man in black and white holding up hands with the words care less on each palm

PART OF OUR LARGER SERIES ON EMOTIONS

SYMPATHY ARTICLE EMPATHY ARTICLE

Apathy! One of the Seven Deadly Sins? Yes, under “Sloth”. In many people’s eyes this is without a doubt the worst of all emotions a person can possess.

This is true in most respects of our society. We envision humans possessing an altruistic love of all living things, but in reality we are drifting aimlessly towards a species of disinterest, indifference and unadulterated Apathy.

So what can be done?

  1. Well first we have to Love and Care about Ourselves. If a person could care less about themselves, how in the world can they develop empathy or compassion for other living things.
  2. “Am I my brother’s keeper” (Gen. 4.9). In essence, Yes. It is up to the compassionate among us to get through to the apathetic. Every person you come in contact with in life, be it a friend or stranger, you should always build them up and/or add to them, not tear down or subtract from their self worth.
  3. We have seen small businesses in the past 5-10 years really care about what they produce. Hundreds of new businesses are using a charity first business model. Buy one product, we donate one product, etc. Further, we see a ground swell movement geared towards sustainable, eco-friendly and organic products.

When individuals show compassion to the apathetic and when businesses lead in showing compassion to the planet and end user, then we still have a chance at turning this around.

Conversely, within a small segment of society we will show how apathy can actually be a good thing. Say Whaa!

Furthermore, we will also discuss the different emotional states and spectrums of sympathy, empathy, and apathy. Also, tips to overcome apathy & further resources.

black and white image showing a person's eyes symbolizing apathy (2)

APATHY DEFINITION:

Apathy (Borrowed from the Greek Apathes – meaning without feeling) is a lack of interest, emotions, feelings, or a concern about another person, animal or thing.

This can be a suppression of emotions of caring, compassion, passion, or motivation. Essentially, a state of indifference in one’s view of the world. 

More Specifically, it can be one subject matter or many. For example, one person might love animals, and could care less about humans. Another might be passionate about social activism, but indifferent about spiritual matters. Remember, everything in our existence is connected in some way.

More importantly, it’s not a one size fits all Emotion. There can be deeper medical or psychological issues at play. As well as, drug dependency or self medication. More often than not with emotions there is a deeper issue at play.


WHAT CAUSES APATHY?

It is believed that the Apathy Center is located in the Front of the Brain and it is a symptom in numerous Neurological and Psychiatric disorders including:

  • Huntington’s Disease
  • Parkinson’s Disease
  • Stroke
  • Schizophrenia
  • Vascular Dementia
  • Frontal Lobe Dementia
  • Alzheimer’s Disease
  • Chronic Depression

However, it is worth noting that a person can also experience apathy with no underlying medical condition. man standing facing a wall showing apathy

“LIVING TAKES THE LIFE OUT OF YOU” – Me

In many respects, apathy can be rooted and grow from our living experiences. For example, many First Responders, after years on the job become numb to tragedy. They cope with developing apathy as a way to keep working.

A doctor might show superficial sympathy to you and your loved ones in a waiting room as your daughter is in intensive care recovering from an auto accident. However, many have done this a thousand times, and tomorrow there will be another one.

So just by witnessing and taking part in this tragic episode in the family’s eyes is a huge life experience, while sadly, it can be routine for the Doctor. 

Unfortunately, many can’t grow a “thick skin” so to speak and succumb to suicide. A ten year review of literature on the subject revealed that Doctor’s suicide rate is double the general population. Similar rates are revealed in other first responder professions.

CAN APATHY BE A GOOD THING?

YES. Apathy can be good thing as mentioned above as it relates to certain people and vocations. Do you want your Doctor crying with you, so emotionally broken that they can’t pick up an instrument to operate on your loved one? Of course not. 

Do you want a Police Officer to see a dead body, then be so saddened they sit down and weep while your fighting off an attacker? No!

