Learning to Have
Ep. 214
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We all know how to work hard to achieve things but we’re terrible at actually enjoying them. That’s because our society loves to glorify hard work but shame the people who have anything– rest, joy, money, pleasure, food. So we think we want those things, we hustle to get them, and then we’re wracked with guilt when we actually have them. 

Learning to have is a skill and, on today’s episode, I teach you how to start building it.

Show Transcript
Hey, welcome to Lessons From a Quitter where we believe that it is never too late to start over. No matter how much time or energy you spent getting to where you are, if ultimately you are unfulfilled, then it is time to get out. Join me each week for both inspiration and actionable tips so that we can get you on the road to your dreams.

Hello, my friends. Welcome to another episode. I'm so excited you are here. I just got done doing the Throw Your Own Damn Party workshop, masterclass, whatever you wanna call it. And it was so much fun and it was so enlightening even for me. As I was digging in to the topic that I wanted to talk about, I really started discovering so many things that were connected and so many things we haven't talked about and it gave me a lot of ideas for different podcast episodes. And I realized in the last couple of episodes, I've talked a lot about being selfish and learning how to put your own needs first and learning how to take care of yourself. And as I was going through my own, you know, I did the episode on the lessons for my dream life. I sort of brushed over this topic but I think it's something that we need to address fully in a podcast episode. And that's why today is is titled learning to have because what so many of us have been taught is to work hard. And I'll talk about that in a second, like all of the messages that we've been given, and so we're really good at the hustling part. We're really good at pushing ourselves and killing ourselves to get to some promise land, to get to some destination. But so many of us have internalized a lot of these messages that we should feel guilty about certain things. And so when we get there, we're not able to have. Like we cannot have the things. We cannot sit with it, it feels too uncomfortable. And that is why we just move the goal posts. We come up with other goals. We constantly keep ourselves hustling because we have not learned the skill of having and it is a skill. I'm realizing this now. I didn't know until recently that it truly is a skill you have to acquire to give yourself the space to just have what you have, to be grateful for it, to feel good about it, to let yourself enjoy it. You would think it sounds as though like of course I can have, of course I want more money. Of course, I want vacations. Of course, I want to have a life of ease. Of course, I want rest. Of course, I want joy. But so many of us feel very uncomfortable with those things. It's like counterintuitive cuz we're like that's what I'm working for. This is what I want. Why when I get there do I have these thoughts? They're like why do I deserve this and not other people? Do I really need this? And so I wanna talk about that today because I am finding like while I want you guys to all quit and go after your dream lives and find the careers that you love. I know so many people, l- myself included grapple with actually just having. Having what we have now, really enjoying it. And even when we expand to wanna bring in more, we're so uncomfortable with having. Okay, so here's the thing. We have all grown up with this idea that you have to work hard for everything you have. That's partly due to capitalism. If you live in America, you live in another capitalist society. Even if it's not fully capitalist, there are these tenants that like you need to deserve everything. You need to work hard for everything which is a lie by the way. I mean, we all know this, we see this in capitalism. It's like the very wealthy or not even the very wealthy, lots of people that have wealth pass it on generationally, right? So the next generation is not working hard for it. They're just getting it passed down to them. But yet, it's a very smart tool to get the working class, like everybody else that has to work, to internalize this thought that there are no handouts. You have to work hard for everything you have. You have to earn your keep, right? All of these phrases that we've all heard millions of times. I mean, to the point where you see in the US, like people will vote against their own interests and people will not take help from the government because they don't want quote unquote handouts, even though they're paying taxes and like that's what the government is there for. But this message is so strong and it is so tied to your own worth, right? Like if you are a man, if you are a, you know, whatever this that used to be kind of the message in patriarchy that like men provide and men work for it and they don't wanna accept handouts. And then now women have just like inserted ourselves into that same paradigm, into that same framework. And we're like yeah, I don't need a handout and I don't need your help and I don't need anything and I'm gonna work, you know, to prove that I'm just as good. And so we've all very much adopted this mindset that I will work for everything I have. And that means that when I get it, I deserved it. Right? So by default, you have to deserve everything you get. You cannot just be handed anything. Like we have such a negative connotation with someone giving us stuff. Think about how uncomfortable it makes you to accept a gift, even a compliment. Right? Think about the messages you've heard around government handouts or like what we still hear politicians talk about all the time. And it's fascinating when you look at other countries, I'm not, you know, making any political statement or comment about whether we should have a capitalist society or we shouldn't. I just think that it's fascinating to see the thoughts that