How to Be a Human Being (Not a Human Doing)
“I am a human being, not a human doing. Don't equate your self-worth with how well you do things in life. You aren't what you do. If you are what you do, then when you don't…you aren't.” ~Dr. Wayne Dyer
They both listened silently to the water, which to them was not just water, but the voice of life, the voice of Being, the voice of perpetual Becoming.” ~Hermann Hesse, SiddharthaI am a human being, not a human doing. ~Wayne DyerClick To Tweet
Have you lost your sparkle? Are you surviving instead of thriving? Are you more of a human doing than a human being right now?
That’s probably because you spend all your time doing: grocery shopping, helping the kids, cleaning. And on those rare moments when you have free time, you end up still doing stuff, like watching TV or exercising.
This constant doing slowly drains your energy, your health, and your mood.
You might regularly find yourself thinking, What happened to me? I used to be such a fun person! Now I’m just tired.
You're exhausted because you've forgotten what it means to be (related verbs: is, am, are).
Being Involves Introspection and Connection
Being has very different from doing. Instead, being involves ditching your to-do list once in a while so you can make time to introspect and connect (the highest forms of self care).
When you introspect you think about things like your talents, purpose, priorities, and values, as well as at your place in society and the universe. Introspection helps you understand who you are.
Introspection helps you feel grounded and calm. It helps you feel more like a human being rather than a human doing.
Connection is another important part of being. Connection includes any relationship with a person, thing or idea. You can connect with yourself, other people, nature, beliefs and even with a Higher Power. You need connection to thrive.
Introspection and connection are important for both extroverts and introverts, although they need each part to a varying degree. An introvert might spend more time introspecting and connecting with herself, while an extrovert might spend more time connecting with other people. Both are valuable and increase the sense of being that we all seek.
Success = Who We Are More Than What We Do
I'm a mom of 6 high-energy children. At times, out of what seems like necessity, I end up focusing more on human doing than human being. I start to believe my survival is dependent on finishing my to-do list and meeting all the needs of my family (Mom, can we make cookies? or Honey, can you help me find the vacuum bags?)
But unfortunately, when I don't make time to reflect and just be, I always end up feeling frazzled and burned out.
So I leave.
For a few hours at least. And sometimes for a whole weekend.
I slow down, introspect, and connect with who I am. I take walks. I take baths. I sit. I stare at things. I sleep. And then I enjoy it all again, all without anybody asking me to do anything. Bliss!
All that time being helps me remember who I am: Fun, loud, enthusiastic, vibrant, thoughtful, and intuitive. I'm awesome! And frazzled is not a part of that!
When I’m stuck in doing mode, my kids see way less of the “real me.” Instead, they spend more time with Mrs. Grumpy Pants (not the real me). Being a “good mom” isn’t about what I do, but more about who I am.
For that reason, I rarely make handmade costumes, gourmet meals, or over-schedule extracurricular activities for my kids. I know that doing all those things won’t bring me energy and joy and will make it less likely that my family will get to enjoy the real me: happy + vibrant.
How to Build More Being Into Your Life
So how do you build more being into your life? You begin by creating your “Being List,” which is made up of your responses to 2 statements:
- Without comparing yourself to others, list all the activities that help you introspect, reflect, think and understand:
- Without comparing yourself to others, list all the activities that help you deeply connect with yourself, other people, nature or a Higher Power:
Your “Being List” becomes your own self-care, burnout-busting program, which might include ideas like the following:
- take a walk in the woods
- work with your hands
- get a babysitter for the kids so you can be alone
- enjoy slow and sensual lovemaking
- do something repetitive so you can think more easily
- meditate or pray
- say no (Really!)
- relax after invigorating exercise
- talk in person to a friend
- take a hot, solitary bath
- keep a gratitude journal
- create something beautiful (painting, music, cooking)
- tell your children stories from your childhood
- get a massage
- spend less time with people who drain you
- eat more vegetables
- do yoga
- volunteer or help a friend
- lie down and do absolutely nothing
As you focus on being instead of doing you might find yourself surfing the internet less, spending more time outside, reaching out to others in person rather than via text, or taking a painting class with your partner rather than watching another sitcom at home.
Jen Riday is a mom of 6 and life coach who loves to help women experience massive happiness as they let go of stress, sadness or other chronic emotions of negativity.
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