How can feeling helpless motivate change?
Helplessness is frequently tied to feeling small, powerless, and vulnerable and is often occurs when you are unable to have an impact or influence on an individual, event, or situation. It might leave you with a sense of being on edge or waiting for whatever is coming, which may trigger those “anxious” feelings.
Helplessness may also occur in situations where you have less control, no control, or where you feel out of control. A lack of control makes it impossible to avoid difficult or painful situations. As with shame, which we covered last week, helplessness activates fear responses in the body to help us prepare to deal with the situations where we feel out of control. Thus, sometimes feeling helpless can motivate change.
Yet, when people are exposed to prolonged periods of feeling helpless (e.g., abuse or neglect), such exposure can lead to more lasting and damaging effects. Animals and humans can experience what’s known as “learned helplessness,” which is similar to a depressive state; they have become so accustomed to facing inescapable pain that they no longer have motivation to act or make changes.
The good news is that connecting with others, asking for help, and taking action in the face of situations where you feel helpless can help you break free of that experience.
This weeks question:
If you experienced situations where you felt helpless, what have you done to connect with others, ask for help or take some important action?
I’d love for you to respond on my facebook group!
Join my group on Facebook LOVE MY LIFE and let me know. I’ll post the question and jump on myself to chat and answer questions.
To A Life You Love,
Dr. Joan Rosenberg