9.1 Editor's Pick
July 9, 2021

Internalized Capitalism: Why we Equate our Productivity with Self-worth.

What if this time I write something just for the pure enjoyment of it?

Not because I want to provide value, educate, nor get reads. But just write for the sake of writing.

What if I simply relax without doing it to increase my productivity later?

What if I exercise to enjoy the physical movement instead of doing it to prevent disease or look better in a bikini?

I grew up in a household where hard work, being goal-oriented, and diligent was praised, and not doing anything was considered lazy.

I can see now how it shaped my sense of self-worth around achievement and doing.

I find it difficult to rest without feeling guilty that I should be doing more, to be more productive.

To be fair, it seems like most of our society operates in this mode. There seems to be this constant invisible pressure around adulthood.

We are taught that the only reason to do something is if we are somehow rewarded for it. It slowly squeezes the passion out of us. We lose touch with what we genuinely enjoy and end up in our little hamster wheel.

Sometimes we can’t even wait in line for a few minutes without compulsively reaching out for our phone.

A lot of people avoid just being because it is in that silence when our inner voice feels much louder. It becomes harder to ignore it when we’re not distracting ourselves.

The avoidance of being also stems from fear of feeling. Feeling all that which we have been hiding from. This is also one of the reasons why some people feel uncomfortable with silence in social situations.

So I decided to try floating in complete darkness once a week for the next three months.

No doing, just me floating in a tank full of Epsom salts, darkness, and silence.

The whole point of this is to allow myself to do something without it having any point or return on my invested energy. To simply be and relax.

When writing this article, I came across an interesting term: “internalized capitalism.”

Internalized capitalism looks like:

>> Feeling guilty for resting.

>> Self-worth being derived from your performance and accomplishments.

>> Placing productivity before health.

>> Believing that hard work equals happiness.

>> Feeling lazy even if you’re experiencing adversity or pain.

>> Using busyness as a way of distraction from feeling.

Don’t get me wrong, there is merit in being goal-oriented and having direction, but if all our life becomes about forever chasing something else, we might miss out on the beauty of the whole journey to get there. In other words, we can miss out on our lives because it is only here and now where our power, and, ultimately, where our experience of life stems from.

Achieving our goal is that short, sweet glimpse on our timelines. It’s the journey, the process that takes much more time. So we might as well find a way to appreciate and enjoy it.

Although this wasn’t the aim of my date with darkness and silence, I’ve learned a few things so far.

1. It can boost creativity.

2. It can raise energy.

3. It’s a way to get closer to self and one’s internal world.

4. Observing in silence can help to dissolve thoughts, emotions, in some cases physical aches too.

5. Taking time to do nothing can bring things into perspective.

6. Self-reflection, rest, and integration are equally as important as doing.

I invite you to do more activities for their own sake and not as a means to an end.

What is something that you enjoy doing regardless of the outcome?


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Kamila Jakubjakova  |  Contribution: 17,045

author: Kamila Jakubjakova

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