Learned helplessness can lead the individual to develop a victim or martyr mindset, where personal responsibility and accountability become indifference and apathy.
Three rules are often used to mask reality. These rules are Do Not Talk, Do Not Trust and Do Not Feel. These rules give way to a state of helplessness. When helplessness becomes a learned behavior, individuals may unconsciously believe they are trapped by their circumstances. Learned helplessness can also lead the individual to believe that they can do little to empower and improve their lives. Learned helplessness can lead the individual to believe that the quality of living is measured by the ability to endure and survive one crisis after another crisis. Learned helplessness and lead the individual to believe they are imprisoned by life.
Not only does this mindset undermine the creative capacity of that individual, but it also perpetuates a fear of failure and a cynical outlook upon life. Circumstances and opportunities are equally revered as a nemesis to be reckoned with on a daily basis. Life itself is reduced to merely clocking in and out each day (as a disgruntled employee) hoping that the minutes and hours pass with increasing speed. I spent a large part of my life running as fast as I could to avoid the above discontent. In this mindset, I viewed life as a dress rehearsal, to be lived later. But later never seemed to come for me, as I lived my life.
Through maintaining the belief, that I could do nothing more than survive what was dolled out to me, I became a resident reactor. I found myself jumping like a cat on a hot tin roof. Sure, I trusted God with my life, but I saw the actual living part as a battlefield. I felt like a soldier who found himself in a foxhole, attempting to protect himself from every direction. I subsequently lived my life in a state of hyper vigilance. Being hyper vigilant resolved nothing, but only served to drain and deplete my spiritual, emotional and physical energy. Being a reactor, instead of an actor in my life; only perpetuated dismay and dissatisfaction.
I am so glad that I reached a point in my life where the pain of denying my reality, superseded my need to deny what kept me feeling helpless. My awareness helped me to realize that enduring and surviving crisis’ no longer had to be my measuring stick. Slowly, but surely; I was able to trade my learned helplessness for a new way of living. Through my recovery process, I discovered that I could change my attitude and outlook on life. Instead of continuing to feel trapped by my circumstances, I began to see my circumstances in a new way. In a light that would serve to both encourage, motivate and empower my quality of life.
“Our circumstances are not meant to keep us down, but they are meant to build us up.” Craig J. Phillips MRC, BA
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