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  • Writer's picturejanice.allermann

Productivity = Self-worth

Updated: Apr 26, 2021

Our Western society measures one´s self-worth based on one´s productivity. Only if you are being productive, only if you are contributing to society (e.g. working, paying taxes, etc.), you are worthy in the eyes of many.

Today’s society – trapped in this productivity doctrine – pushes some to higher performance and lets some crack under its pressure.

High productivity = High self-worth.

Low productivity = Low self-worth.


This year at the end of April, I returned back home after an eight months trip overseas (which was manly work, less leisure). I returned back to my parents’ house. Without a job. Without any obligations. The plan: Setting up my self-employment as a yoga teacher. It followed a period of little productivity (measured on society´s standards) and it didn’t take long for a feeling of discontent to arise, inner restlessness and even a guilty conscience. I felt bad, because I wasn´t contributing anything, I wasn’t accomplishing anything.

Everyone who has grown up under and internalised the belief “productivity = self-worth”, and is then going through a period where he doesn’t feel well (no matter if physically or psychologically) or is just going through a transition period (professional or private) and therefore lacks in performance, knows these thoughts and feelings very well.

Our for performance and productivity striving society has it engrained in us, that you are only worthy, when you are working, earning money, doing your bit. It is very hard to drop the belief “productivity = self-worth”, to really rid yourself of it.


Because where else would I get my self-worth from?

The more I was thinking about this topic, reading different articles, watching talks, a new approach matured:


We have to return to our natural feeling of self-worth. As a child we all had it. The older we grew (the more the Western society with its productivity doctrine had influence over us), the more our self-worth became dependent upon external factors. The belief “to be defective or lacking” solidified, the urge grew to accomplishing something and thereby become “better”.

In other parts of the world people are living by a different concept: You are worthy, no matter how much or how little you achieve in your life. External factors are not determining your self-worth, your worth is nothing that you have to work for in your lifetime, you are born with it. You don’t need to change; you are perfect and worthy just as you are.

Change your perspective. Leave the productivity doctrine behind. Return to your natural feeling of self-worth. For more self-love.


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