‘To do’ lists for the soul?
Do you really need a ‘To do’ list for living?!
We all obsess over ‘getting things done’, and ‘being productive’ - we’re made to feel guilty if we haven’t ‘achieved’ or ‘succeeded’, ‘proved our worth’ by completing the longest and most exhausting list of jobs and requirements - from obsessively cheating our inbox, to having the best and newest phone, or the highest number of ‘likes’ and followers.
And all that ‘doing’ is slowly killing us - not only physically, but emotionally and spiritually
And I’m as bad as everyone else. Here I am, struggling with depression and self-worth - and how do I habitually try to make it better? I make myself lists, and create calendar prompts and reminders: my whole day from 6am to 9pm timetabled into little slots for when I must meditate, and do yoga, or practice piano; I even had timed reminders to ‘be grateful’...!
They were there to try to help me when I’m low and unmotivated, but all I did was use them to nag and bully myself into being/feeling ‘productive’ - regardless of how I was feeling, and in complete denial of what my body might need, or be capable of on each day. And instead of helping me feel like I was doing and getting better, it all too often just made me feel bad for the days when my body just said ‘No!’ - because I still had ‘jobs’ to do, and couldn’t therefore ‘just sit, and take the time to just do what I need, and to actually get better’.
And so, on the advice of my therapist, Jamie this week I deleted the lot. Every single nagging prompt and passive-aggressive calendar alert.
And it felt really scary at first - afterall, “how will I know what I’m ‘supposed’ to do next if it’s not pre-planned and written down?!?” - but as Jamie said “If something really needs to get done, it’ll get done. But if it doesn’t, did it matter...?
And I think he does have a point.
We live in a culture of ‘doing’ not Being - of social pressure and virtue signalling, and of having to ‘prove’ your value and worth by being busy and productive 24/7. But all that business just feeds our ‘value-in-doing’ culture, and pushes us to feel we must ‘do’ to the point of exhaustion and unhappiness - and it encourages us to seek validation and self-worth through comparing our ‘doing’ and ‘succeeding’ against others, which makes us ultimately feel like we’re never enough.
Ego gets stuck in needing to feel busy; it likes to feel you’re ‘important’ and ‘productive’ - and IN CONTROL. And all that ‘to do’ box ticking just feeds that addiction. But all too often it’s also just a way to make ourselves feel like we’ve not ‘achieved’, or done enough - that WE are not enough in ourselves, unless we have ‘succeeded’ and BEEN SEEN at succeeding.
It’s pure external validation. And it slowly kills the soul.
When was that last time you had an hour just to sit and do nothing but be in the peace and silence of your own self? Guilt-free and for the pure reason of just BEING - where you are, as you are, with no expectations or demands? When did you last give your self as much time and attention as you give to those To Do lists?
So the laundry gets done tomorrow, or the floor only gets hoovered once or twice a week - Did the household collapse into chaos and depravity? did anyone die?
Because, in the big scheme of living, YOU and your family and the time you have together before it’s gone - that’s all that matters 🤗