Value Through Doing
Photo by Dylan Gillis on Unsplash
Are you someone who finds their worth and value through completing tasks and being productive? Many of us received approval as children when we accomplished things and performed well. In fact, for some of us, acceptance and approval was directly tied to our usefulness and we therefore convinced ourselves that love from others is contingent on our accomplishments. We may then believe that "we are loved for what we do" instead of "being loved for who we are." While it feels good to check things off items from our proverbial chores list, we will probably die before it is completed. Some of us struggle with just being instead of always doing. Personally, I have a hard time sitting still and prefer activity over inactivity. Although for me physical activity like exercise provides a wonderful outlet for stress reduction, often I struggle with the human "being over doing" part of life. Ultimately, we want to find a healthy balance both in activities and connections to people. But the main point is that our identity, self-worth, and value should not be tied into how much we accomplish and achieve in life. Rather our worthiness should be judged from a mix of our accomplishments, character/integrity, successful relationships, our faith relationship, and our positive impact on others.
If work defines you and much of your identity is tied to your career accomplishments, it is time to rethink your life. If we judge how successful we are through our material possessions and wealth, with the mindset of "the person with the most toys wins," we will miss out on the joy of healthy relationships. It is hard to find contentment when you are focused on collecting more and more prizes. I was caught up in that mindset early on in my career, but through a health crisis realized that things don't make us happy, at least for the long-term. Of course having a strong work ethic and being productive in life has value, but we need to create life balance. Otherwise we run the risk of putting too much time, thought, energy, and value into one area of life. In fact I believe having a diversified life with multiple sources of fulfillment and happiness creates more opportunity for success.
Making a change will require a shift in priorities and a modified mindset. What do you value most in your life? When we focus more on people over possessions we have added risk, but greater payoff. Finding purpose and meaning for our lives can be a struggle at any age. Figuring out what gives you satisfaction sometimes requires some trial and error. Often reflection and being still are required to discern your purpose. Personally, journaling helps me as does sharing thoughts/ideas with friends and family who can sometimes provide wonderful guidance. We can find great value in learning from others through reading, listening, watching, and observing with an open mind and heart. Lastly we need to keep challenging ourselves, step out of our comfort zone, and never stop learning. Our greatest asset is our time so we need to choose wisely how to spend it. Find your internal worth that is not dependent on your achievements or your bank balance. Remember we are all a work in progress, so don't give up on yourself.