Since I was little, this idea has been drilled into my head: "Your level of productivity determines your worth."
Can you relate?
I've reflected on this whole "productivity = worth" thing for quite some time, wanting to get to the bottom of it so that I can truly deprogram myself from its grip and remember my inherent worth. So many people feel they need to always be DOING something in order to be lovable or successful ... and they aren't even conscious of it.
In recent years, I became more conscious of this ingrained belief system. Even in the moments when I wasn't working, I found myself scrolling on Instagram, watching something on Netflix or spending an hour catching up with a never-ending list of commitments.
Reflecting on my habits and behavior, I began to realize something ... something huge. Even in the moments I wasn't working -- even in the moments I was "resting" -- I was constantly occupying myself with something in order to feel productive. I can't tell you how many times I caught myself scrolling on my phone, not even paying attention to what I was looking at. It was scrolling for the sake of scrolling. I wasn't even entertained. It was as though my thumbs were "twiddling," and I was simply scrolling to feel like I was doing something ... or so that I didn't have to sit in silence and feel unproductive.
Seeking to heal the core of this pattern and find inner peace, I turned toward my spiritual mentor. I told her I was struggling with screen addiction, and that beneath it, I felt I always needed to be doing something. She told me that each time I catch myself scrolling, I should ask myself this question:
What feeling am I avoiding right now?
(This question, by the way, helps with any negative pattern. Try it sometime!)
Since this question came into my life, I've shifted my relationship with technology ... and with myself. I began pausing to ask myself this question, becoming conscious of my patterns. I would stop what I was doing, close my eyes, take a breath and tune into what emotions were present beneath the surface.
I found that beneath the scrolling, Netflixing and social obligations was a building anxiety that I was terrified to face. It was the anxiety of constantly feeling that I needed to be busy and productive. It was the anxiety of feeling not enough. It was the anxiety of feeling unworthy of taking time for myself. It was the anxiety of not making my dreams a reality.
This revealed a deeper layer -- even when I was resting, I felt guilty or as if I was falling behind. Even when I was resting, I wasn't really “resting” ... my nervous system was in overdrive. I was in fight-or-flight, unable to truly rest when I needed to. Yet at the same time, these habits were essentially unproductive. Scrolling wasn't getting me closer to my dreams becoming a reality. It wasn't helping me feel more worthy. It was pushing me further away from what I desired.
It was a distraction. And what was it really distracting me from? Myself.
I knew something needed to change. I knew I couldn't put it off any longer, because the anxiety was fueling this addictive pattern that was essentially draining my energy and sabotaging my time. I'd even lie awake at night in regret of how I had spent my time that day. I had thoughts such as, "Wow, that got out of hand. This isn't the life I chose. Okay, I'll do better tomorrow." Then, I'd wake up and do it all over again. I was ready for a change. A big change.
Enter, self-care and ancestral healing.
Self-care isn’t a fad. It’s how we heal generations of hardship. Imagine all your ancestors who couldn't take time for self-care -- all your ancestors who lived and breathed and had lives just as real as yours, who did what they had to do to survive.
"Imagine all your ancestors who couldn't take time for self-care -- all your ancestors who lived and breathed and had lives just as real as yours, who did what they had to do to survive."
Your ancestors live in your every cell. They live in your DNA. They live in your blood. And when you tend to yourself, you tend to them. When you take care of yourself, you help to rewire this ancient fight-or-flight nervous system response that has been living in your body and in their bodies for millennia.
Imagine all the women in your lineage who put the needs of their husbands and children before themselves. Realistically you have thousands of female ancestors who had to sacrifice their desires, hopes and dreams so that you can be here today.
Every time you take time for self-care, you help to heal them.
Imagine all the men in your lineage who lived in pure survival mode, doing what needed to be done, repressing their emotions so that they could simply get by and provide for their family or protect their tribe.
Every time you take time for self-care, you help to heal them.
Imagine all your ancestors who hid their gifts, their magic or their opinions. Imagine all your ancestors who lived in silence, unable to express their true feelings or their own sexuality, or who lived under the thumb of oppressive systems that dehumanized them.
Every time you take time for self-care, you help to heal them. And this heals you, too.
An important part of healing is reprogramming trauma responses, such as fight-or-flight, out of our nervous systems. Many of us are walking around with our nervous systems in a permanent state of ancestral overdrive, and we don’t even know it!
Even science has proven how trauma gets passed down through the generations via the studies of epigenetics. Yep -- there’s a spiritual and scientific way to let go of the programming you inherited at birth. Ultimately, when you take time for self-care, it helps heal your ancestors, your descendants and the world.
There is a major shift happening in our culture right now in which the stigma around mental health, self-love and emotional well-being is finally being lifted. And when you take time for self-care, reflect on your emotions and truly prioritize your healing, you are a part of this shift. You are a part of this movement.
It’s time to heal yourself and your lineage and find freedom from old patterns. I'm so glad you found your way here to JunaBlu, which is full of resources to support you in your self-care journey.
Written by Torie Feldman, Founder of Sacred Ancestry.