arise when we do, right. So I talked about this on the other episode, this happened very much for me when I was creating this sort of dream life idea of traveling for a month at a time. It sounded fabulous in theory. I was all on board. But when it happened, I was like hit with an immense amount of guilt because I kept thinking like what did I do to deserve a month vacation? And it wasn't a, I mean, I ended up working for more than half of it but I had this thought, right. And I was thinking, cuz because I have a lot of cousins that live in Europe, I know a lot of my cousins just get a month off every single year and it's not a big deal to them. They don't have these thoughts. It's like of course you would take a month off cause that's what you need to rest. And for Americans, that's like so foreign. I mean, it's just like what? A month? It's unheard of. I mean taking a whole week off, most people don't think they can do. They don't think the I don't know the company would survive. They think they'll get fired. Whatever other thoughts we have. But it's fascinating to think like this isn't just some truth, it's just the way that we have been culturally programmed in America is that you never get rest and that you have to really work hard to deserve rest. Right? Think about like you're not supposed to take any time off unless you're really sick. You're not supposed to take that many days off bec- and then so you start thinking that you need to deserve it. And somebody in another culture where that's just normal is like why would you have like everybody should get that, right? I just think like think about if we lived in a society where you were just entitled to food and rest and safety and housing for everybody, like what would our thoughts be about those things? Think about even food actually like think about what diet culture has done to us, what the beauty standard has done to us. That so many of us have to like think that you have to be like deserve to eat whatever a cheap meal or whatever it is that you desire. If you don't work out enough, then like you haven't deserved that. And what happens, so many of us like we're sold this line capitalism and it gets us to work hard. And a lot of us have that, you know, like carrot dangling where it's like we're working towards this. Like oh, I would love to make a lot of money and buy this, I dunno, amazing house or I would like to have this money and take the time off. Whatever the case may be. Then we get there and we've so internalized these beliefs that like you're just lazy if you're, you know, I don't know going on vacation or whatever the thought is or we have all these thoughts about money because, you know, there's so many thoughts about money in our society and about people that have money evil they are or mean or not good people or vain or whatever. So then when you get there and you have the money, I've seen this over and over again, even, you know, when I was a lawyer, so many of us like went to these schools, went to law school, business school, medical school. All these higher education fields to have a high salary. And then when you get the high salary, it's like hush hush, don't talk about it. And there's so much shame around it. And it comes because we don't know how to have. And part of that is because there is inequity like and there always will be and there always has been. And so the question becomes like well, did I really do enough to deserve this? And when I know that there's somebody that doesn't have enough to eat, when I know that there is, you know, somebody working three jobs, did I really do this? Like I didn't really work that hard. And the question I have is like who decides when you've deserved something, right? Like when do you deserve rest? When do you deserve that food? When do you deserve the vacation? It's like such a nebulous concept because what's fascinating is like I was thinking those thoughts about my month-long vacation. And then I had a former student reach out and give me an update about where she's at. And she was thanking me for that episode and saying she has the same thoughts. And like she was having thoughts about a three-day vacation that she was having at the end of the month. She kept telling herself like do I really need to go on this vacation? Do we really need to stop working right now? She has her own business so it was coming up in that context. It's fascinating to me. Why would you need to deserve three days off? Right? That same question could be posed to me: why would I need to deserve a month? I just, I have the ability to do it. So why isn't that enough? But it's not enough because the thoughts in my head have been so ingrained that like you need to work for it. You need to prove that you deserve it, that you worked hard enough to have that. And if you notice, even within our society in capitalism, we have this like we love rags to riches stories. We cheer on people who make money who came from nothing because there is this story of hard work but we will vilify people who just have money, if it was handed to them. Even though they had no say in it. Right. But there's just something about the fact that like if you worked hard enough for it, and if we all collectively decide that you deserve it, then you get to have. But the problem is is that if you've adopted that thought of like I haven't done enough to deserve this, whatever it is. And again, when you start thinking about this, this could be applied to every aspect of your life. Think about how many of you don't think that you quote unquote deserve. Maybe you don't, maybe this isn't a conscious thought, but you don't think that you deserve a nap on a Saturday. It's like I have so much to do. There's so much on my to do list I haven't gotten done. Like I need to knock off a certain amount of things in order to deserve rest. Except instead of like my body wants rest so that's all I need, that cue that like my body needs to take a nap. But like God forbid in our society that you do that. Cause like have you gone through the to-do list? Have