We think we have to do so much in order to be proud of who we are.
I have certainly lived that way for the longest time. Until it burnt me out.
Me, the woman who once upon a time had a thousand things to do per day, and a thousand activities and accomplishments to show for herself, was suddenly not able to get out of bed for the entire day, and crying had become the main activity. In those days, the shame of not being productive was eating me up, and occupying all my thoughts, preventing me from doing the very things I was expecting myself to do. Was it because of how I was raised, was it a collective fear coming online very strongly, was it a trauma from a very young age suddenly resurfacing? I believe it was a combination of all three. In any case, clearly a strongly engrained belief that “I’m not good enough as I am” had been making me do all sorts of things to remedy that.
My exhausted body was ready to end this cycle. I was ready to stop those tears.
Of course the pursuit of a worthiness given by the external world is a never ending one. Because the original problem, believing that we need to do something in order to be valuable, doesn’t actually exist unless we buy into it.
It is a collective belief that is probably as old as the first words that humans uttered. And it has lived on until now, dispersed through every crack of humanity. It now lives in the words we use, in the films we see, in the teachings we get at school, in our interactions with our friends and family, in our relationships…
Today’s society is fully infused with an overwhelming celebration of the “do/act/perform/show/give” energy, commonly called masculine energy (which has nothing to do with genders, it is just a way of differentiating the “giving” and “receiving” energies of this world). As a result, most people have been taught to do do do, and expect a lot from themselves, on the grounds that it will give them some sort of self-worth.
But if you take a moment to think about it, what is it that you truly value in someone you know? Is it really their doing? Or is it their being? Sure, what they have birthed into this world, what they have done, accomplished, created, and achieved, gives them some sort of shine that you admire and all. But if it were only about that, you’d probably get really bored after a while… like after a 5-minute while.
How about their human-ness, their beingness? Can you feel the magic of their tiny minute expressions that seem to contain the entire universe within them? Like the way they have the ability to really listen to you, the way their look changes to the sound of your voice? Or the way their eyebrows shift and make their face tell a whole story in an instant? Or the way their fingertips can feel like they’re reading you a love letter in a simple touch?
I believe that’s where the spice of life exists. In that space, in those tiny little cracks of time where human-ness is felt. Those invisible moments are really where the essence of a person lies. It’s not just a cherry on top, it’s the essential part, that’s where all the yumminess is. That’s what allows the true gold of someone to shine.
I used to be all about achievements. All about perfection. I was always one of the best students of my class, learning 6 languages, and specialising in mathematics. I managed to obtain a double-degree from two of the best universities in Europe in Engineering and Architecture, one in Paris, one in Italy, therefore learning a 7th language in the process. I continued to reach for the top even when I decided to become an actress, and ended up booking a leading role in a show directed by one of the greatest directors of all time, while shooting a hollywood movie with some of the biggest names in the industry. I was driven. It was a matter of survival. A part of me truly believed I would only be worthy of existing if I could have tangible proof of my worth in the form of an achievement recognised by all. You’d think with all of these accomplishments that I would have enough proof.
But no, it was never enough.
In my singing, my acting, my dancing, my speaking, my work, my cooking, my way of dressing, even my breathing… all was about the outcome. And I wasn’t even aware of it. My thoughts were always “What confirmation of worthiness will I get from this film, this show, this way of singing this song, this outfit, this intonation..?” Those thoughts were guiding me in spite of me. I didn’t know it was possible to choose out of it. And to a certain extent, a part of me still believes that, sometimes.
All those generational beliefs take a long time to undo. It is a never-ending spiralling practice to alchemize them all. As I was lying in my bed crying all day, I realized that my only option was to dive in and meet the core of what was creating all that running, and all that suffering. Today, as often as I can remember to, throughout the day, I find myself tuning in and asking my body-mind: can I just be right now? Is there a race starting in my mind? Is my nervous system activated to save me from worthlessness again? And as I become aware of the inner talk, as I witness it with compassion, it slowly dies down.
The permission I have given myself to be imperfect in my process of undoing this collective generational trauma is what I am finding to be actual perfection.
I am so grateful to have somewhat leaped out of that prison I had created for myself. My life has become much less of a race to worthiness and much more of an embodiment of the worth I already have, just by existing.
I realised that the more I bask in the yumminess that makes me me, my tiny moments of humanity, and my true expression in the little things, the more the things I do, create, build, and achieve, end up coming from a place of Love, of service. That’s when my actions are freed from the unnecessary charge that comes with the search for validation and self-worth. When the doing and building are made without expectations, without attachment to outcome, then they become actions for others, in service, they become an offering from the heart, a sharing that will be of use, not a means to obtain a validation of worth.
Just like everything else, it is a divine dance. The masculine “doing” needs the feminine “being” to make a whole. And too much being without doing gets you lost in nothingness as well, which I learned after developing an aversion to any sort of rigid structure in my life.
Now I am finding a beautiful balance between the flow of beingness and the structure of doingness.
I just love to discover all the layers and corners in which those two serpents twirl together, the yin and the yang, the masculine and the feminine, constantly making love within the spectrum of levels perceivable by us: from the physical to the ethereal, from matter to concept.
There is so much fractal beauty to this Life.
I love our achievements, I love our ability to build, as humans, to create, to organise, to make something out of nothing, to allow ideas to be born into form. And It wouldn’t mean a thing without the tiny little moments that hold the wisdom of the entire universe, the intention behind a breath, the invisible crack formed by a sudden memory coming to mind, the vulnerability of a tear, the timbre of your beloved’s voice.
Love is born from all of it. The holy grail is all of it.
So I’ll take all of it, thank you.