Many say that the opposite of love is fear. I believe that the opposite of love is apathy.
In an apathetic or indifferent state, passion flat lines and numbness reigns supreme. A once technicolor life fades to black and white and well, what’s the point?
If I were brutally honest with myself, I would say that wallowing in apathy is an activity that has become habitual. I tend to drop into indifference when I am subconsciously starving myself with what I call passion killers. Simply going through the motions of life is excruciating not because its painful, it aches because it does not feel like anything at all.
It’s not enough to invite passion back in. Been there, tried that.
Recovering Passion From Passion Killers
Passion killers are like weeds that take over our lives. If we want more passion in our lives, we must remove these so-called passion killers. Chances are, you may not even know that they exist. I didn’t. They hide deep in our subconscious minds and if you are a highly sensitive person such as myself, your predisposition to these passion killers may be higher than most.
The top 10 passion killers (in no particular order), are as follows:
Indecisiveness Kills Passion – I am starting with indecisiveness because as highly sensitive people we tend to be vastly irresolute, and for good reason. Sensing life on a deep level allows for a more robust vantage point making choosing anything a challenge. We often have to own and grieve the choice we do not go with which can prevent us from moving forward with any decision at all. But here’s the thing, when we do not choose, we do not get the opportunity to stand fully behind something. We live in this wishy-washy, spiritless land of letting others choose for us. We never get to discover what make our hearts race or what makes the hair stand up on the backs of our neck. We must choose something, anything; passion will follow.
Competing Priorities Kill Passion – On the heels of indecisiveness comes vying priorities. We HSPs have the gift of experiencing energy on a subtle level enabling us to dream big and often. This is precisely where many of us get stuck, in dreaming mode. It means we start 10 projects and finish none of them. It’s good to dream, but not so good to be a dreamer who lacks direction and supplementary priorities. Giving part of our attention to several things at one time is a sure way to leak passion out like a sieve. Choose one priority and go all the way into it. If you are not sure what takes precedence, get quiet. Meditation or journaling are excellent yet simple ways to prioritize.
No Vision Kills Passion – Having no vision crushes passion the same way having too many does. If you were ever asked what you wanted to do in life and experienced crippling shame that screamed, “I don’t know”, chances are you are familiar with this lack of vision. No vision can be correlated to an intensified outward focus. As sensitives, our heightened depth of processing allows us to be incredibly plugged in to the external world whether we want to or not. For this reason, our wants and desires tend to morph into the wants and desires of others. Of course there is no passion in this place because those wants and desires are not our own. Honing a vision begins with turning inward. We must start asking ourselves what it is we truly want and go after it. If you aren’t sure what you want, there is no shame in that. The first step to discovering what we truly want is lurking right around the corner from what we don’t. Start there.
Halfway Kills Passion – Being halfway is comparable to standing on the periphery of life. It looks like not letting ourselves speak up fully. It comes across as hiding, avoiding, playing out addictive tendencies and saying we are going to do something and not doing it. As someone who avoided most of her days as an emotional eater, I know firsthand how easy it is to give into cravings and hole up. I know what it feels like to be the committer who can’t commit. In a word, awful. It is so necessary that we hold ourselves accountable. Fully showing up requires that we set goals for ourselves and more importantly, follow through. Goals give us a purpose and we NEED purpose. Making goals that are more about what we want to accomplish and less about when seems to be most effective for sensitive types. Time restraint squashes creativity , the natural home of passion.
Inactivity Kills Passion – The inactivity I speak of here is not that of rest or relaxation rather it is inactivity born from fear or resistance; the analysis paralysis type of inactivity. Author Steven Pressfield writes, “Most of us have two lives: the life we live, and the unlived life within us. Between the two stands resistance.” I have found that many highly sensitive people let the strong sensation that accompanies resistance halt them in their tracks. That resistance is what paralyzes us and keeps us running to food (or whatever your addiction of choice may be). Moving through the resistance requires that we expand our tolerance for its sensation; and it’s just that, a sensation in the body. Allowing for greater sensation permits us to show up in a greater way should, and when we choose. My guess is that if you are reading this now, your desire to show up is bigger than the resistance that has been holding you back.
Planning Kills Passion – This is a bit of a double-edged sword. There is a time and a place for planning. When we are in a weakened state, rigid planning is what nurses us back to vitality and allows for more flexibility down the road. You can see how this plays out for someone struggling with an illness, addiction, difficult life circumstance or major transition. Staunch care, steady regimens, and consistent routines are necessary in these scenarios. It’s when we cling onto excessive planning outside of these situations or beyond their expiration date where we fall into trouble. Our lives become too small for the limitlessness that we are. There is no room for passion to grow inside of the rights/wrongs, do’s/don’ts, and shoulds that are dictated by our plans. Let go. Let life flow in and bring with it the passion you have been searching for.
Isolation Kills Passion – Apathy affects us especially during extended periods of isolation. For HSPs this can be a loaded subject. We require solitude to digest all that we sense; yet too much solitude will throw us straight into apathy. As someone who spent much of her life isolated, I can tell you that I am still healing the parts of me that so desperately craved connection. As human beings we need to be listened to, heard and validated. When we retreat from the world because we feel too much or because connecting feels over stimulating, we begin to wither. We get lost in our minds and life becomes lackluster. Put yourself out there even though it feels frightening. Vulnerability is the birthplace for inspiration, passion, and love; all of which are found inside of connection.
Perfection Kills Passion – Because highly sensitive people are processing things deeply (literally on a cellular level), we can easily see where we/others fall short. When this becomes the measurement device for how we live our life and how others live their lives, it becomes incredibly painful. Maybe you have had the experience of being called “picky” when looking for a significant other? Or perhaps you have lost friends because they have behaved in a way that has gone against your principles? Or maybe you are someone who stands in the mirror each morning picking apart everything from your wrinkles to your stretch marks to your cellulite. I speak from personal experience in each one of these scenarios and I can tell you that exercising abrasive judgment and extreme perfectionism is a surefire way to keep passion at bay. Relaxing into our humanness is the only way to rediscover desire and it requires that we relax our gaze.
Excessive Control Kills Passion – A heightened illusion of control is necessary for sensitive souls.Because we experience an uncensored version of life, there is an overwhelming need to temper its intensity. Our emotions often feel bigger than we are so we minimize them by eating over them, analyzing them, or going numb in some regard. It is in the minimizing that passion gradually disappears and life fades to black and white. Until we can welcome the vastness of our experiences to flow through us, life will continue to feel empty. Know that you are bigger than your emotions and much larger than the sensations and cravings that overwhelm you. Leaning into the enormity of all that we are will quickly create space for desire to return.
Clutter kills passion – Literal as well as figurative clutter is a passion killer. Our external surroundings are definitely a reflection of our internal state. If you we are living and working in a mess, there will be no room for passion to come up. Think about it…if you have a messy closet full of things you don’t like, don’t fit, and don’t want to wear, how are you going to be enthusiastic about getting dressed in the morning? The same goes for a messy mind. If there are a thousand unchartered thoughts running around unaccounted for, how is there going to be space for true desires and inspiration to come through? Simplify your bedroom, your kitchen, your closet, and your bathroom. And by all means, meditate so that you can move beyond the thoughts that do not matter and give the thoughts that do a home. Write them down and add them to your list of goals. There is no such thing as oversimplification when it comes to rediscovering passion.
Highly sensitive people have so many ways in which they can contribute. It is unfortunate when their lives are cluttered by weeds of bad habits killing off our passionate capacity for living. It does not have to be this way. We can clear out those weeds to allow our natural passion and creativity . We are worth it!