How often do you beat yourself up for being lazy and doing nothing? You are lying on the couch and watching Netflix, while in your head you think: “You are so lazy!!! You could be cleaning the apartment, reading a book, going for a run or calling your mother. Go! Do something! Stop doing nothing! “ Dr Anastasia from Urban Life Coaching talks about how we can better understand ourselves and our needs.
I regularly hear from my clients that when they check different social media it seems that everyone agreed to engage in a productivity race: a colleague uploads a review of the sixth book he has read, your friends launch new projects, sign up for a half-marathon, and regularly go for cultural events (in-person or online). Meanwhile, you just want to relax… But you can’t rest, because once you start to relax, you hear the same damning voice in your head saying that you are lazy.
Did you know that you can choose not to read self-development books, not to do a plank in the morning, not to manage 10 projects simultaneously, and do nothing that makes you suffer? Let’s talk about how to stop beating yourself up for doing nothing and what you can do to better understand what you really want to do.
Where does it come from? Why do we beat ourselves up when we do “nothing”?A condemning voice or an “Inner Critic” arises from a lack of compassion and kindness towards oneself. It is often engendered by painful childhood experiences, such as a child being scolded by parents or bullied by peers and teachers, or a general culture and mentality in the country of upbringing. Children are more vulnerable and susceptible to negativity, so harsh criticism can easily shatter their confidence, making them feel insecure or incomplete. As a result, the desire to avoid others’ criticism in the future conditions us to think that we need to be perfect in order to be loved and appreciated.
Here are just a few examples:
The cult of achievement and social statusIn order to become loved and respected, you must try harder and harder. The truth is you probably set the bar way too high, and therefore, anything you do is never enough.
Social pressureWe are sensitive to group opinions and take them to heart. Hence all these “What will they think,” “Behave yourself,” “Keep your head down” thoughts, etc.
ConvenienceOften, we are brought up in such a way that we should be comfortable and accommodating to everyone around us and not to ourselves. We know what others want, but we have little understanding of our own desires.
ShameWhat society considers shameful is usually uncomfortable and therefore condemned. It’s a shame to talk so loudly, it’s a shame to dress like that, it’s a shame to lie on the couch, it’s a shame to complain about problems, it’s a shame to rest, young people should work, etc.
Lack of self-loveWhen in childhood, children are constantly criticised and judged. This leads to the fact that people in adulthood do not have the most necessary basics for self-acceptance and self-love. As a result, they don’t understand themselves, don’t feel their emotions, and do not know exactly what they really want.
Additionally, social media and the FOMO syndrome (Fear Of Missing Out) are superimposed on internal experiences and childhood traumas. You look at the filtered lives of other people: they travel, focus on personal growth, work hard and spend fun time with friends. The truth is that these people also have periods of fatigue, anxiety, and frustration, but you do not know about them and so blame yourself even more, because you do not have such a perfect life.
How can you stop beating yourself up for doing “nothing”Eric Berne (May 10, 1910 – July 15, 1970), a Canadian-born psychiatrist and the author of transactional analysis, believed that a person at any age consists of three entities: a child, a parent, and an adult. The Inner Critic is a harsh parent. In order to counteract it, you need to listen to your child and learn to support it, as a loving and nurturing parent would do. Do not scold it, but praise, hug, and allow it to experience all emotions. This is a long but very important process.
Here’s what else you can do to stop beating yourself up:
Stop thinking that there are right and wrong people, feelings, emotions, etc.Do not divide the world into good and bad, black and white – the reality is different. There are no bad emotions, just as there are no ugly body parts. Being different is okay.
Leave the past in the pastForget the phrases “I should have done it this way,” “I should have thought about that earlier,” and “It’s my own fault.” Everything that has passed is left in the past and is no longer within your zone of influence. You can only influence the future and the present, so focus on this instead.
Listen to yourselfAre you really tired? Or do you procrastinate doing certain tasks and don’t want to complete them? Understand why you do what you do. Do the Netflix shows you watch help you drown out emotions and procrastinate important tasks, or does it really bring you pleasure? It is better to live your emotions, and not hide from them, as the task can be reformulated and then you will get much more enjoyment from the series.
Cut yourself some slackIn stressful situations, the body really needs rest. For example, many of us have experienced lots of stress over the last two years: being stuck at home and reconfiguring our work process. Try to realise this and do not demand the impossible from your body. In short, sometimes you need to take a break, and that’s okay! No one knows what you want to do right now better than you do.
The next time you hear your inner voice scolding you for laziness, do not rush to get scared and sink into self-flagellation. Listen to this voice consciously and answer it like an adult. You have the right to rest and to do activities that bring you joy, no matter what anyone says.
Books to help you get along with yourselfHere are some books that could help you get along with yourself better:
Mark Manson, The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck: A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life Creg McKeown, Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less Haemin Sunim, Love for Imperfect Things: How to Accept Yourself in a World Striving for Perfection Do you feel that you need help to get along with yourself? Sign up for a free Discovery Session with Dr Anastasia from Urban Life Coaching.