Helplessness is the #1 killer of dreams...Honestly, Laura
Helplessness is sneaky and often goes undetected. However, it significantly influences our life path, our expectations, what we do with failure and success, the way we make choices, our thoughts, and how we interact with people and the world around us.
Originally, helplessness showed up in studies as 'Learned Helplessness'. Early Learned helplessness studies repeatedly subjected an animal to aversive stimulus (something bad i.e. electric shocks), which it could not escape." Eventually, the animal stops trying to avoid the stimulus and behaves as if it is helpless to change the situation. When opportunities to escape become available, learned helplessness means the animal does not take any action" (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Learned_helplessness).
While this may seem extreme and you're saying to yourself 'No way, I would avoid the bad situation', helplessness in our everyday lives is a lot less obvious than electric shocks.
" The most common way people give up their power is by thinking they don't have any." Alice Walker
Helplessness can be disguised as:
I'll add one more (this is a bit more obvious): Addictions. The role of helplessness is rooted deep within all addictions. For instance, an alcoholic is thought to physically have a choice whether they buy that drink or take that swallow and yet they actually have no control over their actions. They are powerless.
If even one of these sound familiar in your life, then you'd benefit from learning how to unlearn the thoughts that lead to helplessness.
The faulty thought patterns leading to helplessness often go unnoticed. We've all been knocked down in life. Eventually we don't reach quite as high for our dreams and goals, until it becomes second nature to expect less, expect obstacles, and even become apathetic when the number of things that don't go our way overwhelm us.
In order to overcome helplessness, you must learn a new, and constructive way, of handling life's inevitable roadblocks.
Children start out dreaming big and thinking big. Over time they begin to see all the roadblocks in their path and eventually lose sight of those big dreams. When helplessness enters, we live ineffectively. We've lost our personal power. It's like seeing the light go out in a child.
Ironically, adults initiate this process in children. We say 'Don't do it that way. Do it this way', and we circumvent failure for our children, 'It's just going to fall If you build it that way' or 'It probably won't turn out that way. Do something else.' Adults think they are doing children a favor by sparing them failure, but exposure to failure harnesses life skills such as creativity, problem-solving, and a chance to experience success.
The older the child, the more susceptible and damaged they become after heaping doses of helplessness. They try less. It takes more to motivate them. Soon they won't take one step in a different direction for fear of facing another disappointing setback or embarrassment. It's like being paralyzed by your own life. One of the primary characteristics of helplessness is that the person feels passive (paralyzed) with respect to "the system"; parents, employers, even teachers, finances/economics, politics, societal issues.
I'll give you the fact that not everything is in your control. Concerning helplessness, the perception of control is the key! Do you feel like things just happen to you or do you believe you have a hand in your fate? This makes all the difference in the world.
I'm an advocate of being proactive. I'm frustrated as hell sometimes because my husband is reactive- he deals with things as they arise. I like to actively use my perception of control and be proactive by making things happen, possibly swaying them in the direction I'd like them to go.
" If we believe that what we do is caused by forces outside of us, we are acting like dead machines, not living people. We must take responsibility for our actions. " William Glasser
10 Ways to Retrain Your Helpless Brain... and learn to fly again!
I'm passionate about no-nonsense self-improvement. Too many of us are plagued by faulty thought patterns- I aim to change that!