Sloth: Another Deadly Sin That’s Hard Work?

slothI’ve been taking it easy today. But those deadly sins from yesterday were still running through my mind. Today’s focus came to be sloth. A rather difficult to determine ‘sin’ all about not making enough effort. Not trying hard enough. Or not getting things done.

I’ve often fallen foul of the saying ‘the Devil makes work for idle hands’ because of all it implies about not keeping myself busy. However it’s also come through to me with the use of the word lazy. There is an idea, from a long prevalent religious perspective, that working hard is good for the soul. An assumption that I’m not a respectable or good member of my community if I take any time out for myself. Or to simply do nothing. To exhibit the quality of sloth. Yet ‘all work and no play makes Jill/Jack a dull person’. I have to say I struggled with this contradictory stance often as a child and young person. Especially when there was housework to be done. And I was expected to do it. So why is taking it easy such a crime?

And why did I spend most of my life rushing around doing as much as possible for others? Filling my days from end to end with tasks. I believe it was the social pressure that we are all subject to. Pressure not to be a sloth. An underlying assumption that work is the only meaningful activity an adult can have. And that has become a big problem. If I define myself as a socially acceptable person only through working hard what happens when that work stops? As it must do at some point. Do I become valueless? How do I change gears? And adapt my mindset to less work? Of course we have been expecting to do less work for a long time. I remember being told twenty five years ago that technology would give all of us more free time.

Though no one seemed to have tackled the idea of how to move from a money for work economy to something new. Sloth, or the idea of being idle, is still a big no no.

Yet when I stared to work for myself I had to work out a different way of valuing my time. I put myself under all sorts of pressure so no one could say I was a sloth. But I also drove myself so hard I was well on the way to making myself ill. Over many years I have had to learn to love being idle. Because my wellbeing needed me to. And to redefine my ideas about the ‘sin’ of idleness. So that my business could thrive and grow. I finally stepped off the treadmill nearly a year ago. It wasn’t my first time of stepping out of the notion that work ought to be hard. I’ve done it many times. But this time I am determined not to get back into that old pattern.

I know I am not a sloth. My work diary shows me that every week. Instead I am learning to balance my activities. I am doing the ‘work’ I enjoy as well as having lots of time for me. Time for me to be creative, curious and to explore. I’m also tackling those niggling little scripts in my head that come from the idea that relaxing and taking it easy is bad. The thoughts designed to make me feel guilty about doing exactly as much as I feel I want to do in a day. In fact, my ‘hard work’ is teaching my Ego Mind to let go of all of those prompts it gives me to fill my day with end to end activities. So that I can enjoy everything I do without the pressure of it needing to be meaningful in some way.

Sloth is an insidious idea underpinning many of our assumption about the way we live. I have stopped wanting to live that way. So I’m digging in my heels, setting a firm intention and moving forward in idleness. Are you ready to rebalance your life too?

Day 979 of my blogging challenge

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.