What if I told you there was a gang of serial killers out there, they are extremely dangerous, bloodthirsty and kill daily? Would you be a little worried?
There is. There is a gang of serial killers, they attack, each on their own, they attack as a merciless gang. They lurk in the darkened alley ways of the city, they wander the lonely roads in the country, they sneak into homes, office buildings, job sites, and campuses, no place is safe, really. They are always looking for, and finding new victims. They will revisit those they have victimized before. You have already been victimized, perhaps, targeted, at least. I’m quite certain they know exactly where you are and they are patiently waiting for the opportune moment to strike.
These serial killers will never be caught by the police, they will never be tried or imprisoned for their heinous crimes, they have a certain impunity. They are so present in our society, in our daily lives, they are latent and awaiting the moment to execute. Most violent crime is committed by those we know than by strangers. These killers are no different, we usually open the door and invite them right in without even a thought. Our actions, or inactions, make it very easy for them to become a part of our lives, to become familiar, to become intimate. Then they kill.
They will destroy you if you let them, but you will not actually die. You will be tortured and the pain could be worse than anything you’ve ever experienced. It’s possible, very possible, that they will return, again and again, to victimize you over and over. You need to know who they are, you need to know how to identify them, and, most importantly, you need to know what to do when you meet them in a dark hallway, because chances are, you will. You may already be battling them and you just don’t realize their lethalness.
This gang of killers are inattentiveness, indifference, indecisiveness, disinterest and they are responsible for killing ambition, motivation, relationships, friendships, careers, goals, and any chance for personal growth, success or evolution. If you just let out a big sigh of relief, that was probably the wrong reaction. While these killers will not actually take your life, they will destroy it, if you let them. Do you care?
Allow me to introduce you the each of them so you’ll know how to recognize them.
Exhibiting a lack of attention; not attentive.
This silent killer sneaks up on us so stealthily we rarely notice until it has a grip on us we can’t break free of. Think of a once vibrant, loving relationship where great attention was paid. The lovers took delight in conversation with one another, listened actively in order to learn more about each other. Every touch was a thrill and they touched often. Great consideration was given to the need for affection, for comfort. As the relationship ages and the lovers have learned all there is to know about their beloved, their conversations become less involved, less frequent, less meaningful. Because nothing interesting is being shared, just the gripes and complaints and trivial happenings of the passing days, active listening becomes the first victim. Since active listening often involves looking intently at one another, in offering empathy, comfort, and affection, these benefits disappear, leaving the lovers to feel unappreciated, uninteresting, unimportant, and lonely. Not worthy of attention. A lack of caring. Lovers become more aware of their differences, of petty annoyances and disregard the feelings, thoughts and ideals they once shared in common. This creates a feeling of loss, of frustration, of abandonment between the lovers, which most certainly does not strengthen the relationship and more often, becomes the impetus for the deliberate destruction of the relationship.
Inattentiveness can also attack a friendship in a very similar manner. Friends who have lost interest in one another, like lovers, will drift apart and become more identified with their differences than with what they share.
Inattentiveness is present in our vocations, as well, whether in our careers or in our studies. We are usually enthusiastic with new endeavors, with new pursuits, they interest us and we devote a great deal of focused, positive energy to them in both thought and deed, usually resulting in high performance and recognition or reward. Once our new vocation becomes routine, we often begin to pay less attention to the details, the energy dwindles, our performance begins to falter. The recognition and reward we once enjoyed is less frequent, has become totally absent, or perhaps, has been replaced with reprimand.
Inattentiveness is tricky to combat because it is so tricky to detect and thwart before the damage occurs. Whether in a relationship, a friendship or with a vocation, it is important to always bare in mind the details that should be attended to on a regular basis. This can be done in a number of ways; making a meditative effort to pay attention through affirmations or a regular exercise in paying gratitude. Making attentiveness part of your daily routine, for example, a revolving “to do” list on your work or study calendar, or, making a routine, concerted effort to call or visit your friends, to share experiences with them regularly that will become something in common that you share, can remember and reminisce about in future conversations. Likewise with lovers, devote a time each day, perhaps during a meal, to actively listen and actively share, make a habit of doing things together, like preparing meals, doing dishes or other chores, just sharing quiet, active time, working side by side can be a lot more attentive than it sounds. Be sure to also make a routine habit of sharing new experiences, walking in a new park, taking in a play by a local theater company, anything, really, that can become something you share in common, fodder for conversations and fond memories. Always take that extra moment, everyday, to say “I hope you have a great day today” and “I’m glad you’re home (here), I missed you”.
Inattentiveness, though very lethal and very powerful, can be easily avoided altogether by developing the behaviors that thwart it into daily or routine habits. Remember, habits are behaviors that have become ingrained, that have become so much a part of what we do, we feel we can’t function without them. Attentiveness is the obvious antidote to the destructive effects of inattentiveness. Foster attentiveness, always, make it a habit and avoid the pain, loss and misery of inattentiveness.
