Rethinking Lazy

Ever been called lazy? It doesn’t feel good.  According to Brene Brown, a professor and vulnerability expert, being called lazy is a huge shame trigger for many of us. Myself included.  Calling ourselves lazy is a judgmental response that is created in our minds as an attempt to motivate ourselves to get something done. The problem is, it doesn’t work, it just makes us feel terrible.

Feeling lazy can also look like, “I don’t deserve to take a break until I get xy and z done…”  I often fall into that category.  It takes a lot of effort for me to give myself permission to come home from a long day of work and give myself permission to lay in my hammock, read a good book, do yoga, or take a bath.  To recognize that I am enough and did enough.

So what if we rethink ‘lazy’?  What if next time you find yourself calling yourself lazy or feeling bad about, you ask yourself,  “what’s getting in the way…why isn’t it getting done?”

One answer you might receive is  ‘I’m overwhelmed.’  Odds are it sound more like… ’I’m insanely overwhelmed and the thought of cooking tonight is putting me over my tipping point.’

I often work with college students that aren’t going to class or aren’t getting papers written.  They come in and tell me that they didn’t go because they were “lazy.”  The truth is, none of these students were lazy, in fact, they were the opposite, they were in counseling and treatment, which is not for the lazy person, they were showing up.  I begin by asking students what’s going on in their lives that would be preventing them from getting their work done.  In working in recovery, it’s really hard to be newly sober, trying to figure out how to cope without drugs and alcohol, all of your emotions on the table, trying to figure out their future, and be in school.  That sounds completely overwhelming to me.  Odds are that most of us wouldn’t be going to class or getting papers done either if we were in their situation.  

I invite us to soften within and respond to ourselves in a more loving way.  To give ourselves permission to recognize that at times life can be really overwhelming, and that’s ok, you are enough.  

Next time you find yourself using the word lazy, try changing your language to “I’m overwhelmed, what’s going on, and what can I do about it.” See how you feel…probably really different, maybe even empowered to do something different. When we start recognizing where we’re overwhelmed, and that it’s not a “character flaw,” we can start taking action.  It feels very different,  It opens us up possibilities for change and to take action.

With warmth and encouragement,