The same goes for other First Responders. So while this is sad in a larger context, we need these professions to operate within the sphere of apathy or else they couldn’t keep performing their jobs. This detachment is vital. This is also called Compassion Fatigue.


 

infographic showing the difference between empathy and apathy

Empathy, is having a deep level of caring and compassion for another living thing. It is deeper connection than sympathy and in some people the person can mirror the other’s emotional or physical distress.

This is a profound connection with the subject, either from one’s own experiences and/or a nonjudgmental walk in their shoes. A Vicarious experience with the inflicted. 

Apathy, is simply not caring. Basically, an indifference to the plight of another living thing. These people always come first and their feelings are what matters.

Many apathetic souls become that way because of a rough childhood or another life experience that has scarred them emotionally. In addition, these people often times self medicate to try to numb the pain of trauma.

EXAMPLE:

Empathy – You friend comes over and tells you that he/she is getting a divorce and starts to cry. You sit there and wrap your arms around them and cry with them. The pain he/she feels becomes your pain. You do not judge but are just there for the person.

Apathy – Friend comes over and breaks the news of the divorce and you say “that’s sucks, let’s go get some food.” lol 


man in front of a black background with no shirt wearing an evil mask

5 TIPS TO HELP WITH APATHY

  • Trigger Alert – Watch for situations in your daily life that make you feel apathy and unmotivated. Removing these triggers can help with inspiration.
  • Routine Change – Humans are creatures of habit. Switch up your daily routine. A different route to work, taking the stairs to get your blood moving, anything small or large will also help change your mindset.
  • Set Goals – Sad to say, but many of us have become living corpses. Work home work home, repeat. This is no way to live. No passion for anything anymore, just a worker bee. So Start setting small goals, lose 5 pounds, walk around the block once a day, eat a salad a few times a week. Really anything, that can be accomplished, which gives more desire and love of oneself to accomplish more.
  • Ask for Help – Don’t be afraid to ask a friend or family member for help. If you can afford see a professional. Just being listened to for a short period of time can make a world of difference.
  • Take the Focus Off You – Try volunteering somewhere, or go pick up some trash or feed some birds. Anything that is new and taking the focus off your problems. These small things in life to most people are not small at all, but can be a life changer for many. Where there was apathy now there is empathy. Where there was indifference, now there is passion.

CAN CBD HELP?

CBD works within the Endocannabinoid System, which regulates all of our homeostasis functions. In other words your bodily functions that help keep you alive. Further, we have ECS receptor sites in the brain where our emotional centers are, so indirectly if CBD can help our ECS work better than it may benefit us with a better emotional state and hence more compassion or at least caring again.

What is not talked about often enough, is that many medications and even so called “harmless” over the counter solutions, like acetaminophen can dull our empathy. Not to mention stress and burden our Liver.

One of the main goals of CBD is to get users off of synthetic mind numbing solutions and onto what Nature has provided for us.


woman sleeping in a field of daisiesCONCLUSION:

All in all, apathy in most realms is the worst of human emotions for most people, outside of first responders. To lose joy and passion and become indifferent with no compassion is an awful place to be.

It is up to the compassionate among us to seek these people out and get them back to a place of self love and hope. Many people don’t believe this, but one person can make a difference. 

For Example, a Friend changed his diet to Vegan, started working out and now is healthy, looks great and he is a role model for others. Not only that, but he got a few family members and friends to go Vegan, they also started getting back in shape.

And then the wave grows from there. Now, there friends notice a better version of those people and ask questions, and change takes place. Where there was apathy, there is now education and compassion of what we do and our footprint on this Marble.

So one person making a compassionate change in how they eat, will save thousands of animals from a brutal existence and death, help the environment, and have many other people live a healthier and longer life. In Addition, these people can all be potential blessings for other people. 

So YES, one person can have a positive impact on thousands of living things!


MORE RESOURCES:

Apathy Quiz

Sociopathy/Empath/Apath Triad

Anxiety/Apathy Test

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