As I was dealing with a bout of insomnia, a friend asked what turned out to be a very insightful question: “do you think your trouble sleeping is related to the fact that you’re not as busy and have had lots of time to just think and reflect?”. Out of shear frustration and exhaustion, I barked back “I don’t know maybe”. It would later prompt even more introspection and much needed honesty on my part.
Due to some medical reasons and the choice to make changes in my career journey late last year, I’ve spent the past several weeks doing a lot less than what’s normal for me. Partly due to my physical recovery and partly my need to mentally slow down and recharge my batteries. But that has left me with a lot of non-busy time on my hands and I’ve realized that just maybe I’ve been defining myself too much in the “doing” rather than defining myself in “being”. See I’m great at doing. Just give me some project, job or task and I’m off. I’m discovering that when that is minimized, simply being creates a certain amount of anxiety for me. Inactivity cuts at the issues of self-worth and value. Internally, questions surface like “if I’m not doing anything, what use am I? What value do I bring to the table?”
Now before you all start emailing, tweeting and calling to make sure I’m okay, I’m fine. I don’t live in the space of anxiety all of the time but enough lately to take notice. I have to intentionally reaffirm my self-worth and value simply because I’m here. What I know is that I am enough and that I have inherent value regardless of what I’m doing and even if I’m not doing anything. But when you’re use to being very busy with all of the responsibilities of life, you can begin to define yourself by those activities and other people will define you by them as well. Ever notice how many people want to be around you when you seem to have lots going on? That’s not a bad thing. We’re all drawn to energy. But when the momentum is interrupted, things and people fall away. That’s not a bad thing either. What’s bad is that we turn on ourselves because we internalize the belief that doing trumps being.
This time of transition and slowing down has been great for me…a sabbatical of sorts. It’s helped me to recognize some great and not so great things about myself and sometimes the constant introspection has kept me up nights, like right now:-).
I’d encourage everyone to take some time to slow down, recharge your batteries and get to know yourself better. Recognize that you are enough simply because you ARE. The “doing” is merely an expression of who you are. Plan to take a week or two off this year to be with yourself and maybe even be by yourself. Don’t fill the time with lots of activities….just BE.
And with that…..good night (or morning depending on where you are in the world).