Have you ever wondered, “Why am I doing this?” – “this” could be your job, it could be working on yourself, it could be times you’ve had it up to your neck with your kids or husband (or wife).
I’ve wondered about it…it used to be a lot of times, now not so much. But it’s still there bubbling up , floating in the air then popping away into nothingness as I shush it away.
Sometimes the answer is really quite straight forward : It’s because the job pays the bills, it’s because it will help you find yourself or become healthier (or let’s face it, just lose a few pounds), it’s because as a parent it’s your responsibility to discipline your kids (and husband?), it’s because you love your kids, it’s because it’s expected of you.
Sometimes the answer really isn’t that clear because underneath the obvious answers there is this other question of “Why?” or “But to what end?” or “For what?!”
Most times the second question has to do with this feeling of being unappreciated. You do and do and do. You do so much until the things that you thought you enjoyed doing turns out to be a chore, until you want to rip your hair out because you feel so frustrated and no one seems to care!
If it’s a job, you drag yourself to work most days. You’re rushing for this and that deadlines, you feel drained, sometimes you don’t even know what you’re doing there! (that’s happened to me before!)
If it’s taking care of your family, there are times when you check yourself in the mirror to see if you are invisible, or on the other extreme all you seem to be is a dumping ground of “I want. I need. ”
If it’s taking care of yourself and trying to do something you actually like to do, it’s this feeling of “I’m wasting my time, I could be (insert whatever else in here, except what you want to do). The feeling reeks with so much of guilt you could smell it a mile a way.
Here’s the thing to think about : In all honesty, who should be the one really valuing what you do? Is it you or the other person?
It all starts with us. That’s what all the self-help books say. And it’s true. If we don’t value the work that we do, then no one will. If we don’t find that deeper meaning to what we do daily, then no one will. If we are waiting for others to appreciate and put a value into the things that we do, even if we are given that appreciation…it’s not going to resonate with us. Why? Because within us, we do not value it.
“Wax on, wax off, wax on, wax off, wax on …” Do you remember this classic from the Karate Kid movie? Ralph Macchio’s (Daniel LaRusso)character had no idea what he was doing, he thought it was a silly idea, he thought that he was being used to clean Mr Miyagi’s car instead of being taught the real karate stuff. He did it anyway, with a lot of grumbling until he realized the there really was a reason for him doing it. Only then did he realize the value of waxing the car! It would be great if all the reasons that we do and experience in our lives were that clear. But it isn’t. Sometimes it is, sometimes it takes time for us to see it and then there are times when the reasons completely escape us or we just don’t see it. Just like in the movie, Mr. Miyagi never tells Daniel the reason behind it. He just cryptically says that he is being trained and leaves it at that. It’s only later in the movie that Daniel (and the viewers) realize it.
Everything we do is of value. Why? Because we invest our time and our energies into it. And we are valuable. We are worthy. When we respect what we do, when we respect our time, ultimately when we respect ourselves then even clearing the dinner table is made valuable. Regardless if you are a CEO in a multi-national company or a waiter , you are valuable. What you do is valuable. All that we do, all the time that we invest and the energy we expend, it is towards something and someone. It is not wasted. That someone can be yourself or it can be others. That something can contribute towards your own joy and self growth or it can be shared with others. It’s doesn’t matter. Because even if you feel that it is only affecting you…remember YOU are worth it too! Worthiness is not exclusive, it is all inclusive.
And if your time and energy is valuable, then you need to learn to respect it as much as you would respect your boss’s time. If your boss’s time is valuable then so is the janitor’s time. And when we learn to respect our time and value ourselves, trusting that each of us has a part to play in this great body of the Universe, then we will learn to place value on all that we do and be grateful to be a part of it. For you see, every cell in the body makes a body whole. Every musical instrument, even the humble triangle, makes the symphony whole, beautiful and wonderful. Every ray of sunshine is as important as the sun.
The thing is most of us forget that. We are so focused on one goal after the next, and the next until we lose sight of the true reason we do any thing. We forget to smell the roses because we are so focused on making sure the arrangement is as flawless as Martha Steward’s.
We place so much value on what others think , what others expect from us and what others are doing and saying, that we completely forget about our own value.
Well and good smarty pants, but now what?
Ahem..*adjusts pants*… 😛
1. Do what you want to do WITHOUT FEAR OR GUILT. Take time out, MAKE time out and LOVE what you do. Whatever it is, even if it’s smiling at your reflection as you polish the dining table! Treat what you do as so valuable and precious because it just is!
2. Approach work with the view that you are doing something for the benefit of mankind, even if you are responsible for handing out the mail at the office. Your work is important because it is that puzzle piece which completes the picture, and every one that knows about puzzles know even one small piece is crucial!
3. Value your time and space. Set boundaries and realistic time frames. No one works alone unless you are self-employed and even then you work with your clients…and…yourself. Treat yourself with the same kind of love you give to your kids. If you don’t have kids, then give the same love you would your pet. And if you don’t have one, treat your time and space as you would your most expensive stuff in your house or your favourite book.
4. Set a purpose or remember your purpose. This is not what is expected of you as a parent, employee, friend, spouse. It is your purpose. Where do you come from? What is the standard that you hold your attitudes and actions against? Your ideal. An ideal that is based on love and goodness.
5. In all that you do, do it with a spirit of gratitude. Being grateful that you play an important role in the pattern of life and the Universe.
Do you have any more ideas about how to value you, your time and space ? It would be awesome if you could share it too 🙂
I’d like to end with some thing that I learned during a class that I am taking:
We must start valuing our time and space. Not only of ours, but that of others – all Creation. Even God doesn’t trespass our boundaries.
When we value our time and space, it means we respect it. So in all the we do, we have to immerse ourselves fully. To do so understand that you need to place value on yourself, to remove the doubts and fears that you are not worthy. That is the basic fear that causes our plans to go haywire. When we feel we don’t deserve the time to do what we want, one of the reasons could be our sense of not being worthy (guilt) allows us to attract things that will stop us from doing so.
* This is post was inspired on the day I was writing up my notes for the mentioned class and when I took my regular break at a coffee shop, as I watched an employee of the restaurant next to where I was, wiping down a glass door…singing away and just enjoying what she was doing.