Feeling pain can be burdensome. Because what is inherently tied to those difficult feelings is an acute awareness that something is wrong. Now it's one thing when that pain is connected to something in your personal life. We typically have the grit to roll up our sleeves and address those concerns. After all, when it comes to minimizing or eliminating my own personal discomfort, then the journey I have to embark on, is a worthwhile one. In this instance, it's understandable to embrace pain, to care, and to do the heavy lifting necessary to persevere through that difficulty in order to overcome the challenge that is threatening to disrupt our sense of comfort. Although there are definitely instances in which being apathetic can occur in our personal lives, there is generally a tendency for it to be short lived, because of the pressing nature of a growing discomfort. It cries louder and louder for solutions. And at some point we are forced to address the pain in our own lives.
Apathy tends to thrive in spaces beyond our immediate focus. If the issue does not directly affect my family or anyone I love, then its not my concern. I can see the pain on my television screen, digital media outlets, or favorite social media accounts and distance myself from it all by telling myself the subtle but powerful lie that its simply not my problem.
I repeat that lie daily. So every time I hear or read about a problem, I've trained my mind to create automatic distance between myself and someone else's pain. This is how apathy takes root. Little by little, day by day, and over time, we end up building walls between our own neighbors and larger community. So when a persistent problem dominates the news headlines, we see it, we hear about it, and we can even articulate what is happening, but oddly enough, we are unable to feel the pain weighing another person down because we have taught ourselves - how not to care.