Walking along the boardwalk, with waves thrashing against the shore, Molly Findley couldn’t help but wonder if her mom was right. “Maybe,” she asked herself, “my problem isn’t just my ADHD. Maybe I actually am lazy?”
It was 2 p.m. She had just finished her shift at the mall, and now… Now the day was hers.
But instead of seizing it, here she was, feeling sorry for herself.
It’s not like she grew up dreaming about working at the local mall in her small hometown.
Nope. That was the last thing she imagined she’d be doing.
Molly thought she’d be living in London, a successful artist, with pieces in the world’s most famous galleries.
Today though, instead of fielding calls between agents and galleries and whoever else a successful artist deals with, she was fighting off a sense of shame. Dread, even.
Scarier than shame and dread…
You might think that there isn’t much worse than shame and dread. But for Molly, the emotion that scared her the most was the faint touch of acceptance. Like a cold, bony finger crawling up her arm, inching ever closer to her heart in an attempt to squeeze it dry.
And yes, part of her really did wonder if she was lazy. But still, there was a whole other part that didn’t believe it.
She sat on a wooden bench, hugging her knees to her chest and resting her chin on them, and watched the waves lapping up against the shore.
Looking around, she noticed a squirrel, then another, scrambling up a tree, followed by a bird fluttering to the top of a neighboring tree. Then, something clicked.
She saw herself, skittering about life from work to home and back again every day. Day in and day out.
She also remembered that when she had the slightest whisper of uncertainty with her negative thoughts, it was her brain’s way of telling her something important.
In this case, it was that her thoughts of being lazy weren’t necessarily truths.
Still not sure what to think, she sat there longer, watching the waves slide in and out while the birds and squirrels whisked about, jumping and running from branch to branch.
It felt like her thoughts were doing the same thing. And in trying to corral them into something that made sense, her brain was starting to feel like a gauze-filled mouth after a visit to the dentist.
Unraveling the Layers of ‘Laziness’
Now, the more she thought about laziness, the less she seemed to understand it. She couldn’t figure out if laziness was not trying, not caring, or something else.
Molly started to wonder if anyone is lazy. She questioned whether what people call laziness is merely insecurity, depression, anxiety, not knowing how to move forward, or simply giving up after years of trying and getting nowhere?
She realized that it’s all about “why” someone doesn’t do something. And most of the time, the answer isn’t laziness.
Now, she was certain. Laziness is a word that should not be used lightly, if ever. And Molly had decided that she was definitely not lazy.
Like these squirrels and birds, she was running around most days. And her brain was running even faster.
With that realization, Molly felt her body loosen. She could breathe more freely and, with a smile, took in the earthy scents of the beach.
Filled with new energy, she stood up, started walking towards home, and was genuinely looking forward to getting caught up on some housework. She was also dying to get working on a fresh new canvas, and a course in calligraphy she bought months ago that could help her build a whole freelance business.
As ADHD sufferers, our self-criticism can be so heavy that it can smother our motivation without us even realizing it.
Let’s take a lesson from Molly’s story. She found that by letting go of the idea that she’s lazy, she reignited her drive.
While I struggle with this daily, I truly believe that when you start treating yourself with the same kindness you’d offer a friend, you begin to see your true potential and have more motivation to work towards it.