Why Making Your Bed Matters
The target audience for this blog at first glance probably seems like tired mothers of teenage boys who would text this link to their sons as a sort of passive aggressive last resort to encourage some cleanliness. And honestly, maybe this blog is good for that purpose. But more specifically, the heart and hope behind this blog is that it would find its way directly to somebody like myself - a 21 year old man, who still has a difficult time remembering when childhood transitioned to adulthood - somebody who sincerely wants to find their way and needs a relatable voice.
Everything you do is representative of a greater ethos. No act, in and of itself is meaningful. If you think about the basics of good and evil (and I won't diverge into where I believe these concepts to come from), you will find that one can only be good or evil for having knowing the difference.
A 2 year old who runs naked down the street is excused for his inappropriate behavior because, well, he has no idea his behavior is inappropriate. So we laugh and smile at the cute kid who doesn't know better. Conversely, if a 45 year old man runs naked down the street, he is detained by police and labeled a sex predator for life. The behavior is the same. The ethos is different. The child is running naked in blissful ignorance and joy, unable to be held accountable for his behavior until he is instructed otherwise. The grown man is running naked for any number of reasons that are all unjustified given that he has awareness that his actions are inappropriate.
The same concept applies to good behavior... the things we all know we should do. When you wake up in the morning, and your bed is messy, you have been given your first task of the day. Make your bed. The neglecting of that first task is a great way to send a message to your brain that you are unwilling to clean up your messes. It is a great way to walk out of your door with zero sense of accomplishment, and walk back in, after a day of getting your ass kicked by the world, to a mess in your in own home too.
However, if you wake up first thing in the morning, rip the comforter and sheets off of your bed, spread them back over, tighten them up, tuck in the sides, and fluff the pillows, you will have succeeded already. Just 5 minutes into your day, you will have accomplished something you did not want to do. You will have created a reason to walk out the door of your home believing that you are somebody who does what they say they will do. And you will have created an environment to walk back into after a day of getting your ass kicked by the world that is clean and inviting. You will have, in a small way, practiced taking pride in what you have control over.
Making your bed is an action. How you see yourself is the ethos, or the meaning. The world is full of people who see themselves negatively. Positive self image is earned. Most people are not interested in earning positive self image when the much easier alternative is to think poorly of oneself, complain about it, and receive pity. So the vast majority of people live in a negative state of being, thinking they are inadequate. Enough years of inadequacy will make someone bitter, and enough bitterness will make somebody harsh.
Murderers, rapists, authoritarian politicians, and mean fathers or mothers are trying to create twisted sort of justice that they have determined in their bitterness to be deserved. They commit heinous atrocities because they never fostered a sense of belief in themselves. They never did the little things. It sounds far-fetched and ridiculous to suggest that not making your bed could turn you into a monster, and in all likelihood, it won't. But there is some real merit to understanding that your opinion of yourself is largely contingent on what you do when no one is around, and your opinion of yourself dramatically impacts how positive you experience of life is.
We hear about self care so often and equate it to leisure, and leisure often is self care. But it will not be restful or satisfying if it is partnered with a looming sense that you haven't worked hard enough to deserve it. Make your bed. Enjoy your rest. Set yourself up for success. Do the little things and create report with yourself that suggests you are willing to endure and accomplish.
Plus, it looks nice.