Learned Helplessness – Tips for Overcoming Smallness in a Big World

Share the Love ♥Share on Facebook311Tweet about this on Twitter6Pin on Pinterest876Share on Google+19Share on TumblrShare on LinkedIn0Print this pageEmail this to someoneShare on StumbleUpon0
The Neon World of New York
dustinsapenga / Foter.com / CC BY-NC

Are you feeling overwhelmed? Are you full of fear, doubt, lack, or confidence?  You are not alone. In fact, most of us feel this way, at least some of the time. And why wouldn’t we? Our culture thrives on us being needy in some way. Commercialism is based on capitalizing on our sense of neediness, and if we don’t already have a need, they’ll make one up for us. Like, aren’t you sick – about to be sick – shouldn’t you be sick because (it’s winter, you’re a women/man, your old/young, and depressed or sleepy?)  Wouldn’t your life be better (like the people in the commercial), if you had this soda, beer, car, life insurance, drug, food). So, the commercials suggest that if you don’t have these things, you must be lacking. Powerful stuff they have been droning into our heads for the bulk of our lives. And, even though most of us had parents that were well intentioned and wanted us to succeed in life, there are many messages that we grew up with that are quite oppressive.

  • You have to be really good at math for that (implying that you are not)
  • Your sister learned how to ride a bike in one day! (of course, you, being a bike riding loser, took many days, right?)
  • You don’t want to grow up to be like your uncle do you? (what does that mean, other than to place a blindly inaccurate judgment on someone in the family, aka it’s OK to judge others to make yourself feel better about yourself)
  • Teacher: Who in class can tell me ………….. (you can never raise your hand)
  • Gym Teacher: Everyone let’s hit the chin up bar –  (not one of your strengths)
  • keep your chin up
    demandaj / Foter.com / CC BY-NC-SA

    I just don’t want you to get hurt (when you tell your parents you want to try out for the lead in the school play).

  • Did you see that Mary down the street, she won the spelling bee? See, that’s what happens if you study like I ask you to.
  • Friend at school: Why do you act like that? Everyone makes fun of you when you act like that.
  • Friend after breakup: I’m sorry but you need to get over it – You are starting to look needy.

We are inundated with messages of how incomplete, lacking, and small we are and how we must have this or that in order to be a better being.  Sometimes these things that we are told or learn are lacking in us are seriously damaging to our higher self. Every “if only” becomes a chain around our spirit.

Some people might tell you that unless you go to church or believe in some religion, that you are destined to suffer. Others might tell you that if you don’t go to college, you will obviously be a loser in life. Some might tell you that you have not lived until you get married, no wait, until you have children, no wait I mean, until you retire – ooops, too late – you died without even finding out what that final thing was you were supposed to do BEFORE you could start living fully.

Now, let’s look at the opposite perspective, one that comes from centuries old advice and lessons from masters and sages in all cultures in all time periods. Here are a few of these Universal Truths:

  • You are an infinite being
  • Love is always the answer
  • God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. Boom! Period!
  • We become what we think
  • The Universe supports you – the Creator delights in you
  • Life is meant to be abundant, joyful, graceful, and beautiful. Life is a gift.
  • Peace, love, beauty, and joy are man’s natural state of being
  • spark from the infiniteThere is no right or wrong, only thinking makes it so
  • Your mind and God’s mind (Universal Love, Source, Creator, Abba) – are ONE
  • Which means – we are all one

Many people believe that because they can relate more to beliefs related to lack and the diminished nature of man, that those beliefs are truer than the Universal Truths I just shared. By taking this approach to our thinking, we develop some common beliefs about life in general. Here are a few of those common beliefs about life from a diminishing point of view:

  • Life is hard, a struggle
  • Love hurts
  • Every man for himself
  • Avoid risk, Plan for the worst
  • It’s a cold, cruel world
  • Nobody said life was fair

Well, you get my drift. After all, you probably have plenty of these edicts you use in your own life.  But I challenge you to think about how different your life would be if all the “Universal Truth” bulleted items where the norm for you, and that these were more of what you were taught, and the bulleted statements above where either unknown or unbelievable. The reason the “Universal Truth” statements seem untrue is because we don’t live within these truths, we don’t practice them regularly. We are trained to see everything as a problem that needs to be solved instead of seeing everything as a gift that is already present in our lives.

