For the past few months, I cringe when I look at my calendar. When someone asks me when I can meet for coffee, I take out my phone, look at my calendar, and respond by saying,” How’s October 21st, 9:30 AM, in the YEAR 2025?”
I’ve busied myself! I’ve said “yes” to too many things for so many reasons. By examining my busyness, I’ve noticed some patterns. It’s a lifelong story of mine that I am rewriting RIGHT NOW!
What’s the anatomy of your busyness? See if any of these patterns or stories speak to you.
- Being busy is the only way I feel worthy – I use my “to do list” as a way of validating myself. If I do more, I am worthy, valuable, perfect, smart, giving, loving. If I do less, I am lazy, self-indulgent and unworthy of love, acceptance, happiness, abundance, health.
- Hey! Look at Me! – I don’t know how to express my needs and desires; so, I’m going to busy myself with constant self-sacrifice, a full schedule, always saying “yes!” I do it for attention, affection, love, sympathy, and appraisal. I use my busyness as a cry for help, and to be seen.
- Fear – If I don’t busy myself, I might lose my job, my house, my money, my clients, my friends, my family, my life. If I’m not “doing,” I’m a failure. Another opportunity may never come along.
- If I am a member of the “Do More Club,” I’ll be noticed for landing a promotion, a raise, or the corner office. If I selflessly sacrifice my time. I am a team player.
- Life is HARD! - I have to busy myself in order to prove my strength, perseverance, and discipline. Otherwise, I’m lazy and weak. If I’m not suffering, the other shoe will drop.
Check in. Have you said, “I’m: too busy to exercise, too busy to be social, too busy to spend time with people I love, too busy to be creative, too busy to meditate, too busy to go to the grocery, too busy to sleep, too busy to journal, too busy to date, too busy to go on vacation, too busy to cook, too busy to TAKE CARE OF MYSELF?”
Respect for your time demonstrates respect for yourself. What if you practiced the art of saying “no?” What if you were enough, just the way you are? What if you were worthy of love without doing self-sabotaging acts to receive validation? How would you spend your time? How would life be different?
Jessica Sharpenstein, M.S., C.W.C.