you done enough? And it's not just capitalism, by the way, religion also plays into this like the Puritan work ethic in which America is really founded upon. And really most other religions have this idea that like hard work is the pinnacle of being a good person. Like good people work hard, obviously like slothfulness, gluttony, laziness is all are seen as sins. And, you know, that helps to create kind of a working class. It helps to make people internalize these thoughts and push themselves more and more and more. And so it helps a society that wants people to constantly work but it sure as hell doesn't help you. And so I've noticed this with myself and I've been working on it. And I I think that this is something that so many of us need to work on, is the skill of having, of just letting ourself have whatever it is that we have. Like if I have time on a Saturday and I can rest, can I allow myself to just do it and see where my brain goes? See what thoughts come up. Why do I have to work in order to deserve this rest? Why do I have to work out in order to deserve that dessert? Why do I have to kill myself at work in order to deserve a vacation? Like they're just made up rules and we get to decide what we wanna make up for the rest of our life. Society is still going to try to cram these thoughts down your throat but you get to figure out like what do I want to think and feel about joy and rest and vacation and pleasure and everything else that I want in my life. Because I promise you, if you don't do this work, you're never gonna get off the hamster wheel. Because as soon as you do something, you achieve something, you get to some goal post, it's gonna be so uncomfortable to sit in whatever it is that you have if you don't have the capacity to have it. That you're going to just create another goal that you have to work towards. And I've grappled with this thought of like deserving because the reality is when you break it down, none of us deserve anything more than anybody else. And it's just the truth. Every human is just born equal and it is just random luck where you are born, to whom you are born, what country you're born in, at what time you're born. And that dictates a lot of what access you have to resources and to privileges and to perks and to, you know, all the things that life has to offer. The truth of it is that nobody does deserve anything more than anybody else but also you don't deserve it any less. The reality is that life is unequal and it will continue to be unequal. And that's not to say that we shouldn't work to create more equality and equity and to make sure that people's needs are met and to make sure that more people have access to the things that we have access to. But I've thought about like who benefits by me denying this to myself? Like by me denying myself rest or joy or food for that matter, who benefits from that? Nobody. Just capitalism and patriarchy and this society, right? It just keeps me in line believing that I have to hustle for my worth, believing that I have to hustle to deserve everything and that I don't get to just deserve it because I'm a human being and I'm worthy just like everybody else. And I have the opportunity for it. Why do we have to deserve like thinking in thinking about this vacation again, I when I posted about it, I got a lot of people's comments about having the same things. Like I had somebody else telling me that she had worked for a year to set up the same situation. She wanted to take a month off with her family and she set up for a year. She hired people. She worked overtime. She did all this stuff because that hustle feels great. It's like you're getting the pat on the back from everybody around you about how busy you are and how hard you work. And like those are all things that we glorify in this culture. And then as it was approaching the month, she started having like her brain started freaking out and she was surprised because she thought she would be so excited about it. And she kept having these thoughts like who am I now? She's said like I kept thinking what are we summer now? What are we? Those people? Do we need a month off? And those are all just fascinating questions. Like why are we even asking ourselves that? Right. And think about the connotation like the implication of like saying like are we people that summer now? Like what are the thoughts that we have about people that summer? And again, none of this would happen if this was just a standard in society. If like we knew that all people deserve time to like rejuvenate and recoup and relax, it would be like yeah, of course you should take a month off but we're not. And so it's really important to start figuring out what thoughts I've been programmed with. Like what thoughts have I just been given to believe? And do I wanna keep that thought? Do I wanna keep a thought that I have to work for everything I have? That I don't just get access to it because I just had the luck of having access to it. Like I can't accept that. Why not? Why is it so hard to be given something? Why have we decided that that's a bad thing? And do I wanna keep that definition for myself? Somebody else might. There's tons of people who see the value in always working hard. I just feel like, you know, at the end of your life, there's no like award like this person wore themselves out the most. This person never took a nap and constantly worked every single day. Congratulations, you get this medal, right? Like it just doesn’t, nobody cares then. And most of our life, most of us, everything that we are hustling for is to have something. A feeling, right. We want to have a place where we can get to where we can just rest, where we can be present. Like this is what I hear all the time where it's like people just wanna be able to enjoy their life. They think there's some place in the future where they will have worked enough where finally they will outrun that voice in their head and they'll be able to kick up their feet and watch their children play and read a book and feel super calm. But you