When it is not Workaholism

Talk about being knocked off my foundations, I feel like I am in totally new territory and my compass is spinning wildly. Whoa!

The last half of my life has been defined by my continuing struggle with my workaholism. I struggle to find time for myself, limit my [over] commitments and even set my watch to remind me to look after my physical needs. I felt like I was sparring with a ravenous beast. And this beast compelled me to work, work, work … all the time.

But today, my mentor suggested that maybe it is not workaholism that drives me. That maybe instead I am being driven by a need for validation, acceptance and acknowledgement – desperate to be seen for who I really am.

Growing up “East of the River”, as we say it here in DC, leaves a mark on you. I have met others who had similar marks. Growing up on the wrong side of town, the wrong side of the tracks, the wrong religion, the wrong gender, the wrong ethnicity, the wrong abilities, etc., marks you not just as an outsider, but also as deficient in some way.

And so I wonder if I am pushing myself in order to prove my worth as an individual to the world. All these years, have I been working my tail off to prove that I wasn’t a token, an affirmative action hire or a stereotype?

So I am sitting with this feedback.

My mediations occur within a cloud of a single question – “Who would I be if I had nothing to prove?”

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