When you’re determined to make something of yourself, nothing you do is ever enough. It doesn’t matter how many hours you spent working because you never feel comfortable taking a break. It doesn’t matter how hard you’ve been pushing yourself, because you still feel like you haven’t been doing enough.
Most days, you consider yourself lazy, even though you spent the majority of your day running from place to place, hopping from task to task, trying to get everything done. You rarely take a step back to admire everything you’ve accomplished. You’re always focused on how much more you could have done. You dwell on the fact you took a slightly longer break than usual to eat your lunch or wasted time talking to your friend on the phone for an hour.
Even though you deserve to relax, even though you shouldn’t be working straight through the day without a break, you feel guilty whenever you take a second to yourself.
When you’re determined to make something of yourself, you assume stress is part of the package. You know you could easily cut down on activities and slide your way through the week but that’s not the way you want to live. You want to reach success. You want to land your dream job. You want to make yourself proud.
Since you associate productivity with usefulness, you have a hard time recognizing when you need to stop, when you need to take a break, when you’re about to burn out. Sometimes, you push yourself a little too hard and end up paying the price. You end up crashing. You end up too overwhelmed to function, emotionally and physically.
When you’re determined to make something of yourself, you pay too much attention to the progress you’re making, to the milestones you’re reaching, and not enough attention to your mental health.
You don’t think you can afford to take a vacation because you’re worried about falling behind with your work. You don’t think you need a break, anyway, because in order to succeed you have to make sacrifices.
When you’re determined to make something of yourself, you come up with excuses for treating yourself poorly. You convince yourself you’re doing the right thing by working until you burn yourself out — but, really, you shouldn’t be pushing yourself so hard.
Yes, if you want to make something of yourself, you have to put in the effort. You have to stay persistent. You have to work hard. But that doesn’t mean you have to neglect your physical and emotional needs. It doesn’t mean you’re never allowed to take a break. It doesn’t mean work has to be the only thing you care about in the world, the only thing that matters.
If you keep working until you burn out, you’re going to go through a period of time where zero work gets done. You’re going to end up hurting yourself.
As determined as you are to make something of yourself, you also have to take care of yourself.