Pushing Through the Apathy

There’s a frequent conversation I have with the people I work with, which consists of whether to wait until the feeling of motivation is present or to “fake it till you make it”. Meaning, do we wait until we’re motivated to do something or do we push through the apathy? I think I could use a little more pushing through the apathy. Apathy is defined on Webster’s as: the feeling of not having much emotion or interest : an apathetic state

Many times, when I make myself get started on something that I have some resistance to, I get into it. I tend to be thankful that I got started . . . . and I keep going. There is value in “doing the opposite” (Dialectical Behavior Therapy term) of how we feel sometimes. This isn’t meant to belittle or minimize the feeling, because I always think an awareness of our feelings is potentially packed with great information (Hmmmm, why am I so irritable today?). The intention rather is to not be a slave to the feeling. We don’t have to roll around in it for 5 hours or 2 weeks. We can have some experience of it, honor it in that way, be curious and theoretical about why we might be feeling that feeling and THEN do the opposite.

I feel like I need to put a caveat out there at this point. If you’ve read any of my stuff by now, you know I am all about self-care. If my apathy is about being run-down and exhausted and not having the mental energy right now, then I am going to rest and be compassionate with myself (hopefully) and take some time. However, when that has clearly been observed and the feeling lingers, that’s when doing the opposite of how I am feeling does me some good. I start small, which makes it more doable and less overwhelming and nine times out of ten after a good 20 minutes I am re-engaged and enlivened in my work again.

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Reflection: What’s your pattern when you’re feeling apathetic? How do you respond to yourself in those moments, days or weeks? Is that effective or meaningful for you? Are there other approaches that might help you shift through the apathy? Share your ideas below!

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Karin Lawson

2312 Wilton Drive, Suite 22
Wilton Manors, FL 33305