Why We Neglect Parts of Our Lives

Even though attention takes less energy than avoidance.

Since refinishing my floors this spring, I have been much more diligent in keeping them clean. Still there is dirt. I’ve known its source but I’ve ignored it. I’ve focused my attention where I choose — on the shiny floors in the kitchen and dining area — and I’ve avoided the back porch, a frequent access point where we leave our shoes haphazardly and then put bare feet down on grit and track it around.

The back porch is one of the places in our house where stuff gets dropped. Lots of shoes, tools, soccer balls, umbrellas, water bottles. It gets messy and sweeping the floors is only possible after dedication to picking stuff up off of the floor.

While finally organizing and sweeping the porch this week, I laughed at myself for how I’ve given so much attention to my shiny floors only to avoid the old, painted floors across the threshold. I thought of how frequently this same thing happens in our lives. We neglect areas that are clearly connected to other areas.

The reason we neglect certain areas of our lives is the same as why I neglected my porch. The starting point overwhelms us. Often we visualize obstacles that need to be overcome to get started. Whether it’s picking up shoes, finding receipts, doing research, making phone calls. There is almost always an initial task that makes us cringe or sigh, scrunch our nose or slump our shoulders. Nope, we don’t have it in us today. Pretty soon our days turn into weeks all because we’ve built up that initial task to be a big energy suck.

Look at it this way, you probably spend more energy thinking about that area of your life and avoiding it than it would take to just get started.

I have many areas of my life that I neglect, not just house chores. Likely you do too.

What represents the messy back porch in your life?

How will giving that area attention improve other areas of your life?


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