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Hope Forward: Surviving and Thriving through Emotional Pain: Forget It - I've Got Nothing (Getting Underneath Uninspired)

Monday, December 5, 2011

Forget It - I've Got Nothing (Getting Underneath Uninspired)

Here's how it goes sometimes in marriages, in our relationship with ourselves, with others, at work: Something just feels flat. We cannot (only) chalk it up to depression, or anger or even massive disappointment. So what then? What is going on with us - inside of us - when we feel utterly uninspired? Forget "lack of motivation," since that doesn't explain it exactly either. When asked we could say, sure, yes, I love my spouse - or the arrangement works for me somehow, therefor I am motivated to stay married. Or I am motivated to go to work because I need the money, or I care about the project in general. Or I care about my own well being, so I keep on keeping on.

Motivation can fall into the background, though it does keep us going through the motions of our lives and our relationships. What comes up in therapy a lot, though, is something deeper, something a bit more spiritual: Inspiration (or lack of it). A feeling of yearning combined with vision, passion. Being awake to deeper desires, callings, a sense of mission and meaning, some urgency even. It is this feeling that seems to get sucked out in the undertow of routine life. And many people give up trying to find it. "I've got nothing," is what they tell me, or "Forget it," which is almost always a catch all meaning "I feel way too frustrated, or I'll never be understood," or "It will take too much effort," "It won't be fast enough," or "Sometimes I really think I hate myself."

Does venting help? Sure I think it does. It feels good to get it out, to calm the anxiety, to get empathy, to have your feelings, even hopelessness and self hate resonate with someone. It helps unblock the road to inspiration, when you think you've got none.

We get caught up in what seems to be the drudgery of the same old same old. And we think that in order to become inspired, or re inspired, that things will have to be new. A new job, a new relationship, a new place. (And that can help, sure, for a time). We can't always keep changing up what we have or make things that are not new become new, but we can be open to making what we have good, or at least better. And to finding inspiration. We can be open to the idea that just because we can't make something new, does not mean that we cannot make it good - really good. Just because we think we are stuck in the same old same old does not mean we actually are. We can refuse to try, to talk, to open the door, or we can be willing. Yes, it may take a little while to get there, to find the inspiration. We may have to dig through some anger, some old stuff, find out why we are asleep in certain ways. We may need to be willing to not chalk it all up to hormones or depression or circumstance and take a different look. Is it worth it? I think so.


Dr Frank Gunzburg said...

Venting can feel good in small doses, but one has to be careful not to become "addicted" to the venting. If the venting is too readily available, one might slip into considering oneself a "victim" of her environment or the people in it.
Like you, I also do marriage counseling (over 35 years) and I find that it is crucial to help people avoid the slide into victim-hood.
Follow my marriage-friendly Tweets at @efgunz

Melissa Groman, LCSW said...

Glad to have your comments! Thanks for stopping by.

Anonymous said...

Ahh, I too struggle with this at times. It's so important to learn that dips in enthusiasm and excitement don't mean the old should be changed out for new. Great post!

Melissa Groman, LCSW said...