Feb 21, 2023 | Podcast, Your Business

Dismantling Internalized Capitalism

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About the episode:

Has busy-ness become the norm for your life? Have you felt that you’re living to work rather than working to live? If you are, you’re not alone. So many of us are impacted by internalized capitalism – it can feel like every decision we make is based on our productivity. This way of living wreaks havoc on our nervous system and doesn’t foster an environment where we feel like we can truly flourish. 

This concept of internalized capitalism is something that I have spent more and more time thinking about, and seeing the impact of in my own life. Today on the podcast, I’m really excited to dig into this topic, this topic of internalized capitalism, what it means, how it plays into our life and how we can start to break up with this systemic challenge that many of us, especially ambitious empaths are still living and operating inside of so let’s jump in.

Topics discussed:

  • What internalized capitalism is, how it was formed, and how we can combat and overcome this systemic challenge
  • Why this topic is important to Catherine and why she believes it directly affects empaths and HSPs
  • Loving as a verb and why we have to make more room in our lives for simplicity 
  • Rest as an act of resistance and the profound consequences that can come from it
  • The idea of living in accordance with the seasons and being comfortable with downturns and breakdowns 
  • Four places to start when it comes to understanding internalized capitalism and dismantling it in our own lives





Click here for a raw, unedited transcript of this episode


Catherine A. Wood  00:01

For those of you who are married, or have the weddings that you’ve attended, I bet you have favorite moments, right? Like those moments that you just cannot forget that truly were the highlight of the day. What about the embarrassing moments are the ones that you turned red in the face for? Well, a, my Irish Catholic self had just one of those moments late last year at my own wedding. And here’s what it was, we were standing at the altar. And we were gearing up to read our vows. And I had written my vows down in a book. And one of my vows, I quote you not, was that I am committed to encouraging my husband to live to work, rather than work to live. So did you catch that, that I truly wanted to support him in living to work rather than in working to live? Now, the irony is that I’m a coach, I have so much self awareness around this paradigm shift this way of being so much work and trying to disentangle the ways in which I collapsed, my sense of self, my sense of my life with what I accomplished, and my work. And yet, in the art of the moment, in those conscious days and weeks that I spent writing my vows, I still wrote it incorrectly. And in my experience, so many of us still live to work rather than live to work. I mean, how many of you have heard your friend say, recently, gosh, I’m just so busy, as if they were it is a badge of honor, as if it’s something to celebrate. And to choose over and over again, it’s almost as if busy becomes a default, and we can’t embrace life or be happy or content if we’re not busy. So this is something that I have become really passionate about researching and reading about, we’ve been reading about so many topics, so many books on these topics in my mastermind, and it is something that is near and dear to my heart. This concept of internalized capitalism is something that I have spent more and more time thinking about, and just seeing the impact of in my own life. Today on the podcast, I’m really excited to dig into this topic, this topic of internalized capitalism, what it means, how it plays into our life and how we can start to break up with this systemic challenge that many of us, especially ambitious empaths are still living in operating inside of so let’s jump in


