I had a day off today and I found myself in the middle of the day thinking “Wow I haven’t done anything today”. With that thought in the front of my mind, the thought in the back of my mind was “AGH SO LAZY”. I caught myself and thought woah woah… you haven’t been just sitting here. You just spent about two hours meditating on shame, and another two hours reading about someone else’s experience of shame and meditation.
I have a lot of shame around the idea of being, or being thought of, as lazy. I grew up around someone who was labeled lazy, who I projected immense amount of anger towards. I’ve known for a while that this contributes to the shame I feel when I notice myself doing something that others may perceive as lazy. But I’ve also known that for the amount of shame I feel around this action (or lack of) it absolutely must go deeper. I know I feel shame due to a fear of becoming lazy, but I realised I also feel shame because I have a history of being told I was.
School was a bummer. I have fond memories, sure. But for the most part, it was not fun. I remember being repeatedly told that I just, “needed to try harder”, or, “put in more effort”. I was trying so hard my brain constantly hurt. Like actually hurt… I suffered from intense chronic migraines through most of high school and college. No specialist or neurologist could tell me or my mom what was wrong, and no medications really worked. Post college, when I got a little more in touch with myself, I told people they were from stress. I would say, “I don’t know how I know, I just know they’re from stress.”
The stress was that I was trying as hard as I possibly knew how, but it wasn’t getting me anywhere. It wasn’t making me any smarter, or any more interested. But it was making me sad. I learned the message that when I failed because I wasn’t a natural at something, wasn’t a fast enough learner or was bored to death, it was because I was lazy
Recently I find myself in the throws of the newly popular, quarter life crisis. Based on experience I would say it’s a time when you feel confused, overwhelmed, paralysed, fragile, overwhelmed, optimistic, ambitions and overwhelmed. OVERWHELMED. The possibilities are endless in a way they never have been before. If you’re like me you were in school until you were about 23 and then all of a sudden, you weren't. Also if you’re like me overwhelm can lead to feeling paralyzed, and feeling paralyzed can lead to feeling lazy, and feeling lazy can lead to shame. And shame… leads to an idea of low self worth, and high self doubt.
But I know shame is really here to teach me how being a slow learner could maybe be a good thing. That identifying your own boredom in one thing, could possibly lead you to something else that’s wonderfully interesting. And that reading and meditating for four hours, though it may seem slow and low energy, feels good.