already know that that's not possible if you don't change the thoughts that you have around these topics. If you have been made to feel guilty for any type of rest or leisure, if you have been made to feel as though like you're doing something wrong and other people don't get to do this and who do you think you are? And you have to earn your keep around here. Then there's never going to be a time where you just get to relax. And so you have to start learning the skill of having right now. You have to start figuring out what can I have without guilt today? Can I have an hour to read because I want to? Can I have a nap because I'm tired or just because I want to, even if I'm not tired, cause it feels good. Can I schedule that massage that I told myself I'm not allowed to get for some reason, even though I can afford it, but because that makes me too bougie? Can I get my nails done without berating myself because I shouldn't be wasting this money? Can I go on that trip? Can I? Whatever. Can I go on the hike? Whatever it is for you without having to like do a million chores in order to prove to myself that I deserve this time. Can I learn to just give myself what I want and then manage my mind around that guilt and start questioning it and start asking like why do I need to deserve this? What if this was just the luck I had in life? That this is an opportunity for me. Who benefits by me saying I don't need this? It's so funny for me to think about like how backwards we think – how does society benefit if we're all just burned out and exhausted all the time? I mean, I know society benefits because it keeps you on this hamster wheel. But I mean, in general, the people around us, our loved ones, our children, nobody's benefiting from this. And so how can I start learning that everybody around me benefits when I learn to have, when I learn to give it to myself, when I learn to like take up space, when I learn to take up time, when I learn to spend money. Because going back to the episode on being selfish, learning to have is what helps me show up as my full self, is what helps me stave off burnout, is what helps me not become a bitter and resentful human being that has only spent their whole life working, working, working, working all the time, every day, even on my free time, even on the weekends. And I think what so many of us get really scared about is like when we are in the having part, when we're not hustling is when those voices get really loud, right? There's nothing to distract us from our own thoughts and feelings, from what's going internally. And so many of us don't know how to manage that. And so it's really scary. It's like I can't just lay down and listen to what's going on in my head. I'll go crazy. But it's not until you can get quiet, until you can learn to get quiet and manage your mind and give yourself that space that you can truly start like listening to yourself and understanding what you want and being present and all of those things that you want so badly, it comes from learning how to have. It comes from flexing that muscle. You're gonna be terrible at it because you've been told your whole life that you're a sinner if you sit down and have something and if you don't work for it, if someone gives it to you. And so in the beginning, your brain's gonna go back there and I just want you to be willing to be terrible at it and keep trying. Keep asking yourself like what is something I can have today? What is something I can just sit and enjoy the having of? Really like be grateful and present to something that I get to have in my life and not wanna push past it because it's too uncomfortable to think about or not want to go to the next goal post because I don't think I did enough to deserve that. I want you to think of something and I want you to start. I want you to start flexing that muscle and learning the skill to have because only then can you start getting off of this hamster wheel, only then can we stop the destination addiction and thinking there's gonna be some place where all of a sudden I'm gonna learn how to do this wonderfully. I promise you there isn't. I can't tell you how many people I coach who wanna quit their job and they think quitting is the answer. They just need a sabbatical. They just need a year off. They just need time to go travel. And I encourage it but I know what's gonna happen. And I warn them cuz as soon as they do it, their brain's gonna go insane. And it they usually get about one week until the brain just the monkey mind is just off and running about what have you done? You're gonna ruin your life. We can't just sit around here all day. You're being lazy. You'll never get back from this. Whatever. All, you know, on and on and on and on. And so they ruin whatever time they have. I've had women do this with their maternity leaves. I've had people do this when they have worked for years and years to get a sabbatical but as soon as they get there, they can't just have it. So I want you to practice exactly where you are with what you have. I want you to learn to allow yourself to be present and fully grateful and know that you have nothing to feel guilty about. No, you don't deserve it any more than anybody else but you sure as hell don't deserve it any less and you have the opportunity for it. And that is enough to be able to have cause you are worthy and you are born worthy of rest and food and safety and housing and love and joy and pleasure and all of the other things that all of us deserve. So my friends, I want you to go out this week and I want you to learn how to just have. I want you to practice. I want you to reach out to me and let me know it goes and I will see you next week on another episode.

Thank you so much for listening. If you liked this episode, share it with someone else. I promise you know somebody who also hates their job and wants to quit, so why not share the love? And if you want to come follow along for more, come join me on Instagram at LessonsFromAQuitter and make sure you say hi. I'll see you next week for another episode.