Boredom and Apathy – life’s best teachers.
“I’m bored!” says the child, “Here’s a hammer and nails!” says the parent.
In life and sports, we spend lots of time doing things other than playing the game. Not everything about life and sports is over the top exciting. Even actors can sit around all day waiting to read just one or two lines. In the waiting period, they need to either be rehearsing the lines or doing something else which enhances them as a human.
We all get bored. Even as adults.
We need to do the mundane things: laundry, dishes, shopping, bathing, studying, working, cooking and eating. Even waiting in line can be mundane. Doing the mundane things is good for your mental health!
As a society we have forgotten that we are “human beings” and have become “human doings”.
If we are not continually entertained or “feeling” a certain way, there must be something wrong with us which means we need a medication, or need to self-medicate with: food, drugs, alcohol, etc.
Boredom is a coping mechanism. It creates a space for us to notice how we feel and decide what to do about it. It is a creative learning state. Sadly, it is not taught to children anymore. Parents keep children continually occupied with: chores, studies, video games, entertainment, sports, and other activities. Children never experience boredom and never get to develop their skill of being content within themselves; sitting quietly and focusing, just being.
Even prayer, apathy driven, is not allowed or taught anymore. Yoga is beginning to come in, but is still not accepted due to misinformation.
The purpose and value of prayer, was to quite your mind for a few moments, remove your focus from other things and bring it to full attention on what you want or are doing. People don’t even stop for 10 seconds to bless their food anymore! There is so much power in blessing; speaking life into your food before it enters your body! Or even eating with the feeling of thankfulness and gratitude.
Many people have ulcers and allergies because of this, but that is for another blog post.
People have grown accustom to eating while doing other things, or while highly emotional. They really do not even know what food tastes like any more, that is why they need to load it with salt and sugar, or wash it down with a soda.
Many people spend so much time with negative self-talk, and in a negative or stressful workplace, that they don’t even know what its like to not be continually in that negative or apathetic state of being. When they get home, they need to have the radio or TV going to keep the stress coming.
It would really upset their apple cart if they took 5 minutes to notice how they really feel, and what all the busyness is covering up.
Usually, you can get through the boring parts of life by focusing on the purpose, end result, or goal. But what if it’s up to you to create the meaning and purpose?
As an adult, there is no one to tell you: “Do it because I said so.” “Do it because you have to.” “Don’t ask me why, just do it just because you have to.”
It’s easier to keep on doing your language lessons if you have an overseas trip booked in six months. Focusing on how much you love a clean floor makes it easier to sweep or vacuum. Many times, listing to your favorite tunes will also make mundane tasks go faster and be more enjoyable. The old “whistle while you work” method does take the work out of work!
Keep in mind these are ALL just perceptions of lack, which we were taught, learned and passed down. These are limiting and untrue statements of belief. In reality, many people leave school and become very successful in life. Many people never learn to drive and save lots of money by using public transportation or riding a bicycle. Many people never get married in a church, they go to the court house and get married for a fraction of the cost of a church wedding. And thousands of people are buried in city and public cemeteries – they still go to heaven!
We have many of the things we have because people decided to not listen to the “don’t” and “can’t” messages. One example is computers, they were created in a garage by college dropouts.
Why bother if you’ll fail? Why try if you won’t be good enough? Nothing ventured nothing gained! It is the negative outlook that keeps you from achieving anything. If you never try, you will never get the experience and gain knowledge of what doesn’t work. Failure is your best teacher.
Do yourself a favor and erase the words: “failure” and “not enough” from your vocabulary. Replace them with “I can” and “I am”.
You only fail when you stop!
Now there are times when apathy can help us understand, and keep us from making the wrong choice. But we need to learn to listen to it. Sometimes apathy can appear because the thing we are doing is no longer leading us towards the desired goal. In this case, apathy can help you assess where things got off course, and help you refocus your efforts.
Many times, when we arrive at this point, it is because we have allowed the negative talk of others to influence us. We may have done something just because everyone else was doing it. All your friends got married and had kids, so you decided to get married and have kids, only to find this wasn’t what you really wanted. Or everyone else has a nice house, 3 vehicles, boat and is in debt; to be one of them you must do the same.
I heard a true story about this. This couple had been together for several years and then all their friends got married and had children. They felt pressured to do the same if they were going to still be friends and make their families happy. Then one day after getting up to mow the lawn, the man looked around and realized he was not happy, that his body was just going through the motions and he had become like everyone around him. He went back inside and laid down in bed next to his wife and said, “I can’t do this anymore….” She looked at him and said, “Neither can I!” A few weeks later, they put their children up for adoption, sold the house, vehicles, boat and everything else. Their sister in-law adopted the children; this made her very happy. The couple moved into a nice small apartment and went back to the life they wanted to have. It saved their friendship and marriage!
When you can’t get excited or motived, it can be a sign that it’s time to move on!
Society, parents, peers, and everywhere you look is telling you what you should do. Pick up a magazine, turn on the TV, or look at your phone – they are all sending you messages of what you should think and do. Just being around your friends is enough peer pressure to make you do things you don’t want to.