1. the fact or state of being indifferent; lack of care or concern
2. lack of quality; mediocrity
3. lack of importance; insignificance
Indifference is similar to inattentiveness in that it will kill a relationship, a friendship or sabotage your vocation. Indifference does not behave in the same manner as inattentiveness. Inattentiveness usually attacks after the passage of time. Indifference is already there, from the beginning, just lying in wait. Indifference is a reaction to something that is said or to a task to be undertaken, and it basically translates to “I don’t care.” Stop and repeat those words “I don’t care.” How damaging they can be. Think of things your lover or your friends say to you that you really don’t care about a great deal. Can you imagine how they would feel if you said, out loud, “I don’t care about what you’re saying at all.” It would be crushing. Can you imagine what your supervisor at work or your teacher at school would do if you said “I don’t care about this task or assignment at all.” If we vocalized our lack of care or concern, indicated the lack of significance or importance we assigned to all we considered of lesser importance we would definitely find ourselves out of love, out of friends and out of work in a short spell. Keep in mind, that vocalization is not the only method of communicating. Your actions, or inactions, though unspoken, speak volumes. A shrug, an irritated sigh, an eye roll. Forgetting to perform a favor or a task because it doesn’t matter as much to you as it does to the other party, hurriedly completing tasks because you’ve waited until the last minute to start them because of the insignificance you’ve assigned to them. Saying you’ll get to something without the actual intent to do so or pawning the task off on someone else. Whether any of these happen within a relationship or at work, they will communicate indifference, they will say, loud and clear, “I don’t care.”
In a relationship or a friendship, we are, or should be, vested. We should care because the other party cares. If anything is of significance or importance to the other party, it should, for that reason alone, be significant or important to you. Care enough to care because it does make a difference, the difference being a lasting, thriving relationship, the reward of a job well done, a small investment for a lasting benefit.
1. Prone to or characterized by indecision; irresolute
3. Not clearly defined; indefinite
Indecisiveness is an interesting creature, and a quiet killer. Indecisiveness is characterized by the inability, or unwillingness, to make a decision. It demonstrates a lack of commitment, a lack of caring.
In a relationship or a friendship, indecisiveness often results when one party asks another to make a choice, a decision, or state a preference. Usually, the inquiring party poses the question as a means of involving the other party in an action, an activity, or a decision that he or she thinks is important. The inquiry can be made in an effort to share an experience or an activity, task, or decision of interest or magnitude. Indecision translates to “I don’t want to be involved,” or “it doesn’t matter.” True, some indecision comes out of concern over choosing incorrectly, a lack of knowledge required to make the decision, or ignorance, but they all communicate the same result.
Indecision in our vocation represents an unwillingness to participate in a process or action we have been assigned or in which we are expected to participate. Indecision often translates, or in fact becomes, inaction, a lack of performance. We are expected to perform in exchange for some compensation; pay for a job, grades for studies. Lack of performance will usually result in diminished pay (or pay increase) or diminished grades.
Indifference is a lazy killer, it is inherent and lurks, it just sneaks in in response, without thought or deliberation. To destroy indecision, make the decision to be involved, when asked. If someone cares enough to want to involve you in the decision making process, if you are expected to take action and make a decision, in both cases, the only respectful thing to do is to decide. If you lack the information, the knowledge, the facts or the courage to make the decision, ask for some guidance. This act, alone, demonstrates respect and your willingness to be involved, to participate. Simply saying “what do I need to know to make a decision?” or “how best to decide?” demonstrates your willingness and your respect, it engages the other party actively, the decision is made collectively, and everyone is pleased.
1. Apathy, lack of interest, disregard, detachment, absence of feeling
Disinterest is the deadliest and usually will work closely with inattentiveness, indifference and indecisiveness. Disinterest is always nearby, always hiding, always ready to attack. In relationships and friendships, in our vocation, disinterest is common and disinterest is hurtful. Disinterest is natural, but its expression is detrimental. To express disinterest is to diminish the importance, or the joy, even, that is held by the other party, whether a lover, a friend, an employer or an instructor. To harbor disinterest will destroy any kind of relationship.
It is not an expectation that we will all find an equal measure of importance or joy in that which interests those we interact with. To be less interested, or uninterested, is normal. But, out of respect, to be interested enough to listen, to consult, advise, to care will mitigate the harm. To disregard the interest is extremely hurtful in a relationship or friendship, and in our vocation demonstrates our unwillingness to participate in the process or action we are expected to participate in.
When we become detached from a topic or subject, we are creating a separation or distance with those who find interest. It may be a small fissure, at first, but continued detachment or disregard will create a division that may become impossible to span, at some point, a large void, a chasm, an abyss.
When we feel a lack of interest in a topic or subject of someone we interact with, to defeat disinterest, we often just need to inquire, to seek further understanding, to implore. By seeking additional knowledge or understanding, interest is expressed, and often, a genuine interest ensues. Our lack of interest is usually a defense mechanism for a failure to fully understand or empathize. Whether in agreement, or not, with the topic or subject, once more enlightened, a more complete understanding will allow you to interact more fully, to demonstrate respect, empathy and caring, all critical in any type of personal relationship or professional or academic interaction.
Knowing just a little more about the dangers that lie in wait for us, for our relationships, our friendships and in our vocations, affords us the ability to defeat them. When we go out into the world, or assume safety in our homes, there are always dangers present, danger of victimization at the hands of criminals and those who seek to do us harm. The best defense to any of these dangers is being aware; being aware of the potential hazards, being aware of our surroundings, being aware of where to seek safety, if necessary. Protecting ourselves from the serial killers we identified above; inattentiveness, indifference, indecisiveness, disinterest, is no different. We need to know, first, that they exist and what threat the pose. We need to be vigilantly aware of their presence and how to avoid them, where to seek safety from their actions should we encounter them. Pay careful attention. Care full. Care.