A lot of us today are almost aggressively programmed to achieve something. We need that job, that internship, that opportunity, the list could go on. Whether we are proving ourselves or to someone else, we are consumed by reaching goals. But can we ever catch up and will we ever do enough?
I joined the Philia programme during COVID times, at this time all of us were forced to just stop or slow down or even continue. I am one of the people who had to slow down, considering what to do, how could I achieve when it was physically impossible to do anything. And this feeling of dread that I wasn’t doing anything. Through Philia I have realised that stopping for self-reflection doesn’t stop the vigour I have, instead, it reconciles it and despite all the confusion, I can understand myself clearly if I take the moment to refresh.
Who are you beyond your qualifications?
For some insight, I pose a brief anecdote. As Philia Fellows we had to introduce ourselves, predictably I began talking about the biggest achievement thus far in my life which is my educational qualifications. The colleague then said, “I find it interesting that you chose to speak only about your education and you haven’t told us anything else about you.” I have always had this awareness that I am privileged enough to have an education, maybe this is why I found this to be a huge achievement. Nonetheless, what really got me thinking is who am I really? Beyond both world and personal expectations as well as my continual need to achieve greatness.
“We are terrorized and flattened by trivialities, we are eaten up by nothing” – Charles Bukowski
The constant and unattainable pressure we as individuals put on ourselves is somehow ingrained as a result of our personal circumstances or external events occurring globally. However, no matter how important it is, being kind to yourself is even more important. We are never taught to put ourselves before the task, the task becomes before you, and this is why we become eaten up by nothing. I am by no means advocating to quit or refuse to meet the commitments we have all made to our studies and jobs. I am saying that maybe we need a moment to stop.
The power of the self
In the end, I am always catching myself pondering this question and now taking a moment to just stop, take a breather, re-evaluate and re-assess what is going on both personally and professionally. It is not disadvantageous to self-reflect, instead, I am finding a sense of revalidation from myself, which I had previously sought from others. On final reflection, amongst the things we are trying to catch up with, the same fact remains, the answer to whether we can catch up lies within ourselves.