I used to wear “busy” as a badge of honor.
I totally forgot to eat a meal, but at least I created content and posted, right?
I got to interview someone awesome, so what if I’m running on little sleep? I just got invited to this really cool thing. Snap a pic. Post again. Write. Edit. Post. Repeat.
What’s sleeping and eating? Yay, productivity! Yay, accomplishment!
There was a time that I truly believed that this behavior was something to be celebrated.
That was me two years ago.
Like many of you, I was someone who bought into the hustle and grind culture. And boy, did I hustle. Hustled myself to the ground. But where exactly did that get me at my lowest of lows? When I went to bed at night, didn’t I still have to face the reality of my life?
I’m not going to lie. Productivity sure is great. I did accomplish many things. They were met – for the most part – with positivity. What more could I possibly ask for?
Two years later, I can now sincerely tell you that I used productivity as an escape from the difficult emotions I was running away from.
2018 was when I first talked a big talk about not pouring from an empty cup (which didn’t turn out so hot).
2019, however, turned out to be the hardest year of my life. I lost someone really close to me. When I say that changed everything, I mean it changed everything. It really made me reflect on what truly matters in life. On what truly mattered to me.
Before last year, I used to put so much value in what I did, what I’m doing, and what I’m about to do next. Always just doing. Never taking a pause to breathe. And just be a human being.
On top of that, I used to look to social media for validation. The humblebrag. You’ve done it. We’ve all done it.
I did it because it stemmed from my own personal need for external validation. But it felt empty. Sure, it can be helpful sometimes, but for me, it came at what cost? Who was I proving this to? And what exactly am I proving?
My “busy” badge of honor resulted in missing meals, lack of sleep, one-sided and low-vibrational “friendships” and “situationships,” tiredness resulting in colds, and eventual burnout – all for what? Likes and hearts? For the sake of my seeming attempt to “connect” with others, it turned out I was instead trying to prove something. Prove my worth.
However, earlier this summer, I learned that I have nothing to prove to anyone anymore. I can just be.
That’s not to say the transition from all of that to healthier behaviors happened overnight. It didn’t. I was sad. Angry. Grieving. Doing. Doing. Doing. Escaping. Avoiding.
I fought long and hard – maybe a whole year before I actually decided to help myself. I was searching for an instant solution to these ugly feels I didn’t want to feel and anyone who can help me feel “properly.”
One of the first few things I did to combat this was to delete my personal Instagram before Christmas. I intentionally removed myself on (what used to be my staple) social media because I no longer wanted to perform. I eliminated the validation that the platform seemingly gave me; I also took it away from people who didn’t really know the real me.
The next time I give Instagram another go, I want to strive to be more mindful and intentional and to really connect.
I’m still a work in progress. We all are. I don’t have all the answers.
What works for me won’t necessarily work for you. You’ll find out what that is by trial and error because – something we often forget is that – your body knows what it needs. Always. What works for me now is my morning routine which is an hour of both HeadSpace and Shine App meditations, journaling, and words of affirmations. When there’s time, I dance even just for 10 min. All before my first sip of tea and before I tackle my e-mails and my writings for the day.
With that said, my biggest breakthrough didn’t find me until I intentionally decided to finally help myself. Then, almost suddenly, I met people who were truly able to help me realize some truths about myself. Like how it’s me who has been standing in my own way this whole time. How I’ve been using my achievements to define my worth. How I’m really just in competition with myself and no one else. And more importantly, what I learned is that we truly only have one life and all you have to prove anything to is to yourself.