All posts by Legae Phahlane

How can I stop feeling Helpless!

Why do I feel Helpless?

Suppose you work in a 20-floor building. You go to work at night to get some documents you had forgotten. While in the lift, it suddenly stops, and everything goes dark. You become concerned. You reach for your cell phone, it makes the last “battery flat” sound and it switches off! You become worried. It’s Friday night, Monday and Tuesday are public holidays, and you know that nobody comes to work on weekends. You start to panic! You can’t come up with a solution! Everything is dark and there is no way out. It is the worst winter ever; for the first time in 10 years,  it is snowing outside. Then you start to think: “there is nothing I can do! I am going to freeze to death!” You feel helpless!

Helplessness is a feeling you get when you start thinking that none of your actions can change a situation in your life that needs to be changed. Helplessness is a feeling you get when you think that you are not in control of the things that happen to you in life.

The five main causes of people feeling helpless are as follows. Firstly, feeling you have no control over your life by thinking that, “nothing I did in past has ever changed anything, so nothing I do will ever change anything.” Secondly, thinking that you do not have certain skills that are necessary to deal with problems you may be facing in life. Thirdly, being influenced and infected by people who are negative, cynical and helpless. Fourthly, Having the following expressions in your belief system: “I have bad luck!” “I have been bewitched!” “Life is unfair!” “People hate me!” “I am useless!” “I can’t do it!” And fifth: giving up.

How do I Stop Feeling Helpless!

The good thing about helplessness is that it is an emotion. And like all emotions, it is caused by thoughts. People usually feel helpless when they start thinking that they have no control; when they think that, “nothing I do will change anything!”

Thoughts can be controlled. So, the following are some of the ways in which a person can stop themselves from feeling helpless.

Firstly,  the past can never predict the future; just because something has happened before, does not mean it has to continue happening. So, to feel that you can still be in control of your life, then think, “what I did didn’t change things, but if I change what I do, maybe that will change my situation.”  Secondly, every skill is learned, no one is born with a skill. So, thinking that you can also learn the skills that are necessary to deal with your problems will stop you from feeling helpless. Thirdly, avoid people who are negative, cynical, and helpless. Fourthly, stop saying the following negative phrases to yourself: “I have bad luck!” “I have been bewitched!” “Life is unfair!” “People hate me!” “I am useless!” “I can’t do it!” And fifth, do not give up; never, ever give up!

If helplessness is not stopped, then it may lead to depression. And if it is stopped, then one will always feel hopeful of someday living the Good Life!

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The Good Living column was written by various experts within the Personal Development and Self Improvement fields, as part of the nationwide Good Life Campaign. The Good Life Campaign aims to make generally exclusive Personal Development and Self Improvement knowledge, practices and techniques, accessible to all South Africans; free of charge!