by Laura D. Miller, LCSW
It seems so simple: “I know what I need to do to pursue my goals, but no matter how much I remind myself, I don’t do it! I must be lazy.”
If I had a nickel for every time a patient offered up that explanation for being stuck…But here’s the surprising thing I’ve discovered: Laziness is a myth!
“Laziness” is an overused criticism—a character judgment, really––that does nothing to help us understand why someone doesn’t exert the effort to do what they want to do, or are expected to do. If we take a moment to examine what’s behind the procrastination and avoidance, we find a range of more complicated issues:
If you think of yourself as “lazy,” try to consider your behavior as the symptom of a problem, rather than the problem itself. The more you understand about your motivation, the more you will be able to get out of your own way. Is it possible to make whatever you’re avoiding more manageable? Is there someone you might ask for help?
Most of all, try to stop criticizing yourself as “lazy.” People who see themselves as lazy often feel trapped in their behavior. Addressing the underlying issues can be incredibly liberating.
Laura D. Miller, LCSW, is a graduate of the Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy Program at the William Alanson White Institute and is currently in training in their Psychoanalytic Program. She specializes in work with immigrants, particularly Latinos, with a focus on bilingual/bicultural issues. She has published on the topics of immigration and parental infidelity. She is in private practice in Manhattan.