Catherine A. Wood  00:01

internalized capitalism. So what the heck? Is this really? And how did it get formed? How did we come to live inside of this model? And this way of being? And how the heck do we start to combat this and overcome this hugely systemic challenge? This is a topic that has become deeply important to me, because I think it speaks to this challenge that I noticed consistently with my ambitious clients this experience of how do we slow down? What is enough? How do we disentangle our sense of self, our sense of value being collapsed with what we’re able to produce, achieve or create? So let’s start with the definition. So what is it? Internalized capitalism is this idea that our self worth is directly linked to our productivity. And this is, according to Anders Hayden, a political science professor at Dalhousie University, hopefully, I’m saying that correctly in Nova Scotia, who is conducting research on the political and policy impacts on alternative measures of well being and prosperity outside of GDP, as interviewed in USA Today, and he says, You can’t feel value in yourself just for being alive, just for being a human being you have to be a human doing to have any value off, does that land for anyone else? No, it does for me. Now, this is certainly not a new concept to me, or the ambitious empaths that I tend to work with. I mean, I’m an ontological coach. After all, ontology is the study of being not doing. So I live for this stuff. And furthermore, personally speaking, I, I have a lifetime of dismantling the notion that my own workaholic tendencies are the most important qualities to be celebrated and lauded. And often, the only qualities I felt sufficiently acknowledged for growing up in a very busy household. This is a super normal experience. And one, so many of us have to come to peace with an adulthood through no fault of our caretakers. Internalized capitalism is however, a concept I find myself reading so much more about this year, and being drawn to books that talk about these concepts. I mean, we have been reading one book after the next about this concept of collapsing, or of untangling disentangling leisure, meaning that we’re lazy. And I, I pulled up some of these books, because I actually want to open them up and read and share some of these concepts with you that I have just been engrossed in over the past year. And we’ll add all the books in the show notes, and I highly recommend you pick up the books or listen to them on audiobook. These, these four that I’m going to share with you now are literally, like filled with post it notes. Filled with earmarked pages. I haven’t earmarked so many pages in, in books in years. So the first the first concept that I want to talk about is this concept of love as a verb. And this concept is talked about, by bell hooks, in her book all about love. And here’s what she says she says that love is a combination of care, commitment, knowledge, responsibility, trust, and respect. Living simply makes loving, simple to love well is the task in all meaningful relationships, not just in romantic bonds, knowing how to be solitary is central to the art of loving, I think that is so powerful. The idea that when we live simply, we have more space we have more access, to to love to be content to feel loved in our relationship. I have worked with lots of clients over the years, who tried to earn their own love through spending money on themselves or investing in themselves and their business in their life and their lifestyle and their possessions to try to fill that void. And with within an in reality. The inverse is is the truth living simply makes loving simple. Now, you may have heard about this concept of minimalism and I don’t know a ton about minimalism. I’m just starting to get more in Interested in it. But it truly makes sense the idea that when we create more space in our life, we have more access to our intuition, we have more access to satisfaction, we have more capacity to focus our attention on the areas of life, the things, the relationships that we take the most satisfaction and fulfillment from. Okay, so let’s keep going. So the next concept that I want to talk about is this idea of rest, as an act of resistance. I love that idea. Sorry for the you may hear some pages rustling around so I, I pulled up this book, this is taken from the book, rest is resistance a manifesto. And the book is by Trisha Hirsi, who’s the founder of the nap ministry, which is essentially this organization she created in Georgia, where you have these communal community events where people come to nap, and rest together and she holds and creates the safe space for people to rest. And she talks about some of just the profound consequences of, of this experience of this experiment that she took on and then became a movement. She says, I believe rest, sleep, naps, daydreaming and slowing down can help us all wake up to see the truth of ourselves. Rest is a healing portal to our deepest selves. Rest is care. Rest is radical, we must stand and lay firmly in the space of creating a life filled with rest and radical care, even amid oppression. Now, I think this is so important, because she goes on to talk a lot about the African American body and how the African American body needs to rest even more because of the ways in which we oppressed African Americans, and then the ways in which we limited their capacity to rest and work to them to the bone in slavery. And I think that that is just such a profound concept of the ways in which our bodies have to unlearn how we were colonial alized how we were formed, how we came to be an act and operate. It’s just so powerful. She goes on to say that grind culture Furthermore, has made us all human machines, willing and ready to donate our lives to a capitalist system that thrives by placing placing profits over people. The rest is resistance movement is a connection in a path back to our true nature. We are stripped down to who we really were before the terror of capitalism and white supremacy. We are enough we are divine. I think it’s a it’s a sobering truth. And it’s one that we are still grappling with as a country and one that I think the more we talk about and lean into being radically honest about the more we can heal and create a collective shift in our in our paradigm in this way of being around hustle mentality and grind culture. Okay. The next concept I want to talk about is this idea of living in accordance with the seasons. And sorry, moving books around again. So this is taken from this book that I’ve been sharing a lot about in my newsletter lately. This I’m still finishing up with this one. The book is called wintering the power of rest and retreat in difficult times by Katherine Mae. It is lovely. It is such a beautiful. Just a beautiful story about this author’s experience coming to terms with her own inner winter. She says wintering brings about some of the most profound and insightful moments of our human experience and wisdom resides in those who have wintered in our relentlessly busy contemporary world. We are forever trying to defer the onset of winter. We don’t ever care to feel its full bite, and we don’t dare to show the way that it ravages us and occasional sharp wintering would do us good. We must stop believing that these times in our lives are somewhat silly. A failure of nerve a lack of willpower. We must stop trying to ignore them or dispose of them. They are real and they are asking something of us. We must just learned to invite the winter in, we may never choose to winter. But we can choose how I think that is such a compelling reminder, the reminder that we can avoid winter. If we didn’t experience the downturns and the ebbs and the breakdowns, we would never have the capacity to fully appreciate the flows, the summers, the upturns and the breakthroughs. So one is is fundamentally required in order to have the other experience and our capacity I would assert to embrace and gain a healthy sense of appreciation for with winter is the degree to which we can gain a healthy sense of appreciation