Work and Rest

How to Be Confident You Are Worth More Than Your Work

How would you react if I told you your employee performance review was emailed to your friends and family?

Would you be glad, knowing they’d be impressed? Or would you freak out and worry that they’d never look at you the same way again?

Your response is one indicator of how much your work determines your sense of self-worth. Let’s dig deeper with a true or false test:

  • Whenever you struggle with your work, you see yourself as a failure.
  • You can’t turn off your “work brain” when you leave at the end of the day.
  • You always need to do “just one more thing” before you can rest.
  • Praise from work colleagues or superiors gives you a rush that feels unhealthy.

How did you do?

Work is a good thing. It contributes to our sense of purpose and personal growth.

But your work should never define you, and if you answered true to most or all of the above statements, maybe it’s time to reconsider the role work plays in your life.

You are more than what you do for a job each day. You are a person with a story, relationships, experiences, passions and so much more to share with the world.

When work determines your sense of worth, your self-esteem is in serious danger.

Imagine tying your self-esteem to a horse that sometimes does what you expect but can also run wild when it wants to; this is a glimpse of what many of us do when work comes first in our life.

If your work is all you can think about, you will seriously limit your view of your life.

But what can you do about it?

Here are three ways to improve your perspective on work:

1. Slow Down

I usually stray into workaholism when I’m trying to prove to others I can “do it all.”

        When you feel like work is taking over, press “pause” and take a break.

Rest is just as valuable as work.

Our minds and our bodies recharge with rest. When I’m rested, I can offer more of myself to others.

It takes time to establish a good rhythm of work and rest.

Look at your weekly schedule and decide where rest should fit. Now, decide what actually refreshes you. While watching Netflix and sleeping in might be what you crave when you’re stressed, they aren’t necessarily restful for your mind or your soul.

You could commit one month to exploring work and rest using this tool designed for busy people like you.

2. Serve Others

I tend to focus on accomplishing my own tasks, making sure I look good, but this adds more stress as I constantly attempt to gain others’ affirmation.

Have you ever thought about the effect that you have on others when work comes first in your life?

Do people have to live up to your impossible standard? Do they feel guilty about working at a healthier pace?

When you choose to put the people around you first, it forces you to lay aside some of your addiction to personal success.

3. Explore Your Bigger Purpose

Work is one way you express your God-given purpose. But it’s not the only way, or even the best way, especially if you’re addicted to your work.

I spent a year working for an online retailer. My job was fielding questions and resolving issues for angry or frustrated customers. The work didn’t allow me to express my passions, and I spent most of that year discouraged.

My sense of worth diminished because my work didn’t fulfill me.

But God says I am valuable even if the work I’m doing doesn’t seem to be.

This changes the way I approach my work. No matter what is going on at the office, my personal value doesn’t change.

“What do you do?”

This is the first question most people ask each on first meeting. It’s a telltale sign of our culture’s priorities.

But you are not your work. You are so much more. You are who you are when you’re resting just as much as when you’re busy working.

So, slow down, serve the people around you and try to remember that your life has a far greater purpose than just succeeding in your nine-to-five job.

Where will you go from here?

Samantha Barnes

works with Cru at the University of Arkansas. When she's not hanging out with college students or writing about how to know God in our daily life, she and her husband Eric enjoy taking their border collie on outdoor adventures. Contact her at samantha.barnes@cru.org.

 

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