Boredom. The final frontier. These are the ramblings of a blogger trying to boldly explain what no man ever avoided: how and why we get bored.
What Is Boredom?
Have you ever thought what boredom is? Why we get bored? How we can strangely reproduce this state so often although we consider it something very uncomfortable? Maybe you tried, but ended up bored in the process…
Boredom is a state of anxiety and low self-respect. We’re educated to get satisfaction from a very limited set of activities. Watching movies, eating, reading, programming (I know my blog is read by some fine geeks too, this one’s for you, guys 🙂 ), talking with friends, daydreaming. We’re in a state of comfort and balance every time we’re doing something we like. But the moment we’re not doing it anymore, something very subtle, yet extremely powerful happens.
Because we’re not doing what we like anymore, we start not to like who does it too. Meaning us. If we can’t get satisfaction from what we’re doing, in a twisted, yet understandable attempt to stop that activity, we’re trying to hate the person who does it. Which, again, it’s us. It’s like saying: “hey, stop, I’m not enjoying this anymore, I know I have to do it (or I wanted to do it, or it’s good for me or for others around me) but I don’t want to do it anymore”. And from this subtle tension between what we “have” to do and what we “love” to do, boredom rise.
Anxiety And Low Self-Esteem
People who get bored easily are usually anxious people. They’re also having quite a low level of self-esteem. If you’re constantly challenging yourself by trying to stop what you’re doing, because you don’t “like” it, you end up considering yourself an inappropriate person. If you’re considering yourself an inappropriate person, you’ll end up doing things you don’t really want, just to feel a little more “appropriate”. And this is the beginning of your low self-esteem territory.
The bad news is that situation is contagious. It will spread over other areas of your life pretty soon. If you’re constantly getting bored doing stuff you should really do, this will reach to other areas of your life pretty soon. Boredom likes wide spaces, it has an inner sense of expansion. Once allowed in a certain section of your life it will do whatever it can to conquer the rest of you as fast as it can.
What To Do Against Boredom
The simplest way to challenge boredom is to like everything you do, unconditionally. I met some people who were in this state. They were able to extract meaning from and fully rejoice every little thing they were doing, being it spontaneous, self-imposed or just randomly crossed. They were able to dive in and experience everything with equal enthusiasm and energy. Of course, they were all kids. 🙂
I haven’t met a balanced child who got bored. Yet. All the boredom capable kids I met where in fact unbalanced kids, children taught they were valuable and loved only if they were doing only a limited set of activities, generally, to please their parents. But normal, non-alienated kids never get bored.
If you can be like a child, free and fearless, I bet you didn’t even reach so far in this article: boredom is something so strange to you that it didn’t raise an ounce of an interest. But if you’re like the rest of humanity, victim of a hedonistic and coercive education, you do get bored. You do get satisfaction only from a limited set of activities and if you’re not doing one of them you’re getting anxious. You have a deep, constant feeling of not being worth anything. The rest of the blog post is for you.
One way to alleviate the effects of boredom, if not ditching them totally, is to accept your current tasks and situations if they are not changeable. For instance, your domestic chores is something that I consider not being changeable. Chances that somebody else will do your domestic chores like laundry and dishes are pretty low, for many of us, so better accept it. Make it part of your life. It’s ok to do the dishes and take care of your clothes. If you’re not going to do this something ugly will happen, You’ll get swamped in a mountain of dirty dishes, wearing filthy clothes. Which will have quite an effect on your social life, if you ask me. Not to mention your self-esteem.
In fact, you’ll discover that many of your boring tasks are the foundation for proper functioning in this world. Many things you’ll consider source of apathy or lassitude are in fact fundamental for a proper insertion in your day to day life.They are repetitive and this what makes them boring, not the end result.
But there’s a little catch here, which will help you trick the boredom: it will manifest only if you take “repetitive” for granted. If you do that exactly the same each time. You don’t have to take it for granted. Change the way you do your dishes or laundry every time. Ditch the repetitive element out of it. Make it fun. Play roles. Do it at different times of the day. Try to describe the task you’re doing in an exotic foreign language. It’s not the end result which bores you, it’s yourself. Get yourself a kick in your virtual butt and accept what you have to do.
Stop Being Judgemental
If you’re eager to have the first and and final word in a discussion, I bet you’re pretty easily bored. Stop that. This constant need of being right will lead you to the swamp of self-delusion. If you don’t accept that you can be wrong sometimes, you’ll have to be right all the time just in order to accept yourself. You’ll start searching for situations or contexts in which you are always right and avoid situations or contexts in which you know you can’t be right. You’re alienating yourself in the most common sense of this word: you’re becoming an alien. You’re drastically limiting your choices. Sooner or later you’re going to become your worst censor. And that will make you bored to death.
Learn Something New
One of the most common situations in which you’re getting bored is if you think you know everything. There’s nothing new in this world for you. You already know everything. Well, maybe. But, most likely, maybe not. You think you know everything only because you refuse learning.You found some comfortable refuge in your life, hiding behind a status, a position, your child or your partner, and don’t really want to get out of there.
Well, sooner or later you’ll be forced to learn something new, so you’d better be proactive on that. You can’t hide forever behind somebody else. Statuses are volatile and positions are moving constantly. You can’t be there forever. Actually, the source of your boredom is this very refuge. Go away and learn something new. It will challenge your mind and ruin your comfort zone. And I consider both so empowering. 🙂
Boredom is an expression of our sense of emptiness and limitation. We think we’re functioning properly only if we do certain types of activities which is inherently wrong.
We’re designed to do anything and to enjoy everything.
Running For My Life - from zero to ultramarathoner
The spooky thing about depression is that it sneaks in. There aren’t really trumpets and loud voices announcing: “Hail, hail, this is depression entering the room, all rise!” Nope. It’s slow, silent, creepy. It doesn’t even look like depression. It starts with small isolation thoughts like: “Maybe I shouldn’t get out today, I just don’t feel like going out”. And then it does the same next day. And then the day after that and so on. And then it starts to whisper louder and louder in your ears: “Why would you go outside, you loser? Didn’t have enough yet? Want more people to make fun of how much of a big, fat loser you are?”
And then you start to breath in guilt and shame, instead of air. Every breathe you take is putting more dark thoughts into your body.
Until you get stuck. You can’t move anymore. At all.
If you want to know how I got out of this space, eventually, check out my latest book on Amazon and Kindle.