Written by on March 23, 2017 at 9:44 am
Cheryl Gowin and Dennis Gowin.  Call us at our counseling practice with your feedback, comments, issues, or questions at 434-808-2637.

Cheryl Gowin and Dennis Gowin.  Call us at our counseling practice with your feedback, comments, issues, or questions at 434-808-2637.

How many times do you say whatever?  Do you just feel lukewarm about everything?  Would your friends describe you as apathetic about life?

Ok, so you are asking what is apathy.  Apathy is a feeling, but apathy is unique in that it is the feeling of not feeling.  How’s that for double talk.  Without emotions we just aren’t sufficiently motivated to do much of anything.

True, apathy is a feeling.  Apathy is also an attitude, an attitude of indifference, unconcern, unresponsiveness, and detachment.  An apathetic attitude saps you of so much energy that you feel lethargic, listless, almost too “paralyzed” to act.  This is why apathetic individuals can easily be identified by their passivity, lack of motivation and missing enthusiasm.  An apathetic individual’s interest in confronting life’s challenges is seriously compromised.  They just don’t care enough.  And frankly, they don’t care that they don’t care.

Unquestionably, there are times that we’ve all felt this way.  Now let’s look at some clues of what can support or create apathy.

Do you have negative thoughts about yourself or your life?  Are you afraid to act because of fear that you might fail or you might be rejected?  Do you feel that your actions will prove, once and for all, that you’re inferior, incompetent, inadequate, or worthless?  Alternatively, have you actually experienced some failure or rejection and because of old, never rectified defeatist “programming,” you haven’t been able to rebound from it?

Did something recently happen to you, or someone close to you, that has left you not just simply disappointed but demoralized, pessimistic or downright hopeless?  For that matter, have events, either personal or global, left you feeling cynical, as though whatever you might attempt to do to change things couldn’t possibly make the slightest difference?

Has your daily routine become so boring that it seems there’s nothing to look forward to?  Without quite realizing it, is there something inside you that’s simply given up on creating a more joyful, gratifying future for yourself?  Instead of “seizing the day” or “taking the bull by the horns” have you felt like just resigning?

If there’s an overarching cause for apathy, it’s probably pessimism about your future.  And that self-defeating attitude could derive either from early childhood programming.  Programming which led you to believe that no matter how conscientiously you applied yourself, you still couldn’t succeed.  Or, another common cause, a series of events in your present life that left you feeling you simply couldn’t win for losing.

George Carlin joked, “Scientists announced today that they have discovered a cure for apathy.  However, they claim no one has shown the slightest interest in it.”  Seriously, how can we overcome apathy?

You won’t be able to do anything unless you manage to change your mind-set.  Regardless of what initially caused you to feel so unmotivated, it’s your present-day outlook on it that now keeps you stuck.  Your immediate task, then, is to alter this outlook.  In short, you’re much better off focusing on how to fix what’s inside your head than what lies outside it.  And no question but that you’ll need to force yourself—yes, force yourself!—to uproot what’s already taken residence deep inside you.

So ask yourself: “Am I willing to make a commitment to myself to give this apathy the fight of its life, even though doing so feels like it will take a lot more energy and effort than I’m now capable of?”  Remember, if your apathy continues indefinitely, its repercussions can be enormous.  You can’t possibly live life to the fullest, be happy, fulfilled, or content, if you give up actively pursuing your goals and desires.  In addition, failing to act can lower your self-esteem, and eventuate in such distressing feelings as worthlessness, guilt, or shame.

Carl Jung, who founded analytical psychology, is quoted as saying, “There can be no transforming of darkness into light and of apathy into movement without emotion.”  So start today to challenge your apathy in every way you can.


Shout, and sing for joy, O inhabitant of Zion, for great in your midst is the Holy One of Israel.”  Isaiah 12:6

Call us with your feedback, comments, issues, or questions; our phone number is 434-808-2637.

About Cheryl & Dennis Gowin

Cheryl Gowin, Counselor and Dennis Gowin, Director of Discovery Counseling Center. Contact us with your feedback, comments, issues or questions at 434-808-2426 or dgowin@discoverycounseling.org.


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