for summer and the metaphor metaphorical implications and interpretations of this. The last book that has just been a life changing from hate lately, is the book do nothing by Celeste higly. I’m going to share a little bit more about and from her book and in a moment. But Celeste talks all about this idea that we need to embrace idleness, that for generations, we have collapsed, this idea of idleness with making it mean that we’re lazy, and it truly it’s just not true. So there’s something that I appreciate about the naming of all of these concepts, and the naming of internalized capitalism, the idea that this is a systemic problem. And it’s not simply an individual, one that many of us feel so deeply challenged by and confronted by the idea that our account our country was founded on the principle of capitalism, and the hard truth that some were oppressed in order for others to thrive. This is our nation’s history that we must contend with here in the United States. Absolutely. Yet origin stories of slavery, colonialism and conquering, extend far and wide. And then you take into consideration the history of work, combined with the lore of the American Dream, which as history reveals are actually a bit at odds with one another. So in Celeste Haley’s book do nothing how to break away from overworking, overdoing and under living. She reminds us that many of our country and world’s greatest scientists, thought leaders and creators think Leonardo da Vinci, Einstein, Charles Dickens, to name a few. I’m sorry that they’re all men, that they notoriously worked very few focused hours per day, and they deeply value their non negotiable time for rest. siestas, leisure discussions and long meals yet the American dream and the allure of hustle mentality and endless opportunity. Well, it pulled us in a different, much more unsustainable direction. And the hard truth per a recent UN study suggests that more people actually die from workaholism these days than alcoholism. Yet one is culturally and socially accepted. And the other is not as a society. We have normalized long hours, working over lunch breaks and on the weekends, and not using all of our vacation days or not being fully present or fully on vacation while they’re or as entrepreneurs we, you know, we quit the nine to five for time freedom, and then it’s often the first thing to go. As a culture, we still laud hustle mentality. We think we need to justify and defend the position of why we’re so busy. And as a humanity, we still feel uncomfortable with Brave decisions like the ones Jacinda Ardern, Simone Biles and Naomi Osaka have taken because we question if we were in the same position, whether would be able to find the same courage to opt out. This does not have to be our truth or reality. These are the travails of internalized capitalism. So what can we do about it you might ask? Well, here are four places to start. These are ones that have made a big difference for me and for many of my clients. And first of all, I’ll just jump in like pick up one of these books today to start to, to understand and normalize more of these concepts for yourself, and how you experience them in your life in your family life in your body. Because truly self awareness is access to change what we are not aware of, we cannot start to consciously change. Okay, so the first place that I will invite you to look is to contend with our origin story. I feel it’s incredibly healthy and important to normalize, that this is not a you problem. This is an us problem. I am often so often the first to look through the lens of personal responsibility and self agency, what can I do? How can I correct this? What can I shift? What can I practice, however, I have realized for myself that there’s a lot of grace and self permission accessible, when I can acknowledge that it is not only my fault that I struggle with this, and that I am not the only one who experiences this. When I can remind myself that the worth of an individual the worth of me or others, being tied to our level of productivity, or how much we can produce, achieve and create is a function of the world that I grew up in, as much as it is a mindset to let go of. Similarly, as much as this is a systemic problem, we also get to pave the way for a collective and conscious awakening. Let’s celebrate that every day Jacinda, Simone’s and Naomi’s in our lives. Let’s celebrate our successes and invite others to celebrate. There’s not just announce them and head back to the drawing board and the rat race. Rather, let’s allow ourselves to feel the significance of our efforts. Big and small, and to embody feeling proud of ourselves and reward ourselves for what there is to reward and celebrate and acknowledge ourselves for. In this way, we can support one another and allowing ourselves to be enough rather than this endless invitation to get back to the rat race. Number two, let’s embrace rituals. I find deep enjoyment in ritual, from walking the dogs to enjoying my morning glass of warm lemon water to delighting in my morning reading time journaling yoga and meditation to fully appreciating Mother Earth and her contrasting weather extremes from summer to winter and everything in between. This has made a life changing difference for me, the gift of being fully present, and finding balance is well worth the challenge of finding your way in our dopamine nation. Another great read by the way. Internalized capitalism is a sneaky bugaboo, the joy and satisfaction of meeting a hard one goal or overcoming a significant obstacle Those are real. But when the goal or the obstacle is what we fixate on, and derive our sense of self and enjoyment from, we are robbing ourselves of the experience of true contentment in the present moment. When we focus on the gift of ritual in our lives, on the gift of being here now. We allow ourselves to gain more joy and satisfaction in this moment, hence pulling ourselves out of the delayed gratification. Gain caused by this unsustainable dynamic. Number three, let’s normalize leisure. let’s prioritize idleness as much as we laud deadlines, let’s share about being leisurely as much as we laud being busy. Let’s start rewriting the language we use to describe and affirm our experience of everyday life. Let’s read books like the ones I have been mentioning and the ones clamoring at you from your nightstand that welcome in a new way of living and a new way of being. What if you started by embracing not being busy? What if you allowed yourself to be idle? What if you practice being fully present? In the morning, in the evening, on vacation and every moment in between? Truly What if And number four, consider finding like minded conscious creators? Surround yourself with conscious creators who are who are on a similar journey of building a life and and a business that supports their life and their desired lifestyle, transformative change? Well, it’s hard for any of us but surrounding yourself with others who share similar values and similar commitment makes an invaluable difference. We are opening the doors to our unbounded mastermind again in March if you’re ready to think bigger, to take on some of this work and collective business and change And welcome an upgraded mindset to become the architect of your dreams. Consider joining us unbounded is all about a high vibe network who is committed to creating aligned partnerships, business collaborations and lifelong friends we are committed to doing this work together and stepping into a higher consciousness that magnetizes clients and opportunities and aligned and embodied ways of growing our businesses that support our lifestyles. If any of this sounds of interest to you, or if you are ready to make a lasting change in your life, it would be such an honor to speak with you and to discover whether unbounded or working one on one with one of the coaches on our team is a fit for you. Thank you so much for joining me today. We will include all the show notes all the books in the links today in the episode and see you next time.


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