Do you resist taking time off from working to rest or play? When you do take time off, do you find yourself constantly checking your email or trying to find ways to get work done?
Many people report feeling guilty if they take time to rest and play.
Perhaps when you were young and in school, your parents required you to finish your homework or your chores before you could go out and play.
That mindset takes root early and lingers into adulthood, creating beliefs such as:
It’s irresponsible to play before the work is done.
It’s lazy to rest before you’ve completed your work.
Cultural beliefs also influence your personal beliefs here.
The feeling of guilt is a mask for fear. The fear of rest (and play is a form of rest) is one of the biggest reasons we don’t stop to rest.
Here are two of the biggest fears we have when it comes to rest and play.
Fear 1: Letting People Down
The first fear is that if you take time to rest and to play, if you take care of yourself first, then you’ll be disappointing those who depend on you.
Whether those people are your kids, your clients, your friends, family, or people in your community, the thought of letting them down is inconceivable to you.
You made a commitment to them. They relied on that commitment. They need you.
How can you let them down?
The idea that we might let down the tribe strikes at the heart of the longing to belong that is one of the most primal forces driving us. If you let down those who rely on you, you might get shunned from the tribe.
Fear 2: Fear of Not Being Needed
Beneath the fear of letting people down is an even deeper fear:
What if you take time to rest and play and it turns out that the people you serve manage without you? What if they are fine? In fact, what if they thrive?
This is the deep, existential fear for many: the fear that the people who rely on you — on your care, on your service, on your work — will be just fine without you.
If the people who you serve can get along without you just fine, then what purpose do you serve?
If the people you serve don’t need you, if you’re not indispensable, then what is your value? What is your worth?
For many people, this fear is too big to even consider. It strikes deeper than the longing to belong; it speaks to your purpose. Your contribution. Your very reason for being alive.
And then what?
Then you’d be forced to find your worth from something other than the roles you play in life: CEO, entrepreneur, parent, grandparent, child, friend, aunt, uncle, agent of change, real estate agent, coach.
You’d be forced to define yourself by something other than what you do, who you serve, or the results you achieve.