One of my favorite mantras is “Care Deeply AND Don’t Give a Fuck” I have written a lot about it in previous blogs. I think it captures this beautiful tight rope we have to walk as humans between being mindful of our impact on others, attending to our relationships AND letting go of what other’s think about us. Especially for those who have shown us over and over again that they are not trustworthy- they do not respect our boundaries, or they use vulnerable information against us- their opinions about us NEED to matter less. I believe we still need to stand in our own integrity and treat even those people with integrity and curiosity, but the not give a fuck sentiment empowers us to let go of the toxicity.
However, the suicide of Anthony Bourdain, the countless school shootings, the political turmoil of the world and the increasing hostility tells me that “not giving a fuck” is out of balance as a collective culture. We gotta start caring about each other a little more. I posted a silly little meme on my facebook page a few weeks ago that simply said “What if we lived in a world where we lifted each other up, Cheered each other on and were on each other’s team?” You can see it here: I think it’s cute.
Idealistic? Perhaps. But check out the comments. I had a gentleman seriously get MAD about this idea. It’s almost like kindness or empathy or the lack of apathy is sign of weakness and triggers people’s flight or fight response. So that’s what’s on my brain- too much apathy running rampant. As much as I love my mantra, I think we all need a little more of the care deeply piece, myself included. Caring deeply about our world and about each other. Caring deeply about ourselves and looking into our own pain. We are meant to have belonging with one another. We are wired for empathy and care. What if we lived our lives like everything we did mattered? That how we treat people in the grocery store or in traffic or how we treat ourselves had a really deep IMPACT. And guess what? IT DOES!
I can deeply identify with apathy. I sometimes bounce back and forth between having too much empathy and absorbing other people’s feelings and energy AND then my system shuts down and I go into NOT GIVING A FUCK. I think there is an important balance. If I have better boundaries, if I say no to things I need to say no to, if I surround myself with people that lift me up, I can stay out of compassion fatigue and out of apathy. The price of apathy is great. We feel disconnected, we feel depressed and we feel a deeper sense of powerlessness. Apathy is really a protector of our tender hearts. It’s a way of trying to shield us from rejection or disappointment. It has good intentions. And that is what we have to be aware of. There is a difference between intention and impact. The intention of apathy is to protect, to give us some sense of control and power where we feel disconnected and powerless and yet- that’s exactly what it creates. It creates even deeper feelings of detachment and feeling like our actions don’t matter.
So what can you do? Well- first, get curious. Get curious about what apathy is trying to keep you up and out of. Fear of rejection? Fear of disappointment? Feelings of deep sadness? Vulnerability? Powerlessness? What is your apathy cutting you off from? Chances are there also needs to be a willingness to get uncomfortable. Perhaps it can be a small act of owning a mistake or checking in with a friend or doing a random act of kindness. There may also be deeper pain that needs to be healed and processed. Just see if you can find some curiosity around it. Reach out if you need support in exploring pain. EMDR therapy or other trauma-informed modalities can be a great way of healing. Walking through our pain rather than avoiding it does not only help with our apathy, but our send of power, compassion and overall joy. So I guess the bottom line is just knowing that at least for me- I give a fuck. I give a fuck about how you are doing and how the world is doing. Cheers.