In the therapy room, there’s a four-letter word that creates unease in my nervous system every time I hear it: “lazy.” Working with trauma survivors, I witness the fallout of abusive and neglectful households, and the last thing I want to hear is my incredible clients labeling themselves with a term that doesn’t do justice to their struggles and triumphs. So, let’s have a heart-to-heart about why it’s time to kick “lazy” to the curb and embrace the resilience that defines each one of you. In this discussion, we’ll delve into having self-compassion, acknowledging the intricate journey of healing, and reframing our perspectives to honor the strength that shines through adversity.

1. Understanding how trauma can contribute to the learning and focus challenges:
Let’s face it—life in a dysfunctional household is like trying to navigate a maze blindfolded. Learning and focus challenges are not a sign of laziness; they are a reality from an environment where survival often took precedence over algebra homework. When experiencing trauma, the frontal lobe—the brain region responsible for learning—can essentially go offline. We operate from an instinctual place of survival. Every day, I hear stories from my clients recounting their attempts to do well in school.  It’s time to rewrite the narrative. Instead of berating yourself for struggles, acknowledge the effort it took just to make it through those challenging times. You’re not lazy; you’re a warrior who possesses the resilience to adapt and survive, even when the very cognitive tools for learning are compromised by the impact of trauma.

2: Ditch the Hustle for Worthiness: In a world obsessed with hustle culture, it’s easy to fall into the trap of believing that our worth is directly proportional to our productivity. Newsflash: That’s a load of nonsense. You are a trauma survivor. You’ve already proven your worth by navigating challenging, even impossible terrain. You don’t need to hustle for it; it’s inherent. So, let’s collectively kick the hustle mentality out the door and embrace the truth—you are magnificent and courageous, no hustle required.

3: Reframe Negative Beliefs: Let me share a therapeutic insight with you—humor is a potent remedy for negativity. So, when the “lazy” label sneaks into your thoughts, take a moment to reflect on it with compassion. Picture yourself as a superhero, granting yourself a well-deserved pause, or consider “lazy” as an acronym. What would you have it stand for? Approaching these moments with kindness can work wonders in reshaping negative beliefs, making it easier to disassemble them and replace them with narratives that empower and uplift them.

Original Thought: “I’m so lazy; I can’t seem to get anything done.”

Reframed Thought: “I’m prioritizing self-care and taking necessary breaks. I’m giving myself the space to recharge and come back stronger.”

I know it is hard, so we need to practice and practice some more

4: Celebrate Micro-Milestones: In the journey to break up with “lazy,” celebrate the small victories. Did you get out of bed today? That’s a win. Managed to focus on a task for 5 minutes? Another win. Go to work? Win!

Life after complex trauma is a series of micro-milestones, and each one deserves a round of applause. By acknowledging and celebrating these achievements, you’re actively rewriting the narrative of your capabilities. Remember, progress is progress, no matter how small.

To my incredible clients and colleagues, I see you, and I see the strength it takes to challenge these negative beliefs. You are not lazy; you are navigating a complex tapestry of experiences with courage and resilience. It’s time to rewrite your story—one that celebrates your worthiness without the unnecessary hustle. Together, let’s break up with “lazy” and redefine what it means to be magnificent and courageous in the face of adversity.

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