Not too long ago, my younger cousin was sharing with me his thoughts on the girl he just started dating. They are in their early 20s, and he described her to me as “lazy.” My first thought was, “Wow, that’s a judgment!” Then I wondered what it was about her that made him think she was lazy. Finally, I fantasized about how nice it would be to have the opportunity to be lazy. See, in my world, being lazy is not an option. Yet there are many times that my self-talk accuses me of being just that. Why I would even think that is beyond me. Let’s be real: as a mother with obligations outside of the home, doing bare minimum is more than a full-time job. So, why do we continue to judge ourselves?
Here’s what I’ve found:
4 Reasons You Might Believe You Are Lazy When You Aren’t:
1. You are tired.
I know I’ve used this analogy before, but think of yourself as a smart phone. What happens when you have a lot of apps open and your phone is running on low power mode? That’s right: it runs slower! Just like you do, when you have a plethora of things on your mind, and are attempting your best at long-term multitasking. Your sloth-like response to the dishes that have been sitting by the sink for days is not because of laziness. It is because you are worn down by the day-to-day. Lying on the couch for a bit would actually do you some good: it’s what your body needs, so do it.
2. Your expectations are unrealistic.
We hear it time and time again: you cannot do it all! It is just not possible. Something has to give. Yet, we still strive to do more than we can handle. We see others doing an awesome job at one thing and strive to do the same. Well, guess what - there is likely something that you are awesome at that that person is secretly envying too! You know that the figure of speech “Jack of all trades” ends with “master of none.” We conveniently tend to forget the second half of that phrase and assume that we should be able to do everything, and do it well. So, when we cannot perform one of those tasks well enough, it is easy to assume that we just didn’t work hard enough at it. The truth might be that it’s just not in you to do better at that task. So, don’t sweat it and focus on the tasks you are good at!
3. You efforts are not aligned with your purpose.
Then there are the things we are good at, but that just don’t give us much joy. Instead of giving us more energy and reinforcing our sense of value in this society, these tasks feel like an energy drain, leaving you feeling like a machine instead of a human. Of course you wouldn’t want to do those tasks all the time. Who would? Not wanting to do them doesn’t make you lazy: it means you are aware of your purpose, but not yet living it. The truth is, when we are performing tasks we are good at but don’t enjoy, it’s just work. The sweet spot is finding tasks we are good at and love doing. Although it might not be possible for us to only do things we are good at and love, it is important for us to consider finding balance in the tasks we enjoy and tasks we don’t. Maybe explore delegating some of the jobs you abhor to someone else who would enjoy it?
4. You are content with a simple lifestyle and don't need much to be happy.
Congratulations! You have discovered how to live an ashram-worthy lifestyle in the hustle and bustle of modern society! That is a huge feat. Instead of being embarrassed by it, you should flaunt it, embrace it, and encourage others to live like you! There is nothing wrong with being happy with little. In fact, many self-help books try to teach us to do just that! Now how lazy are you feeling? When you truly know your needs and priorities and apply that knowledge, it becomes easier to take care of yourself and let go of judgment. This New Year, maybe you don’t need to resolve to do more. Maybe you should take time to determine whether the things you are doing are necessary and tweak your current goals.