Not everyone who has a mind-based habit of low self-exertion is also concerned about getting over their habit. But some people, who are lazy (let’s use that word for short-hand), recognize it and want to do something about it. A direct assault on this kind of problem may not always be the best approach. This article discusses a specific step that a person can take – which may serve to “soften up” their own internal enemy of sloth.
Even a lazy person will move when they are directly confronted by a person that they really respect. Evidently, this means that “a person that they really respect” does not include the affected person themselves – since, by definition, a lazy person will not follow his own “orders” when it comes to work. (Again, in this case, we are discussing the example of a person who is both lazy and who wishes that he were not.) So why is it that a person would fail to “respect” themselves?
Looking for clues …
Maybe we could find some clues by studying the common traits that exist in the personalities of successful people. Successful people do not waste time spinning their wheels in self-pity. On the other hand, folks whose lives are characterized by low productivity are often (not always, but often) awash in self-pity and blaming others for their troubles. Could there be a chain of cause and effect here? In other words, perhaps the mental action of self-pity results in a reduced sense of self-value – aka: “reduced self-respect.” And once a person’s self-respect has been sufficiently damaged, it follows that their self-control will also be compromised. Look at it this way: Would you take advice and direction from a person for whom you had no respect?
Why is self-pity so unhealthy?
Lets explore the mechanism, for a moment. In other words, lets see if we can understand how, exactly, self-pity might result in a lowered sense of self-respect. Of course, we all know, intuitively, that self-pity is not healthy. Hopefully, by taking a closer look at it, we can see exactly why it is so unhealthy.
Perhaps, what is happening internally, goes like this:
A person responds to some difficult situation by indulging in self-pity. The act of self-pity trains him to view his problems as “someone else’s fault.” At one level, he is probably aware that insincere blame-shifting is occurring in his own mind. The person may even realize that the choice of self-pity is, inadvertently, a way of training himself to view the world in an inaccurate & unhelpful way. In any case, at some level, this kind of person will probably be disgusted with himself over his own refusal to face reality head-on. Self-disgust translates into reduced self-respect. Reduced self-respect means reduced self-control.
When difficult decisions come up, we naturally look to people who have a solid grasp on reality for guidance. Since our example person has already established that he does not have (does not want?) a solid grasp on reality, he therefore, automatically, has another good reason to ignore his own self-guidance. Who in their right mind would want to take direction from a person who lives in a world of partial fantasy? Self-pity creates a world of partial fantasy. A person who chooses illusion over reality will, naturally, cease to respect himself. Reduced self-respect means reduced self-control.
A hidden, secondary cost
So here is the take-home for people who find themselves suffering from laziness: Stop wallowing in self-pity! When those tempting thoughts come up, remind yourself that, for every second that is frittered away in self-pity, there is a hidden, secondary cost, in that it also drains away your own self-respect. And as a person looses self-respect, he looses self-control. Alternatively, as a person gains self-respect, he also gains self-control.
Giving up self-pity might sound like a no-brainer, but, in practice, it could actually be a real struggle. It is an imaginary world of blame shifting. The payoff is a momentary sense of freedom from guilt, shame and responsibility. Moral judgements are made without taking into consideration how one’s own actions and responsibilities have factored into the present state of the world. The thinking might go like this: If “everyone” agrees that I am right, then how could I possibly be wrong!? The missing ingredient here is failing to remember that “everyone” and everything in the world of self-pity is still imaginary. It will take some courage to let it go, but you can do it. Keep your eyes on the prize.
You will hear a voice speaking …
By letting go of your self-pity, you are plugging a hole in your soul’s vessel of realness and meaningfulness. As it slowly re-fills, you will replenish your reservoir of self-respect. And once there is enough there, something truly wonderful will happen. Life will hand you (as it often does) a difficult decision. It will be a decision that requires sustained action and effort – just the kind of thing that you would have avoided in the past. But now, you will say to yourself: “Do It!” … and you will hear a voice speaking – one that you, yourself respect. And then you will do it.