Busy busy busy: what being busy might mean
“I’m soooo busy!” How many times have we heard someone say this? How many times have we said or thought it ourselves? I wonder what being ‘busy’ might mean. It might be worthwhile taking a breath and thinking about what it might mean to perceive of ourselves as busy. How do we measure busy-ness and what might the ‘busy-ness scale’ imply? What meaning might it have for our wellbeing and work/life balance? How does it affect our relationships? How does the degree to which we are busy align with how we see ourselves and others?
Being busy seems to hold a multitude of meanings. How do we feel about ourselves when we perceive that we ARE busy? It might feel good; we are occupied and possibly of value. We might feel a sense of capability if we are using ourselves in measurable way that reflects a picture back to us of which we approve. If we are busy in a “filling time” sort of way, how might that feel? Perhaps that’s a different feeling, perhaps not so safe or gilded.
What might happen if our being busy means safety or security to us? It may be that it’s an unconscious means of distracting or defending from other, uncomfortable questions and anxieties. Having time to think, to reflect could feel quite threatening. How comfortable, or uncomfortable, might it be to have time to think about what is going on for us? What thoughts and feelings might be raised? How easy is it to sit with them, and how might being busy- even to the point of it affecting our physical health- be exploited here?
What might we sacrifice to being busy; might it become so insulating that it interferes with or impinges on important relationships? Relationships themselves could potentially be so important that their meaning in our lives generates anxiety or tension on some level. ‘Being busy’ in this context might be influencing how we engage with them. What meaning might this have?
Being TOO busy for some people and not too busy for others might imply a choice in how we value specific relationships and the people involved. We might have a pattern of seeing some people as not possessing what is needed to enter our relational VIP section and others as having an access all areas pass to our time and energy. What meaning might this have and what might happen if and when this alters? Conversely, what might it be like to feel that everyone is too busy for us? It might be enlightening, and helpful, to explore how we position ourselves in these relational constellations.
I wonder if it might be worth looking more deeply at how we experience being busy… what value and message it might have for us and how we “use” it. After all, its extreme, burning out or becoming physically or emotionally exhausted, creates its own difficulties. And that itself might have meaning. Perhaps, if being or feeling busy or not busy seems to resonate, exploring what’s happening - choices and patterns - in a safe and trustworthy place, may be both helpful and illuminating.
About the author
Merri Mayers, an MBACP registered counsellor, works near Cirencester, Gloucestershire. Merri is an integrative therapist employing the most effective aspects of person centred, gestalt, psychodynamic, systemic and TA models. She works relationally, understanding that how we engage with others can illuminate how we see and feel about ourselves.
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