Sunday, November 7, 2010

10 Weeks of Word Oracles - Bother

The cusp of "why bother?"
© 2010 by Joyce Mason
All Rights Reserved

Drawing this word as one of our oracles bothered me! To bother is to pester or annoy. A bother is something that requires a lot of work without adequate return. Bothered can also mean to be bewildered or confused when you don’t “get” something. The last meaning is the stuff of Hot Flashbacks, Cool Insights. Here we dig into the meaning of things. Like why I’d draw bother for discussion.

To read the whys and wherefores of the word oracle series, see 10 weeks of Word Oracles #1

Why Bother?

Yet having trouble seeing the light about events in our lives is not where I want to focus this time. What calls to me from my intuition to discuss is the expression, “Why bother?” It implies a lot of effort for little result—or the point at which a person begins to question the input-to-output ratio on anything they do.

Bother seems to be a negative word, but it’s only when we look at both the light the dark side of anything that we attain balance.

What are just tired of doing? What’s going on in your life where putting in a lot of effort doesn’t seem to be giving you much in return?

We reach these cusps in relationships, jobs, volunteer organizations and activities—in all aspects of life. They are not a bad thing. They are simply turning points.

Giving-to-Receiving Ratio

Not all things in life are meant to be in perfect balance when it comes to giving and receiving. As any parent will attest, the role of mother or father, over the course of a lifetime, has periods when giving outweighs receiving. But in the big picture, few parents would give back their children or deny they’re “worth it.” Infancy passes, when a child is totally dependent on his or her parents for every need. Adolescence, when your kid drives you up the wall? It passes, too, as do the years of high college expenses for results hoped for and often nowadays in no way assured.

We all go through our ups-and-downs in personal relationships, too. Our partner may be cranky, dealing with issues at work, health challenges, or any number of potential reasons that put us in the position for some time of giving much and feeling on the short end of the receiving stick. 

Whether it’s our church, club or other group we hold dear, we have hair-pulling times of always being the one to do it all and wondering why the whole thing revolves around the big heartedness of a few. These why bother moments are disheartening—more so the bigger the heart.

The question, why bother, asks us to examine when the cumulative imbalance becomes a deal breaker.

The Cusp of Change

We all know the expression, the straw the broke the camel’s back. You give one thing too many, and you’re done—ready to bolt. Sometimes that’s a good move; sometimes it’s a mistake.

The cusp of why bother begs analysis of a situation. For a spirited individual, analysis should always precede action. If we cut something or someone loose too soon, we might be kicking out the kid, the spouse, or resigning from a committee that’s important to us during one of those seasons where it's OK to give more than receive. These giving upticks and temporary imbalances are just part of life.  We might not have enough long-term experience with the situation to determine if the giving-to-receiving ratio is a permanent pattern.

But boy oh boy, if it is, when you hear why bother in your mind on a regular basis, the analysis is due, if not overdue. Always listen to your inner voice when it bothers you with that pesky question.

The Final Analysis

In the end, the decision of whether it’s time to stop bothering—or not—is a conclusion that can only come from analysis of your unique situation, perhaps in conjunction with some trusted advisors. Let your higher self and inner voice be among them. And if it’s time to move on, ask for help from the spiritual realm to make it gentle on yourself and everyone concerned.

Meanwhile, here’s an exercise to help you hear any voices that might be crying or crying out from giver’s fatigue.

Meditation and Journaling on Bother

Sit quietly in a meditative posture, whatever one works for you. Have pen and paper nearby.

1.      Take three deep breaths. Say “bother” to yourself.  Let it rest on your mind, and then let your mind speak. Now ask if the expression why bother hits home for you in any way.  Take plenty of time to let the thoughts form or memories come back to you. Let your memories or thoughts finish speaking. When they are done saying what they have to say, write down their message.

2.      Return to meditation. Read this thought, and then sit with it in the silence for as long as it feels right:  I will tune up my inner hearing and notice whenever I hear, “why bother?” from my inner self. I commit to weighing what it means and giving myself time to form considered conclusions about it. Then I will act, if change is needed.

3.      When you come out of meditation, look at what you wrote about “bother.” Take some time to contemplate it. Carry these thoughts and intentions into your week. Learn as much as possible about your relationship to bother.  (Other meanings besides why bother and over-giving may have come up. Are you being or putting up with someone who’s a bother?) Write a few wrap-up notes before the end of the week and our next word.

Hope your week is no bother whatsoever.


Next word:  Backlog

Photo credit: Overwhelmed © Blake Anthony | Dreamstime

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