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.

Worth It: How I Find the Motivation to Get to Bed on Time

I suck at mornings and I need motivation to get it together. I’m a mediocre sleeper and I’m awful at falling asleep so naturally mornings are not my jam. I’ve struggled with mornings my whole life. My mother’s favorite anecdote about High School Emily is that she could wake me up at 7:30 and I was at the school, make up done and showered, by 7:45 (in all fairness we lived about two minutes away from the school). 

My Morning Motivation Problem

I’ve carried this hatred for mornings my whole life. It is the Monday to my Garfield. I’ve flirted with being a morning person off and on for years. I’m usually really good at it after we “Spring Forward” the clocks (I know that makes no sense but Brenton can back me up on this, apparently I’m good at losing two hours) but I struggle to keep it up. I’ve tried everything to be better at sleep. Chamomile tea, lavender oil, sleep sprays, no phones before bed, a steady bedtime routine, and bedtime lotions. I’ve read books about sleep. I’ve tried CBD gummies. I meditate. I did all the right things and still even as recently as last week I was skipping my morning routine for extra sleep. 

The most successful thing I’ve tried (prior to last week) was having Brenton wake me up and drag me from the bed Freaky Friday style. Unfortunately, he is much too kind of a human to actually pull me from bed and my sad pleas to sleep in or negotiations to go to the gym that night always won. Recently, it got to the point where I was skipping the gym just to stay in bed (for more than my healthy 8-9 hours). This lack of morning routine set my days up for failure because I never fully woke up or got my post workout endorphin high that let me take on the day. It put me in a negative mental spiral where I decided that I was doomed to suck at mornings and would never get back in the habit of mornings. It got dark and I got annoyed.

What Changed and Gave Me Motivation?

So after all this drama, self hatred, and frustration around sleep what finally did it for me? My drama was too much for me. I decided I was worth getting up and having a healthy workout, walk my dog, drink coffee (or tea) with Brenton, and get my head on straight before I started the day. In other words, I decided I was worth it. I decided I was worth giving myself unconditional love by taking care of myself in the morning before I went in to work to take care of others. I decided I was worth it. And honestly, it worked. 

Will the Motivation Last?

Now I’m not saying I won’t ever sleep in again (especially when I need that rest or I’m sick) but I am saying the mind is our most powerful tool. Did I want to sleep in today? Absolutely! Did I get up and go to the gym anyways? Yes, because I’m worth it. “I’m worth it” is now my morning negative thought pattern interrupter. Every time I doubt my ability to get up and start the day or every time I debate asking Brenton if he can walk Herman alone so I can sleep in I grumble – no, because I’m worth it and I get up and do the damn thing. 

Now I’m applying this to everything I do. Will this work forever? Only time will tell. But does it work for now? Yes, because I’m worth it.