We still wear our bruises We show our scars Forever the wild at heart
Too often, casual observers mistakenly attribute laziness to people who have mental illnesses like depression or anxiety disorders that impair their ability to work and be active. A person with compulsive hoarding, for example, is not “lazy” about cleaning or organizing their home. For a person with compulsive hoarding, throwing away a paper cup may be dreadfully difficult and stressful. For such a person, throwing away five cups may require immense courage and hard work - it would certainly not be a task for the truly lazy.
We attribute laziness to people when they have failed to do specific tasks that we value. We typically do not label people lazy when we have stopped to consider the fuller range of their activity and motivations. If we value the person, we would more likely attribute the absence of productive behavior to the competing needs and motivations that they must have to do other things, e.g., to relax or to do something other than the task that we wanted them to do.
Often, the people that we label as lazy are folks who are on the margins of the working world, like homeless people or low-wage workers. Labeling people “lazy” is a way of deeming them as morally unacceptable (sloth is a deadly sin) and deserving of their low status. If we call someone lazy, we do it to dismiss them, not to understand them.