I Am First


What if there was more in this world than just ability and inability, what if we were all free to do what we feel is good for us? To do what we truly need. What if our world would allow us to put our own happiness or well-being before anything else?

What I mean is, aren’t we all unheard in modern society? Are there people that truly get happy from working full time? Why do we even work? And why so much? I mean, is there really someone in this world who truly enjoys every minute he or she works? Or is happiness through work only for those who get satisfaction out of being exactly what we are all expected to be?

I am struggling with my mental health because my parents made me believe I wasn’t good enough for this world, that I would never be successful, but aren’t we all dealing with this feeling of never being good enough in some way? Simply because the standards in our world are just too high for us to live up to? I blame myself for being unable to find a balance between having the time to deal with my emotions, improve mentally and functioning as an architect, but is this struggle just me? Is it fair to blame my emotional deprivation just on myself and my past?

I feel like, in a way we are all expected to suppress our emotions. No boss will benefit from them, no client will postpone a deadline because you’re sad, no result will come early because you’re impatient and no manager will get fired because he is mean. In this world, everything is about money and emotions simply don’t increase profit, which makes them a burden for our world.

The best employee is someone that is the same every day, someone who doesn’t get sad or grumpy or happy even, a robot. Emotions distract from our purpose to make money so we expect everyone to be plain for at least 40 hours a week. But is this really the way to live? I believe it is not, but I also believe it are not just my own struggles that make me believe so. In the Netherlands almost 1 out of 4 highly educated employees experience how pressure at work has a negative effect on their personal well-being. Exhaustion due to our job is a common problem! There is clearly more wrong than just my inability to succeed in this, our standards are too high, life expects too much from us.

My problem is something normal in a way, the performance based world we live in just demands too much from all of us. I don’t have to be ashamed of not succeeding at something almost everyone struggles with at least at some point in life. And especially where I am now, I am allowed to struggle, to fail and to try, I am allowed to find my own way within this terrible system.

Our society, our laws and the company I work for will not change, they will not adept to my needs but I can, and I should. For months now I feel anger about all of this, but this anger only makes things worse, it tires me, it leaves no room for the other emotions I should be focussing on and it will never change or solve anything. I guess that this anger is probably even something I use to protect myself. I am far too familiar in using anger in order to numb everything else, anger is safe and familiar to me, but it also continues the loop in which there is no direction towards me getting better.

I started this 30 Days of Feeling challenge in order to reconnect with my emotions, but this won’t happen if all I write about is the anger I’m hiding behind. I have to take away my shield, I have to stop numbing myself, and the first step towards this is actually really easy, I have to put my own needs before the needs of my boss.

My problem does not exist on paper, it only exists in expectations and performance. My boss pays me to work 8 hours a day, but he and my colleagues expect me to work at least 10. As soon as I let go of these expectations, I suddenly gain 2 hours and sometimes throughout the day in which I will have energy, be free to work on myself while I still making the money I’m paid. I will no longer put all my energy in my job, I will do what I have, and the rest is all for me. And since I’m working from home because of Corona, no one will ever find out that I stopped being the overachiever we are all expected to be.

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