Honestly, it’s something I struggle with.
I associate doing nothing with the abyss of depression that I’ve sunk into too many times before. But there’s a difference between feeling paralyzed by despair and allowing yourself to simply be. And it’s not something that’s acceptable in the culture I grew up in.
I was always praised for working hard. Of course! Duh! If you grew up in American or Polish (or hybrid) culture like I did, you most likely won’t even think twice about equating hard work with personal value. So let’s break this down for a second.
Am I less worthy as a human being if I rest instead of doing something “productive”? Are you less valuable as a person if you lay on the couch/beach/poolside rather than read a book or do extra work?
Pause for a moment and read that again, aloud if you can.
Did you answer “yes”? Did you feel like maybe you want to answer “no”? Why?
I’m so curious to hear what you think about this because I personally have a very hard time unpacking this – that’s how ingrained “hard work = value” has sunk in my subconscious. I actually feel like a terrible person if I sit on the couch all day. Can I call it productive if I’m resting? But why do I always have to be productive in the first place? Are dogs productive? No, yet they’re consistently the happiest creatures I’ve ever met.
So what am I missing here? Are you missing it too? Doing nothing is scary for those of us who place our worth as human beings into the work we do. Am I improving myself? Am I helping the world? No? So I’m a waste of human cells? Sure, I can want to improve myself, I can want to help the world, but even if I’m not actively doing those things, I am worthy of being. Simply being, not doing. And you are too.
That’s who we are: human beings, not human doings.
If you give yourself a hard time (like I do), for doing nothing, remember that. And maybe give yourself a break.
P.S. If you’re ready to simply be, join me for my next Yoga Nidra session by signing up here.