Fear of being unproductive

How long can you be comfortable doing nothing before your thoughts take you for a fear ride? Do you get restless or bored when you are left with nothing to do – not even your phone to scroll? Are you comfortable choosing peace over productivity – or do you need to be productive for you to feel at ease?

Some of the major struggles people are going through these days like anxiety and depression are to a great extent born out of attaching our self-worth with productivity. We as a society have given productivity such high importance that there are many of us who feel a sense of ‘guilt’ when we have nothing to do. It evokes the feeling that we are not measuring up to the standard in our head. It evokes fear and restlessness and leaves us on a downward spiral of self-doubt and criticism.

While this obsession with productivity is expected to make us more productive, the very same thing messes with our productivity, and more importantly with our mental health.

In this way of chasing worthiness, we constantly keep falling short as we are dependent on our achievements & milestones to make us feel worthy. We constantly keep chasing the next big thing - which is a never-ending cycle. Every free time beyond what we feel we deserve and can afford makes us feel uneasy - it triggers fear and restlessness in us.

Busyness and goal chasing becomes a way to avoid just sitting and feeling our difficult feelings. It becomes an escape from the truth we are afraid to confront. It becomes easier to focus on tasks that keep us occupied rather than meeting the fear we are not ready to face.

In most cases, if not all, these beliefs and patterns around productivity have got into our system from an early age – where we were appreciated for the things we did right. These appreciations became the source of our happiness, which slowly weaved a belief in us that in order to be happy we need to accumulate more of it.

While to some extent this belief might have motivated us to do better in life, it makes us depend on our achievements, appreciations and external validation to feel worthy. We keep needing more and wanting to do more. We feel the constant need to prove ourselves. Each time life demands us to slow down and relax, we become uncomfortable.

The only way to heal out of this deep sense of lack is by questioning the notion of not being good enough, and discovering the truth that it is a mirage we are carrying in our head. We are worthy as we are, for who we are, despite how successful or unsuccessful we are in terms of our achievements.

The irony is that the more we accept and make peace with who we are, we can stop proving to others, stop doubting or criticizing ourselves and focus on being productive without having to burn ourselves out. We can learn to rest, without having to feel guilty. We can feel worthy & fulfilled without having to depend on any external forces.

Our worth just is - let's not be foolish trying to measure it or prove it. Let's allow our light to illuminate the world.

Categories: Relationship with self