A Danish Psychologist Discusses What Happens When We Constantly Seek Improvement
Thrive Global

Thank you, Kamilla, for writing such a beautiful, wise and concise article. Everything you write rings true to me. I am a trauma and emotion-centered psychotherapist with a special interest in the emotion/affect of shame. So Many people I know in my professional and personal life drive themselves beyond what they know is good for them but they cannot stop. Many of them are running from an underlying feeling of not measuring up. I see it most glaringly with money. Clients will say, “When I reach $_________ per year, I will feel good enough.” Then they reach their goal, and alas the goal post moves and now they say, “When I reach $___________ per year (which is a bigger number than their last), I will feel good enough.” But they are running from a feeling inside of “not enough.” That’s why it always has to be more. I think shame is the underlying emotion driving many people who cannot slow down. Our country creates so much culturally-induced shame: body shame, socioeconomic shame, career shame, education shame. To paraphrase you, balance is the key to life. And to help people feel ok to relax, to value moments of leisure and calm, people need help quieting the parts of them that hold shame. Articles such as yours help. It would be wonderful if the USA and capitalism could value mental health and wellness, even just a little more, as opposed to valuing “production, production, production,” to quote my nephew. We have a mental health crisis in this country and I believe part of reason is the very subject you are addressing. Here’s to creating change!