Breaking Through the “Always On” Mentality

Lindsey (Lazarte) Carson
The Startup
Published in
3 min readNov 8, 2019

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Photo by Christian Erfurt on Unsplash

The other day at work, one of my co-workers greeted me with such enthusiasm after not chatting with each other in a while. “Lindsey! Hi! How are you?” she asked with a big smile. And instead of faking an answer and putting a smile on, I responded spiritlessly, saying “Honestly, not so good”.

I could see the disappointment in her eyes and felt somewhat guilty for squashing her excitement to catch up, but it was the truth. I was having a mentally tough week and I was exhausted. I couldn’t muster up the ability to say something else and pretend that I was doing great and that everything was great and I had nothing to complain about. I just wanted to be real.

Sometimes, we feel the need to hide the fact that we’re upset or anxious or frustrated, especially to coworkers, because we don’t want to come off as a Debbie Downer. We don’t want to project our emotions on other people or ruin their mood. We don’t want to bring someone else’s day down with our negativity— or this is how I feel at least. So, in the past, whenever I was having a really crappy day and someone asked me how I was doing, I would suck it up and tell a little white lie that, “I’m doing great!” when really, I’m not.

If we’re going through something difficult, we shouldn’t feel the pressure to put on a smile just for the sake of other people. Instead, we should feel what we’re feeling and express what we’re feeling without guilt or shame. Otherwise, we’ll bottle it up and eventually, it will manifest negatively in other areas of our lives.

Culture today promotes this “always on” mentality — this idea that everyone is out having the best time doing something that’s imaginatively cooler or better than what you’re doing. It’s this facade that other people are happy just because they look happy.

We look through social media to be constantly bombarded with other people’s feeds where they’re seemingly “living their best life”. We watch other people’s stories on social media to see what they’re doing in real-time, then feel like we’re missing out if we’re at home.

This “FOMO” (fear of missing out) mentality shouldn’t enable you to do something just because other people are doing it. This “always on” mentality is what burns people out when they’re not in the mood to put a…

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Lindsey (Lazarte) Carson
The Startup

Writer, Runner, and New Mom. I write about work, relationships, culture, and life in general.