually my toddler-like tenacity for questions is fulfilled by these self-revelations. I tend to only stump myself when I zoom out past my current situation and incorporate the dreaded sociatel “we”. My latest ponder has left me stumped and I’m hoping we can solve this toddler style question together. Are you ready for it?

Why do we base self-worth on productivity and how do we stop?

I firmly believe that our modern capitalist society uses wealth and worth interchangeably. Sure, we may hide this connection under the guise of hard work equating worth but the name change doesn’t make this connection any healthier. You either work hard to make more money to then feel good about yourself or you work hard under the pretense of one day getting rewarded for this work with recognition and monetary gain. We have made it shameful to not work while simultaneously making it shameful to work hard and not be rewarded with success. In summary, as a society, we have made existence transactional and by doing so we have surmised that those who do not contribute (are not productive) are not worth caring for. 

Self-Worth and the Day to Day

This sociatel mentality then trickles into our day to day habits. Think about it – if you don’t feel productive during the day does it change how you feel about yourself? I know for me, and everyone who answered my Instagram survey, productivity is a key player in self worth. 

Self-Worth in the Workplace

 In the workplace we begin equating our self worth with our outputs. We work ourselves like machines to generate the highest value for our employers, even if we are not being rewarded fairly for this work. We begin to equate how we feel about ourselves with how well we perform.We continuously strive for that next promotion, another certification, or having the best idea in a concept meeting because we want to feel worthy of our spot in the workplace.

To make matters even worse we take this to the next step by applying these pressures to our personal lives. We use our long “to do” lists  as a point of pride on social media. People are happy to drone on and on about how busy they are. Jam packed schedules are considered a sign of success and enviable. The “rise and grind” or “hustle” mentality has seeped into everything from our board meetings to our weekends at home. But is this what we were really designed to do? 

Personally, I think it’s ridiculous and needs to change. So I’m channeling my inner Mr. Rodgers by starting in the only place I know how – myself. I’m spending this next year (and probably the rest of my life) untangling the web. I refuse to be defined by my outputs, my annual income (though I would love for that to go up), and how productive I am. Don’t worry mom, I’m not quitting my job, or slacking on my projects, I’m just being conscious about how I find value in my life. I’m placing my self worth in being my authentic self for 2020 – ready for the journey with me? 

*I am not a therapist. Please work with a licensed physician when it comes to your health.

Starting Fresh & Following Through

I love first days. Whether its a first day of school, first day at a new job, or first time in workout classes, being a newbie is fun. Starting fresh feels good. A new start the ultimate moment for positivity and optimism. No one expects you to master anything on your first day- especially if you are trying something new. The honeymoon period in a new job, relationship or while forming a habit is amazing…unfortunately it can fade rather quickly.

This year, I have set myself a couple goals some tangible and some, like being braver, that are larger in concept than application. To avoid setting myself up for failure I am changing up my goal setting. I paid attention to what worked and didn’t work for myself last year and I want to continue with that. For example, I learned that I am horrible at taking on vague goals without a plan. I cannot simply state I want to get fitter and commit to it, I have to take baby steps. Last year I started by working out one day more a week at a time, then eating better and then trying new workouts. If I had gone cold turkey on my Dominos lifestyle I would have quit by February.

Another observation I made was that rigid goal setting does not work for me. I am fickle; I cannot commit to a Whole30 lifestyle or a work out every day gym routine. Rigid goals make me feel like every slip up is the end of the process. It’s easy to quit when I feel discouraged. To combat this I now set intentions. An example from last year is instead of telling myself that I am going to meditate everyday or else, I tell myself that I intend to meditate everyday. It feels less harsh to me and makes accomplishing my goal of meditating easier. I’m applying it to this year by setting the intention to opt outdoors for at least 30 minutes one day each weekend. It can be a hike, a run or a walk through an outdoor shopping center as long as I make it outside and move.

A third observation, that ties into setting intentions, is adjusting my approach to my goal when things don’t work for me. For example, in an ideal world I would wake up at 6:00 am every weekday and do my morning yoga and set my intentions for the day. Unfortunately, I am not a morning person. I’m horrible at sleeping which makes motivating myself to get up damn near impossible. Instead, of beating myself up for not getting up every morning, or not working out at all, I just adjusted my schedule so I can do my workouts in the evening. A morning cardio session isn’t going to happen most mornings and I’m okay with that. I’ve let it go.  

While the above are all important I believe the essential tactic to not quitting when things stop being shiny and new is finding the why. Instead of focusing on the result I am focusing on the reason. It’s easy to get discouraged when results don’t appear immediately but if I have a good why I stand a better chance of completing my goal. It doesn’t always make it easier but it helps remotivate me when I dwell on why I’m doing something instead of the task itself. That being said, if I don’t have a good reason why, I let it go.

Handstands

With the start of this new year I have started a new job, started a new workout schedule and moved to a new city. I’m relishing in this sweet honeymoon period but I’m also trying to prepare myself for the future. Commitment is hard.

Let me know what goals you’ve set for yourself and how you keep yourself accountable!

But Really Though Reads – Break in Case of Emergency by Jessica Winter

Break in Case of Emergency is the best satirical takedown of celebrity philanthropy.

This novel balances, as Mike Schur put it “the moment in your life when you go from ‘young’ to ‘no longer young’”. It presents the stage where you are no longer the youngest person in the office but you don’t feel old enough to be making the decisions presented to you.

Winter’s work handles current global topics such as female friendships, pseudo-feminism, mental health, fertility and the monetary class divide. Jen, the main character, struggles with the absurdity of celebrity charities, the heart wrenching jealousy of the wealthy and the anxiety of having talent with no outlet for it.

Winter’s characters are lovable, multi-faceted and believably human. Jen has talent but lacks the privilege to live the life of her dreams, while it seems like everyone else around her has the monetary support to follow their artistic endeavours and take advantage of her on the way. Something that really resonated with me was her unwillingness to accuse her friends of taking advantage of her. Jen also refuses to let them help her out, not because of her pride but because she would never ask for what she couldn’t return. Women must help other women on the climb to the top without squashing anyone else on the way.

The character development and plot of this novel is what stood out the most to me. I would highly recommend this book to anyone in an in between phase looking for a humorous approach to dealing with the realities of the world we live in.