The Power of Indifference
Earlier this week I received a copy of the magazine that an article of mine appeared in. As I was flipping though it I noticed an article written by Eckhart Tolle, the best-selling author of The Power of Now. One of the main themes of Tolle’s work is that when you are in the present moment, ‘in the now,’ you cannot be harmed by the past and you aren’t anxious about the future. You are fully absorbed with what is happening around you at that very moment.
Fast forward to a few days later, I’m at the office and we are talking about how to combat the negative energy that has been flowing from a couple of individuals and affecting the rest of us. One person suggested the strategic placement of a smoky crystal to suck up the negative energy. Another suggested we burn white sage, in an ancient smudging ritual, to rid the place of evil spirits. It was at that moment that the big boss walked in and listened to our conversation. After a few minutes he came out with something pretty simple, yet pretty profound. He said, “I don’t care.”
We all kind of laughed because that’s such a ‘guy’ thing to say to something that’s way out there. But he meant it both literally and figuratively. Literally he meant – this stuff makes no sense to me, so I have no interest in what you’re talking about, but he also said, “Why would you let what other people do bother you? Who cares?”
Over the next couple of days I contemplated the power behind the concept of those words, I Don’t Care. If you don’t care about something, it has no power over you. It can’t touch you and it can’t move you.
Aren’t so many of us caught up in this Narcissistic web and while we’re trying to find our way out, we keep getting sucked back in, because a narcissist knows just what our hooks are. They know how to tug on our heart strings to draw us back into the fold. If we didn’t care, there is nothing they could say, or do that would have any effect on us.
To most, indifference is a destination that we are struggling to get to. We hope that in time we won’t care, but right now we are still battling with our feelings and struggling with our will power. But what if we took a page from Tolle’s philosophy and we didn’t just wish for indifference somewhere in the future, what if we could recognize that this present moment is all that we have and if we could practice what we want to feel in the now, rather than some time later, wouldn’t we feel more empowered and in control?
As Tolle suggests, to be present, means shifting your perception. You may, at times, find your mind wondering back to your painful past, or on things that you are still hoping will happen in the future, when that happens, you bring yourself back to where you are and what you are doing. So in kind, when we are practicing indifference, we shift our perception and when painful things start to creep up on us, we reel it back into indifference.
The power of Indifference is like a shield and when you’re in the middle of a battle with yourself, or someone else, create the image of you holding up a shield in your mind, deflecting hurtful words, or cruel actions, while saying in your mind, ‘I Don’t Care, I Don’t Care.’ This allows these things to just bounce off of you. The words, I Don’t Care are powerful. They mean that there is nothing that you can do to hurt me. I have taken back my power and I am fully in control.
When you care about someone who is unreliable, unhealthy and reckless with your emotions, you will never have peace and you will be in a constant battle with yourself trying to maintain some semblance of equilibrium. When you have decided that you are done and you’re making the transition out of your relationship, utilize the power of indifference, even if you’re not there yet. Shift your mindset and say the words, I Don’t Care, not only will you find yourself truly in a state of not caring a lot faster than you ordinarily would, but you’ll free up your mind to focus on your own life and truly not care about what your ex is up to.
The late Wayne Dyer often said, “What other people think of you is none of your business,” and he is absolutely right. Not everyone is going to like us – not everyone has to. Other people have baggage that has nothing to do with you and they often act out in ways that can be pretty mean and hurtful. As long as your actions always come from a place of integrity, then what other people say and how they act towards you should have no bearing on your wellbeing.
For recovering Codependents, that are used to trying to please everybody and make everything their fault, that can be a tall order. The alternative is to let your emotions get the better of you and stay in a place of weakness, ripe for further abuse. Remember no one can hurt you without your permission. Indifference is a boundary that we set to protect ourselves, when we need the most protection. It is another tool in our arsenal to mental health.
When you don’t care nothing can penetrate you. When you don’t care you go on about your day, not being affected by other people’s stuff. Being indifferent means being in control. It’s a higher state of enlightenment, where we let go of our attachments to people and things. “Attachment is the root of all suffering,” Buddha was quoted as saying. When you let go of your attachments and you practice mindful indifference, it brings you to a state of inner peace. which is what we should all be striving for.
Dysfunctional people will always try to get a rise out of you, just to prove they can, or because of jealousy or some other baggage they may carry. By reacting to it, you feed their need to be in control. So the next time someone wants to say or do something that hurts you, detach yourself from the event, say to yourself, “I don’t care,” and let it bounce off of you. As soon as someone knows they have no effect on you they’ll search for an easier target and leave you alone to live your life in peace.
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Image courtesy of Naypong at freedigitalphotos.net