What Even is “Lazy”? 

I want to talk about being lazy. So many people are afraid of being accused of being lazy or feel guilt when they think their actions could be perceived as being lazy. It’s largely considered a negative trait in society today. 

But what even is it? When is someone actually being lazy? We may think we know it when we see it in someone, or may think we ourselves are being lazy, but when is it true? 

The technical definition of “lazy” is “adverse or disinclined to work, activity, or exertion; indolent.” 

I don’t know about y’all, but that definition is a bit unsatisfying and vague. It completely omits the reason behind the disinclination to work or exert energy. 

Is it actually being lazy if you are so fatigued you decide not to cook dinner? 

Is a person being lazy if one person perceives someone as avoiding work, when in reality they completely forgot about the work that needed to be done? 

Is it lazy to choose to do work at a different time that makes more logistical sense even though it could be seen as procrastinating? 

Is it being lazy if you hit the snooze because you had a bout of insomnia? 

Is it lazy to practice self-care 

Y’all, “lazy” is a cruel judgement and there is often more to the story. I think it’s probably pretty rare that anyone is truly “lazy” without the behavior being explained by a larger condition, disorder, or problem. When would someone truly be “lazy”? If the person was neurotypical, knew there was work, actively decided not to do the work, and would never do the work because someone else would do it for them, so they chose to do something they enjoy more? All of those actions and choices sound pretty active to me, so “lazy” wouldn’t necessarily be the proper word- perhaps selfish or manipulative while lacking empathy. In which case would they even be neurotypical? 

When have you felt lazy? Or, when have you been accused of being lazy? 

What was really going on? What events took place, or didn’t take place? What was the rationale behind them? 

What’s the difference between being lazy and not being lazy? How can you remind yourself of the difference? 

Now, on the flip side- 

When have you thought someone was lazy? 

What were they doing, or not doing? 

How much of their story do you know? 

How much of their story do you not know? I know we don’t know what we don’t know, but is it possible there is more that you don’t know? 

What is something else that you could think about that person? Is there something more compassionate or understanding? 

What benefits are you getting out of thinking someone is lazy?

What harm is being done thinking of this person as lazy? 

We all have more going on beneath the surface than others can see. Perhaps “lazy” is a judgmental illusion that we need to get rid of. What positive word or phrase could we replace “lazy” with to help ourselves? Instead of “I’m being lazy” perhaps it’s “I need to rest,” “I am overwhelmed and need a break,” “I need to ask for help,” “It’s okay to go at my own speed,” “I am trying my best,” “Everyone works at a different pace and a different way,” “why am I avoiding this task, what does it mean,” or whatever else may apply in the situation. 

We can practice giving ourselves, and others grace and forgiveness. Lazy is an incomplete, often inaccurate judgement. 

Leave a Reply