Did you know that you are an adult? One thing you can do as an adult is say “NO!”
I know, that word has been beaten out of you since the first time you said it. It’s time to relearn this very important two letter word! If you don’t, you will just be a robot, going through the motions of life, like everyone else and never really know what you are capable of.
You have your own mind in there – use it!
In Star Wars, Return of the Jedi, Luke Skywalker is learning to control “the force”. His teacher, Yoda, tells him to raise his spaceship out of the swamp with the power of his mind. Luke is skeptical and hesitant. “All right! (sigh) I’ll try.” Yoda becomes angry and snaps, “No trying! Either do or don’t do! No trying!”
This is how you should look at apathy, boredom, and motivation. When you want to do something, do it. When you don’t, then stop. The biggest hurdle is learning what YOU want to do. It takes time to find out who YOU are as you wade through the muck society has been throwing at you.
Think about doing something and notice what it does to your physical body – did your heart skip a beat, did you feel a sudden rush, did you shrink back in fear or break out in a sweat? Notice and take note of these things. This is your body helping you learn who you are and what you really want to do.
Here’s my personal journey – I dropped out of high school after the 10th grade. When I did, I was told ALL the things I would never be able to do. Prior to this, I had quit confirmation class. I was also told ALL the things I would never be able to do. I grew up being told by many people that I should get my teeth fixed, wear makeup and paint my nails or “You’ll never get married to anyone good.”
Well, I left home when I was 17, got an apartment, and got the first job I interviewed for. I didn’t have a car or much money, so I walked to work. After a while I didn’t like this, it wasn’t getting me to my goals in life. I went to Georgia with some friends and ended up going on to Florida to live on a Christian community with people from all over the world and all walks of life. This became my college years – 4 to be exact. I always had a place to sleep, food to eat, and clothing to wear. Not only that, I was in a safe and supportive environment where I was free to ask questions and explore topics. I was also able to earn a bit of money.
After Florida, I bounced around for a bit. I was a sectary for a naturopath, nanny for a psychic, and worked the night shift at an assisted living facility. Even then, people told me to get pregnant, get on welfare, get food stamps, etc. I didn’t see any future in that for me. I knew from a young age that I didn’t want to have children, so that was about as appealing as eating shit!
Later, I moved to a small town. Some friends had an empty house, and I could stay there and pay utilities and do lite upkeep. I decided if I was going to stay, I should get a job. I walked into the local café and was hired on the spot, reporting for work that afternoon. As I got to know people, some of the older folks asked for help with small chores: window cleaning, lite housework, driving them to appointments, etc.
Later, I was asked to work at the local grocery store; which I did for 10 years, and loved every minute of it. In this small town I also ran for City Council, and got to know many fine people. It was my own Lake Wobegon. (I like listening to Garrison Keillor, A Prairie Home Companion)
Later, I got married to a fine, respectable man, and even tied the knot in the local church. No one cared that I wasn’t confirmed, they were just happy that 2 people met and were in love. I think most of the town came to the reception at the church. It was all very simple; a wedding, food, and conversation.
He died a year and a half later. After 4 years, I sold the house and moved. I was homeless for a time, figuring out which direction I was headed now – all my hopes and dreams I had been shattered. (apathy)
I landed in a new, larger town. Again, I set out. Food was number one. I volunteered at the local food shelf, which, at the time, gave me fresh food every week. I found a place to live, and then not long after, I met my now husband. I had to regroup again.
Let’s just say life is about being able to constantly change and regroup. It’s about being: board, scared, happy, sad, angry, grateful, and so much more!
In business, I am always evolving, learning and doing new things. Some days I have to push myself, it is scary doing new things. I too feel apathy! But I use the skillset of Hypnosis to help me focus and visualize the next steps. How do I get closer to the person I want to become?
Before every major business decision I have felt apathy. I had to take a day or two and focus on how this decision really made me feel. Was I afraid I couldn’t do it? Was it the right direction for my career? Was I just afraid of the unknown and the possibility of success? If it worked then what!
Often, being a Hypnotherapist takes me into uncharted territory and upsets or worries people. That is not my concern, I need to keep my thoughts and eyes on the vision I decided to live.
Being a Hypnotist is not as popular and glamorous as you might think! Lots of people dislike me for what I do, but then they dislike other things too. I’m not living for them; I’m living for me.
Clean your own house, cook your own food, wash your own laundry, pull weeds by hand – you never know what you might learn by doing so. If nothing else the apathy of the mundane can help you learn what you really want to do.
Remember to take 10 seconds and feel gratitude for the food before you eat it, “Bless the hands that prepared it and nourish it for my body”.
Leave all of yesterday’s concerns in the past, todays troubles where you found them, and tomorrow’s uncertainties in the future.
Take a moment to breathe and feel the beat of your heart.
Listen to the internal self-talk, and notice how it makes you feel.
Jessica L Hanson
Jessica L Hanson CHt. LLC