Being Busy and the Need to Feel Important

Michelle LaLumiere
3 min readDec 27, 2021

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“I am a human being, not a human doing.” — Kurt Vonnegut

Photo by Einar H. Reynis on Unsplash

You’ve heard it or may have even been the culprit of the “I’m so busy” syndrome. Some people have an innate need to be busy, even if they complain about it. In society, this is relatively normal. We’re used to the need to be busy, but what is the underlining factor here?

There, of course, are many explanations for this behavior. However, one reason that does not get talked about enough is how the constant busyness is a front for the need to feel important.

How often as a teenager did you feel unvalued when you’re at home on a Friday night while you know there are plenty of others out? Unfortunately, this mentality seeps over into adulthood. Here in the U.S. especially, we tend to value someone who is always on the go as successful. “Wow, they must be important!”

The truth is, this is the wrong mentality. In fact, this way of thinking can be harmful.

When we need to feel busy our feeling of importance inflates our self-worth. Whereas, if we sit down with who we are, what needs are required, and our goals, we can move further into a fulfilled life.

When we constantly need to stay busy, we’re not allowing ourselves to open up to more possibilities that our life could have for us. We need to get honest about who we are and our struggles. Sure, you dumb down any feelings of unimportance or any other negative feelings you may have for yourself, but they will come up at some point and catch you off guard. Deal with them while you have the openness to do so.

How does one do this, though, when we live in a society that says “more is best”?

  1. Take small steps in how to shift through the truth about your busyness. Consider creating a routine that includes keeping a journal, meditating, or going on walks and observing the world around you. These exercises may sound daunting at first; however, try for a few minutes in the morning, then move on to a few in the afternoon, then in the evening. Staying mindful throughout your day is an excellent way to have a clear mind which creates more meaningful situations. These exercises can lead to more creativity and success.
  2. Know the difference between being busy and being productive. One can stay busy by doing mundane things but staying productive and getting what needs to get done is different.
  3. Get honest with yourself if you’re relaxing or doing something you love, and unpleasant feelings creep up. When you’re reading, why does the sense of guilt come up? Or, when you’re tired to the bone and take a nap, and a wave of shame blanket over you?

By no means am I saying that some days a person truly is overburdened with too many things to do. I’m looking at you people that celebrate Christmas. I understand this. However, every day compared to occasionally is not the same.

Take time to step back and understand your busyness. Are you productive or just filling time to ensure you’re not dealing with negative emotions? Are you allowing creativity to flow or blocking it by the constant state of “go”? Are society’s expectations weighing heavy on you? Are they not permitting you to fill a fulfilled life on your terms?

Get honest about who you need yourself to be.

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Michelle LaLumiere

Writer, Conscious-ish Mama, Spooky Wife, Spiritual Enthusiast, Nature Obsessed, Only a Guru of eating pizza.