Anyone else stressing themselves out with their end-of-year deadlines? 🙋‍♂️

Tyler Dane
3 replies
I often stress myself out in December by scrambling to finish my projects before the new year. That way I can share all I did this year and feel good about myself. It's part of a cycle that might sound familiar to my fellow high-achievers: Achievements -> Validation -> Self-love. If I get enough impressive things done this year, I'll earn enough praise to power me through to next. But missing a deadline or goal takes a big toll on my self-image. Loosening my grip on end-of-year goals has definitely helped my sanity. But I'm still working on breaking free from the achievement cycle. If you've also dealt with this, what worked for you?


bell hooks says that we “have learned to think about love primarily in relation to…the context of reward and punishment. From early childhood on, most of us remember being told we were loved when we did things pleasing to our parents.” My first thought, reading your post, is that you should think about your childhood. Did your parents reward you for visible achievements, like good grades, and withhold love at other times? (I experienced this! I learned that in therapy.) When you are always trying to project this image of yourself as accomplished, you naturally feel a split between your authentic self and your “accomplished” self. However, “this division between a false self invented to please others and a more authentic self need not exist when we cultivate positive self-esteem” (bell hooks). One important element of self-esteem is how you actually spend your time - do you spend your time at a job you enjoy? “Many jobs undermine self-love because they require that workers constantly prove their worth.” When I ask whether you enjoy your job, I’m not asking whether you think it is worth tolerating for future material gain. Enjoying your job means that you find it emotionally fulfilling on its own, NOT as a means to an end. Would you do your job for free? There are so many reasons we struggle we with self-love. We live in a culture that tells us to buy more and more in order to fix our supposed imperfections (ex: “anti-aging” makeup and skincare). Resisting those messages is difficult. If this is a feeling you have regularly - needing yearly accomplishments to feel valuable - I encourage you to: - Go to therapy and talk about your childhood - Be honest about your failures and flaws to everyone you know, so you can live as your authentic self I don’t struggle with the “achievement cycle” anymore, but I had feelings similar to you before talking about my childhood in therapy. I don’t think therapy is a solution to every emotional problem, but it actually helped me in this case.
Tyler Dane
@enderm Thanks for the detailed response. The authentic vs accomplished self is a nice way to summarize it
Nope - on holiday :)