I spent the last five days working remotely, because I needed to be alone and near nature. In between sprints, I took time to be under the sun, doing nothing, except closing my eyes and allowing my thoughts to wash over me.
This was not voluntary. I was forced to take lengthy breaks, because I have been nursing a chronic eye strain that wouldn’t go away. It was either I rest my eyes, or I will be in pain. If I was in perfect health, I would be either working my bones out, or trying to sponge myself in information.
I ended up feeling like I accomplished more than I ever would if I had sat eight hours straight in the office, but I had this ambient sense that I didn’t work hard enough, precisely because I didn’t sit in front of a screen for eight hours straight.
This is not logical, and it is ridiculous. Why am I measuring the quality of my work with the time I had spent on it?
I think society has conditioned us to believe that we have to feel all drained, stressed and anxious to feel like we have really worked our asses off. It seems wrong to feel relaxed and centered after finishing a challenging task. Yet dealing with complexity requires mental clarity and focus. How do we solve problems when we keep feeling like we are about to break apart anytime?
I blame my lack of self-love. Really. If I loved myself enough, I would know that I am enough. I don’t have to feel like I have to wear myself out to deserve a seat at the table. If I trusted myself enough, I would have faith that I would be able to accomplish the work, regardless of how much time I have spent on it, or how hard I felt like I worked at it.
If I truly care about the work, I need to rise above my personal neuroses and see that the work itself is not asking me to over-work myself, it is asking of me to do it well.
It is an on-going journey, fraught with more challenges, to be more honest with myself. Am I working so hard because of the work, or because I need to be validated?
Sometimes, it becomes worse as I realize I am not seeking validation from other people, but from myself, because I just do not love myself, enough.