My Value Is Not My Accomplishments

February 26, 2021

“Hey, can you talk later this afternoon?” A friend of mine texted me a few mornings ago. I started typing and kept deleting my answer to a seemingly innocuous question. I really wanted to talk to her, but a part of me felt super guilty that I would be taking time out of my day and away from my work…aka where I believed my energy “should” be going. Since the want in my heart to talk to her was greater than the little voice inside my head telling me I should be working I scheduled a call with her for later that day. Hours later, when I hung up, I immediately started beating myself up. Thinking about all the things I could’ve accomplished in that hour. All the things that needed to be done. But there was this little warmth in my heart that was there because I connected with someone I loved. 

Later in the week, I told my therapist about this. That:

1) I felt terribly guilty for taking time out of my workday to talk to a friend and also

2) that I felt super guilty that I took thirty minutes at lunch to watch some TV. I felt like TV wasn’t something I “should” be doing during the day. 

And I think it’s important to note that should is a dangerous word because things we “should” be doing often mean we are not listening to what we need most. 

When I spoke with my therapist she pointed out that my brand is me and therefore speaking to a friend is part of what I need to do to keep myself whole and afloat and that watching TV in the middle of the day is a part of my self-care that I so desperately need to pay attention to because if I don’t I’m going to burn out. The script in my mind is constantly telling me that I am not doing enough. Not working hard enough. That I am not enough unless I am accomplishing things. 

So here are some things I am doing to help me flip the script on my accomplishment mindset:

1.         At the end of the day instead of reviewing my To-Do list for all the things I didn’t do I quietly sit and go over in my head all the things I did do, even seemingly mundane things like the dishes, or making our bed.

2.         I remind myself that self-care is just as valid as money-making activities. My value does not lie in what I produce, but in who I am. And who I am is not what I do.

3.         I sit with my journal at the end of the day and write down three things that brought me joy.

4.         I write out weekly goals at the beginning of every week for flexibility. I don’t then constantly feel behind because it’s impossible to get everything done in one day. I can spread it out over seven days into doable chunks with an understanding of the overall goal

These are the lessons I am hoping I can take with me even after a pandemic. The reminder that spending time connecting with friends and family is just as valuable as work activities. That doing something that brings you joy in the middle of the day isn’t a waste, it’s what leads you to a sustainable life. 

I love you, please for all that is good in this world take care of yourself. It’s easy to lose sight of the big picture when you haven’t left your house in a while or when your work is about ten feet or less from your bed, but it’s necessary to create that space for self-care. There are so many blogs and podcasts and people talking about it for a reason. We can only give what we have and if we’re running on empty…well, you know what’s going to happen. I love you, I’m thinking about you, and I’m sending you so much care and hoping you can be a little less hard on yourself today with me. XOXOX, CAMDW

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