As adults, we have choices. We have the ability to choose what makes us worthy or not. No longer are we beholden to other people’s standards. As children, we were often made to believe that idleness invited sin. If our time was not occupied every moment by chores and tasks, hobbies and playdates, structured down to the very hour, then we would surely find our way into trouble. We were also taught when we got older that unless we made ourselves valuable and worked very hard, we were at risk of losing our jobs. The fear that we are easily replaced unless we are exceptionally productive was instilled very early on. That fear and those beliefs have established patterns of behavior over the years that have led some of us to become workaholics. We forget we have a choice. We don’t have to participate in other people’s fears and beliefs. Instead, we can decide for ourselves the way things really are and how we believe they should be.
On this topic, Anne Wilson Schaef writes:
“Addiction to work is not something that crops up suddenly in mid-life. The seeds have often been sown in our childhoods, and we are only living out the rules and expectations that our parents instilled in us.
How many of our parents really believed that idleness is the devil’s workshop and that if they did not keep us constantly busy, there was no telling what we would get into? How many of us are really afraid of idle, quiet time when nothing is on the schedule?
One mayor of a large midwest city publicly stated that if he looked at his calendar and Tuesday night was free, he immediately thought that his staff had goofed. He also stated that his workaholism had ruined his marriage and his health.”
Living life according to other people’s rules and expectations is an easy trap to fall into. Many of us are fooled into believing there is no other way. We don’t see these rules and expectations as what they really are—a construct, something others created which are not necessarily the end-all, be-all truth, but instead simply their perception of the world. We have options. We don’t have to simply live in the world as others see it. We can perceive things for ourselves, make up our own minds about how the world is and how we want to live in it. We were made to create the world we live in, not merely exist in it as it is. So few people embrace this opportunity for creation and invention, and instead blindly do what others tell them based on their own fears and insecurities. People push their fears and insecurities onto us. They mean well, and their intentions are good. They merely want to keep us safe from harm, but we must ask ourselves, how much good is it really doing us to live in fear like this? We are worthy of a better life. We are worthy of making our own choices.