Productivity Is Neither Worth Nor Fullness

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Wealth is not synonymous with worth.

Likewise,

Productivity is not synonymous with worth.

Productivity has never been the full measure of our lives, nor what it means to be human. But I think it’s quite possible to internalize the opposite. At times, I confess that this false belief emerges in my deeply internalized thinking and feeling.

Our culture conveys that productivity is the highest good, yet if we chase after it — I don’t merely mean working well in a meaningful way, but if we chase after it– we are rarely satisfied.

When it becomes the totality of our time or our self-understanding, we soon find that it is chasing us. In this mindset, no matter how much time we put into our labor, it is never enough. And we are never enough. In this thinking and feeling, it’s possible to have internalized individuals or groups swimming around in our minds, either from the present or from the past, who judge us consistently as falling short. This may even happen just slightly outside our consciousness.

It’s easy to internalize these people and these beliefs. Yet truly, productivity is not synonymous with worth.

We do not need to reach a certain benchmark to be worthy of love, care, and belonging. We do not need an enormous salary to convey that we matter.

Yet as human beings, we need wholeness and fullness. Sometimes, this means that we need different experiences — rest, renewal, rejuvenation. Sometimes, this means that we need different parts of our brain to be active — the creative, the playful, the intuitive. These add to our own lives, and they also add to our communities.

I’m going to repeat this today and let myself believe it because it is really true:

Productivity is neither worth nor fullness.

Renee Roederer

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