There are many times my artist friends have seen me franticly climbing ladders late at night, arranging products in my space, only to find me still there the next morning. The same goes for anyone who’s ever collaborated with me on a project. Documents are developed, props are painted, and emails flutter out through the wee hours of the night until everyone is pleased by a job well done. But chronic exhaustion never stops for a person struggling with worthiness and abuse.

Overachieving habits like these, no matter how productive they seem, are really just tactics for managing emotional trauma. They might make us effective artists, heroic parents, or strong leaders, but the tough business of loving and advocating for ourselves is the real work that needs to be done.

As I lay on my back recovering from the accident of falling down the stairs, I’ve come to realize this break in my body was no accident at all. It was an invitation to reclaim my inner self — the spiritual part that waited patiently behind all the layers of identity and “busy-ness” that became my coping tools. During this time of stillness, I’m learning to let go of some habits, release some labels, and make room for new ways of thinking. Here are a few thoughts I’ve written, in case they’re helpful for any of you dealing with the same issues:

1. The level of peace I welcome in my life is proportionate to the range of judgments I’m willing to reject.
2. Hustle culture does not determine my value as a professional, a parent, or a partner.
3. “You’re not good enough” is something I first felt as a child, heard too much in recent years, but accept nowhere in my life today.

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