Self-Therapy For People Who ENJOY Learning About Themselves


Every physically healthy person has plenty of energy, so every physically healthy person has plenty of motivation. Nobody is lazy. We are all just motivated toward different things.

Calling someone lazy is like calling them any other name. It shows that we are angry at them and that we don't respect what they are doing, but it doesn't say much else. Calling someone lazy is a callous dismissal of them which makes problem-solving difficult.


Most of us call ourselves lazy occasionally. If we think we do too little or too much of anything (eating, sleeping, drinking, smoking, working, making love, visiting relatives, etc.), we may doubt our own motivation and call ourselves lazy.

Calling ourselves lazy is a callous dismissal of ourselves, just one of many ways that we pick on ourselves or "punish ourselves" in this guilt-ridden culture.

Whenever you catch yourself thinking you are lazy:

  1. STOP IT! (You may need to try this over and over....)

  2. Ask yourself what you LIKE about what you are doing. (Over and over?)

  3. Ask yourself what other ways there are for you to get what you like.

It takes quite a bit of self-discipline to break through years of guilt-laden self-talk.



The best way to teach about this is through examples or illustrations, but please don't think that the SPECIFICS in each of these illustrations necessarily apply to you.

If you have a problem with smoking, for example, try to learn from the process outlined in example #4 - but don't expect that the specific insights in this person's life necessarily apply to you. (They may apply to you, but they probably do not.)


Sharon was extremely over-weight and called herself lazy, unmotivated and many worse names as she kept "trying" to lose. It took her many months before she could even stop calling herself these names, and many more months before she even cared enough about herself to care what she liked about over-eating and being obese.

Eventually she was self-caring enough and brave enough to think about how she actually felt as she sat at the table gorging herself. She found that what she liked about it was that if she ate enough she would eventually feel numb. So the question became: "What are you numbing out?" In her case, the answer was sadness and intense anger at men.

Why was she so sad and angry at men? Sharon "confessed" that as a teenager she had been sexually abused by her step-father and some of his drinking buddies.

Sharon liked being overweight because she thought this might keep her safe from being an object of violence at the hands of frightening men.

Sharon is still overweight, but she has lost as much weight as was reasonable and she no longer gorges herself. Most importantly, she is in a love with a safe man who desires and respects her.


George's mother called him about three times a week and often tried to make him feel guilty about his infrequent visits.

George tried not to feel guilty and usually succeeded, but occasionally would call himself lazy "for not just getting up and getting over there like I should."

When he asked himself what he liked about staying away from his mother, the answers were obvious. He didn't like her guilt-trips and manipulations (which she refused to stop).

He visits her even less often now, but feels good about it.


Bob and Sally have been sexual for eleven years. In the past two years Bob has never initiated sex, and in recent months he is even refusing sex when Sally initiates. They were both worried that Bob might be "undersexed."

When Bob asked himself what he liked about this situation, he eventually admitted that he liked "feeling more in control." This led to discussions with Sally about the details of their sex life, about her insistence that sex be done a certain prescribed "right way", and about Bob's growing feelings of inadequacy.

They learned that they both wanted much more spontaneity and experimentation in sex.


Simone had smoked for 23 years and was "always" trying to quit. She berated herself constantly for being "too weak" and "too lazy" to go through process of quitting.

When she asked herself what she liked about smoking she eventually said: "Cigarettes are like my best friends. They are always there for me when I need them."

When asked if there was anything else in her life that was so reliable, Simone mentioned her husband, her sister, and a best friend. She had started smoking when she went away to school and had no friends. Simone needed the added sense of security her cigarettes brought her then, but she doesn't need the added security, or the cigarettes, anymore.

next: Life's "Craziest" Beliefs

APA Reference
Staff, H. (2008, October 29). Motivation, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, July 13 from

Last Updated: March 29, 2016

Medically reviewed by Harry Croft, MD

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