WTH is internalised capitalism?

Do you ever feel like you need to be doing more? Or perhaps feel guilty for resting?  How about prioritising work over pleasure?

I have.  And if you’ve also felt this way, you may also have internalised capitalism.

This isn’t a blog about the virtues or problems of capitalism, but rather how our collective systems are reflected within us and as us.

We live in a highly individualistic society.  Our systems tend to value a growing economy, profit, productivity and output more than things like meaning, rest or pleasure (or I dare say, even life).

This value system – of output & growth above all else – is then reflected in how we approach ideas of success, impact or wellbeing. 

So as an example while there has been a boom in corporate wellness programs and mindfulness in recent years, it hasn’t just been because it’s good for our health or wellbeing, it’s been attached to the idea of increased productivity.  Mindfulness will help you work even faster!*

Whether we consciously subscribe to these values or not, we often embody traits that are reflective of capitalism. Being always on, 24/7. Attaching our value to our productivity.  Prioritising work over pleasure or rest (even when our bodies are crying out for it).

We extract our inner resources in the same way we endlessly extract from the Earth.

We glorify being busy – as if busy is a sign of success, value or impact.

if you’re taking a break from working right now, how are you feeling? Do you feel slightly unproductive? A little guilty for not completing something or doing more?

We sometimes try to make change happen by using the same culture that capitalism extolls.   Work harder. Work longer.  Do more.

There’s an embodiment of scarcity – there’s not enough time, there’s not enough people to do the work, there’s not enough funding, change isn’t happening fast enough. 

We neglect our health, we link our value and worth to what we produce, and we feel guilty when we rest.

And of course, all of this, results in burnout.

Now, internalised capitalism isn’t the only reason burnout happens, but if this sounds vaguely familiar, I’d like to invite you to join a free workshop on Ending Burnout for Activists & Changemakers. 

You can find your best time zone option by selecting:

Sunday: 26 September: 9:30am UK | 6:30pm Sydney | 8:30pm NZ.
Tuesday, 28 September: 3:30 Pacific US | 6:30pm Eastern US
Tuesday, 5 October: 7:30pm UK | 8:30pm CET

NB: This isn’t to diss mindfulness – I teach meditation & mindfulness because they can be life changing.  But we need to be careful not to use it as a way to extract more from ourselves. 

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