Epiphany: Why Glorifying Busy Is Self-Hatred
January always feels sort of momentous, doesn’t it? A time of beginning. The shift from holiday to quiet. The time to resolve. And for Christians, the time of the Epiphany, the Savior revealed to the world.
This one is a time of lower-case epiphanies for me, too. No royal gifts. Just a few ideas.
Four years ago, I wrote “Saying Goodbye to the Red Queen,” about how exhausting it can be trying to keep up. Since writing that, my life has changed in a lot of ways, and while many of them are for the better, they sure weren’t simple. One big one is that I became self-employed. But also, I got diagnosed.*
And so, health stopped being an addendum, and began to feel like the whole point. Now, four years later, I’m still at it. It can still feel really hard to keep up. But, my first epiphany: there isn’t a “solution.” Healthy is just small habits. Very many, every day, always. That sometimes sounds daunting, but mostly, it feels encouraging. It’s just turtle steps.
Last week I listened to “The Hustle Is Fake,” an episode of the “Harder to Kill Radio” podcast by Steph Gaudreau (whose work I’ve loved for years). It’s worth a listen, but this was one of her basic points:
“Stop the glorification of busy.”
Yes. Yes. Praise-hands-emoji yes. I am so over people who use “busy” as a response to “how are you?” I am over people who make me feel inade-
I am not over people who make me feel inadequate. I am over making myself feel inadequate. That’s what it truly is.
You see, I feel guilty. Now. Always. Whatever I’m doing.
I’ve done plenty of things that I really should feel guilty about. But I live in guilt as general state of being, and that’s the problem.
If I get a good night’s sleep, I’m ashamed of being lazy; but if I don’t get enough sleep, I’m ashamed of being disorganized. There’s no right answer. And it happens in so many ways. I’m dissatisfied with myself no matter what. If I speak up, I’ve said the wrong thing; if I stay quiet, I haven’t been brave. If I get one thing done, I’ve said no to two other things.
“Nobody can make you feel inferior without your consent.” – Eleanor Roosevelt
(But… what if you’re the one making yourself feel inferior?)
I set goals that are impossible and then I hate myself for missing them.
My second epiphany: This is stupid.
It’s unhealthy. And it’s ineffective.
There is real stress and chaos in life. Inventing more with rumination and overthinking is sapping energy that I could be using on good things, and it’s not appreciating all that I do have.
“What one calls the interruptions are precisely one’s real life – the life God is sending one day by day.” – C.S. Lewis
I am so lucky in so many ways. And I try so hard to deserve it. And I always fall short. And I feel terrible.
But that’s life, isn’t it? None of us deserve what we have. We’ve been given a gift beyond imagining and yes, of course, we should appreciate and try to deserve it… but I am starting to understand that it’s okay that I can’t achieve that. We never can. That is how it is.
And maybe, that’s the whole point. Maybe that’s the third and biggest Epiphany.