Overcoming Learned Helplessness

.As children, we were helpless to change our fate. We were abused and neglected so severely that our minds did a marvelous thing; it splintered into alters to share our burden. As adults, we often find ourselves in positions where the abuse continues, and we do not leave or seek a better life for ourselves.


This article will take a hard look at learned helplessness.


What is Learned Helplessness




Learned helplessness begins in childhood and often is linked to childhood abuse and neglect that is repeated. The disorder is believing that you cannot escape a negative situation, which causes you to feel helpless.


Learned helplessness involves a mental state that happens when you have experienced stressful situations repeatedly, causing you to believe you cannot change your condition. You may not try to change the problem if you live with learned helplessness. You are like a bird in a cage whose door is wide open, but you choose to remain trapped with what you know.


Some symptoms that are commonly associated with the disorder include:


  • Failing to ask for help.
  • Low-self esteem
  • Feeling out of control of your situation
  • A decrease in motivation
  • Lack of persistence
  • Passivity
  • Giving up too easily


It is critical to remember that learned helplessness is not a mental health disorder; instead, it is a learned behavior.


How Does Learned Helplessness Affect Your Life Today?



Experiencing learned helplessness impairs a person’s ability to process and handle stress. The disorder can also increase your risk of developing a mental health condition such as anxiety and depression. Often, those with learned helplessness experience a sense of having a lack of control over the outcome of events in their lives.


Learned helplessness creates people who disengage with life and from effort even though their goals are easy to reach and can lead to success. Knowing that fact, it is easy to understand how people learn to perceive themselves as a failure because their self-esteem is in the toilet. After a failure, people with learned helplessness feel like failure is inescapable. This attitude manifests itself in different forms of negative self-talk, causing them to have adverse outcomes when learning a new skill or performing skills they have already acquired.


Changing Your Attitude from Failure to Success



If you believe you cannot do something about your situation, you won’t bother trying or will make a small effort, expecting failure. Learned helplessness will affect your life in your academic endeavors, relationships, how you perform on the job and how well you like your job.


Depressed people often give up when they fail instead of looking for factors beyond themselves that could have contributed to their failure. Depressed people blame themselves and have a lack of love and respect for themselves; depression is a symptom of low self-esteem and learned helplessness.


You can take several steps to overcome learned helplessness, as you can see below.


Change your attitude. Thinking positively helps you move forward and recognize the fact that you can still succeed despite perceived deficits in your character.


Learn from your mistakes. Often, people with learned helplessness allow failure to become a roadblock. Instead, try to learn from your mistakes to improve your chances of success in the future.


Take complete responsibility for your actions and inactions. Instead of blaming others for your failures and having learned from your mistakes, acknowledge your role and take action.


Don’t ruminate on your failures. Everyone fails, and it is inevitable that you will too. Instead of dwelling on your failures, do something about them and change your attitude from loser to winner.


Get an attitude of gratitude. While it is difficult to practice gratitude when you are depressed and overwhelmed, keeping a gratitude journal and acknowledging the things and people you have in your life can defeat learned helplessness.


Change your perspective. Remember that other people’s successes don’t affect if you succeed or fail. It is all up to you.


Ending Our Time Together


I realize this piece was short, but I hope you learned that learned helplessness isn’t fatal. Indeed, you can overcome it with some work on your mind and changing your mindset.


Negative self-talk is at the heart of learned helplessness. The more you tell yourself you are a failure, the greater the risk you will fail. The opposite is also true. The more you tell yourself you are a success, the greater the chances that you will succeed.


If you are like me and have depressive episodes, it is incredibly challenging to see the positives in life. However, seeking treatment with therapy and medications has allowed me to grow and think more positively about myself.


It is vital to remember that failure is not inevitable. Just because you perceive something as a failure does not necessarily mean that others see it that way, too. Success means doing what is right and giving it your all. If you do, you will never fail.


“The biggest wall you have to climb is the one you build in your mind: Never let your mind talk you out of your dreams, trick you into giving up. Never let your mind become the greatest obstacle to success. To get your mind on the right track, the rest will follow.” – Roy T. Bennett.

“Success comes from the inside out. In order to change what is on the outside, you must first change what is on the inside.” – Idowu Koyenikan.








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