Every Dutch man and woman knows what “being a Calvinist or Calvinistic” means: you must work hard, live a steady life, save your money and believe in scarcity which stops you from living an abundant life. Right?
Calvinism is the philosophy of Johannes Calvijn (1509-1564), a French-Swiss Christian theologian and the founder of this Protestant-Christian doctrine. Interesting detail is that Calvinism created the perfect climate for the rise of capitalism. These above mentioned characteristics are deeply rooted in the Dutch culture. Most Dutch parents raise their sons and daughters in this belief, at least they used to.
It’s remarkable to see that the Calvinistic thought can still bother me in my daily life. Especially when I choose to spend the rest of my life in a way that I wouldn’t describe as a life of hard work with each month enough money earned that can be saved. And since my view of life has changed from scarcity to abundance. I can tell you, it’s not that easy. It’s hard work to change your beliefs, even if you know the new beliefs fit the life you’re living much better and make you a happier and nicer person.
Every once and a while I feel guilty (another Calvinistic trait) for enjoying the freedom I have on Ibiza. I feel guilty of not yet earning money with my articles. I am blinded by the deeply rooted belief that I must earn money with my work as a writer. This conviction is even broader and sounds like this: I need to earn money to be of value. Isn’t that terrible? This is not who I am today, but still it’s a lingering thought and it’s difficult to erase.
Friends and family are asking if I have found new work (I quitted my job two months ago. At the moment as I’m writing this, a message of a friend has popped up on my phone asking this very question! Really!).
Well, this is my work: writing. I have found my new work and I’m happy and grateful. Does it pay the bills? No.
Does this make me worthless? I don’t think so, although I sometimes believe it does. Where does this self-sabotaging thinking come from? Of course the Calvinistic roots are part of it. I’d give a hell of a party with as many mojitos as you want if I could say them goodbye. Although, and I would like to have that clear, the Calvinistic traits that are at the base of Dutch society did serve me well when I was younger (my discipline to attain a masters degree in law during some difficult and emotional years). Nevertheless, I feel they don’t fit me anymore. They interfere with the new path I’ve chosen. After all, Calvinism and Ibiza are not exactly a match made in heaven.
How people are valued is explained by the physician Dr. Gabor Maté:
“The nature of our economic system that says that what matters is not who you are, but how you are valued by others. It’s a materialistic society. We value people for what they produce or for what they consume. And the people that neither consume nor produce are ostracized and totally devalued by society.”
In moments of weakness this is how I view myself, whether I like it or not. This is what society tells us from a young age and goes on telling us until we die.
Last night I came across this short and interesting video of Dr. Gabor Maté:
I wouldn’t say that I feel ostracized or devalued by society. Please no. And certainly not here on Ibiza. No, I’m rather shocked by the fact that I sometimes see myself this way: I am of less value because I chose to follow my heart (instead of the money).
I will shake off these thoughts, my chronic convictions about money and my worries of what other people think of me. I want to keep on believing in my own path and not to be distracted every once in a while by old beliefs and by what other people say to make me doubt myself.
To do this succesfully I only have to be in a forest with trees standing tall, admire the moon at night, hear the sea waves breaking, listen to the laughing sea gulls in the mornings or ride the rocky path on my bicycle. It’s ironic how I always forget these bullying beliefs when I am outside, in nature, witnessing the things without “value” that give me value for I am part of it all.
….You and me, we’re part of something big.
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