I might … just might… do the dishes now…

Oh my goodness, I’m getting up. I’m walking over to the dishes. I’m doing it!

But suddenly a voice calls from the other room,

“Hey, you haven’t done the dishes in a while. When are you going to do them already?”

Ugh, I don’t feel like it anymore.

What just happened?

Our hero, already struggling with a want of motivation, whim, or the muse, finally had the winds tickling the sails. But when someone else told them to do very same thing they were about to do, suddenly the desire was gone.

Many of us struggle with being told what to do.

Some blame “dopamine” … there’s not enough, it’s out of balance, it isn’t interesting or urgent enough, etc. Some make a moral accusation of laziness and the like.

However, if we approached from a perspective of ourselves as growing human beings, we might recognize an early template at work.

When our environments tell us what to do in out-of-tune manner, we reject it. “Clean your room!” when our minds are elsewhere, when any process of transition is ignored rather than guided, doesn’t work and creates problems.

The lack of empathy may not have been malicious. It was simply a disengaged approach to a mind that wanders, a mind fueled by and reveling in play, creativity, and discovery.

But when it happens over and over, we absorb a message that our natural mental rhythms are somehow “wrong” contrasting with the self that clearly exists, regardless of how wrong we accuse it of being.

And so, we rebel.

Unfortunately we may internalize the rebellion as well, forming a reflex, an unconscious ready path of rejection.

We rebel against ourselves.

How often have you written “Write report” or something similar on a task list only to see it later and say, “Not now”?

Later continues to be later as later always does, and the task languishes until it sinks below the surface or a deadline threatens from the horizon.

We saw our Past Self as an un-empathic authority to reject.

When we see the task “do dishes” and the like, our emotions swell, reflecting the relationships we’ve internalized.

Without a simultaneous honor of past self, care for future self, and respect for present self, we channel and perpetuate our injuries. Our tasks, lists, and shiny new apps only become their medium.