I am

Photo Credit Dorothy Lecours

This mindset of smallness or learned helplessness is more than a matter of perception; it is a belief that the Universe is something to be conquered and struggled with instead of resting in the knowledge that the Universe is constantly giving with open arms anything we are willing to take.  A glass half full or a glass half empty is still only half a glass. The optimist in us says, “Yes, I feel so good because I see the glass is half full”, but the wise spiritualist says – “All glasses are filled with the exact perfect amount.”  There is no moment that is not 100% complete. That does not mean that more cannot be added to it in the next moment – and then THAT moment is 100% complete.

To shift your entire paradigm of thinking from little me in a big world, to I AM the world is no easy task with the many years of oppressive suggestions we are given. But it is a task worth undertaking if you want to start living a life that has infinite potential for love, joy, peace, and abundance. Anything and everything is possible every moment, there is simply infinite possibilities for every single moment of our lives, IF WE SEE IT THAT WAY. Now, we see a fixed unyielding world, but when we open the door to the infinity of life, there is no limit to our life experiences.

Here are a few quick tips towards changing your mindset from one of smallness and helplessness to power and potential. Keep in mind, you have nothing to lose and everything to gain by working on a more expansive and limitless outlook on your life. You cannot avoid risk by staying small in your life. You will experience pain and suffering and you will not always get what you think you want whether you remain small and limited, or limitless and infinite. BUT – the difference is once you go big, the pain or suffering you experience become the tools to build an even bigger you instead of the weapons of destruction they now appear to be.

the best is yet to comeTip #1: Always assume the best possible outcome. Come on folks! Who is really benefiting from assuming the opposite? You are not protecting yourself by assuming the worst, you are, in fact, setting up the conditions for it to manifest in your life. But what if I lose my job, money, boyfriend, etc.?  Then you do! How does assuming it before-hand make it less painful? This is a hard habit to change but begin by assuming every day, every conversation, every trip, every dinner, every interview, every date, every night’s sleep is marvelous. If it turns out its not marvelous, how does assuming the NEXT time won’t be marvelous either make it more true than assuming NEXT time it will be.

Tip #2: Use the issues that surface in your life as the tools for even more growth and possibility. As things come up that appear to upset the balance in our lives, consider what this new upset is telling us? If it a relationship issue – do I need to quit judging, controlling, setting expectations for someone else, and so on? Intuitively I think, deep down, we know what needs to be done but have a hard time taking accountability for these issues as they arise. But, they will continue to arise until we learn what is needed, so save yourself a lot of time and suffering – use every experience both good or bad as an opportunity for growth and wisdom in your life.

Tip #3: Review your self-speak. Words like: “should”, “can’t”, “try”, “never”, “problem”, “stressed”, “nobody”.  Words that diminish you, your actions, or your thoughts (or others), in any way, should be totally eliminated from your vocabulary. Pretend you just hypnotized them out of your mind. Use tools to help you stop using them, like setting up a quarter bucket and throwing a quarter in every time you catch yourself using a diminishing word. Be aware! The more you catch yourself, the more you will stop using negative self-speak.

emotionally free at sunriseTip #4: Be an advocate for change. The best way to learn something deeply is to teach it. Why do you think I do what I do? By sharing your passion for anything that creates growth and potential in the lives of others, you are touched in a magical way.

Tip #5: Go outside at night and try to touch the sky, count the stars, or capture the moonbeams in a jar. It can’t be done because there is no end to them. Don’t you see? These gifts are a metaphor for everything! This is the Universe you live in. THERE ARE NO LIMITS! You are the moon and the sky and the stars and like them, your largeness cannot be contained.

Share the Love ♥Share on Facebook311Tweet about this on Twitter6Pin on Pinterest876Share on Google+19Share on TumblrShare on LinkedIn0Print this pageEmail this to someoneShare on StumbleUpon0
LightWorkers World Author Joleen (Bridges) Halloran (12 Posts)

Joleen (Bridges) Halloran is the author of Finding Home - Breaking Free from Limits, a book that provides readers with inspiration and practical wisdom to gain their personal and spiritual freedom by letting go of past and self-imposed conditioned limits. Joleen is also a spiritual/personal empowerment counselor and spirituality blogger. Joleen is a passionate student and teacher on the topics of consciousness, enlightenment, awakening, and personal empowerment. She writes about a wide range of spiritual and/or personally empowering topics on her own blog, www.breakingfreefromlimits.com. Please visit anytime to check out additional inspiring articles or to learn more about Joleen, her book, or to contact her for spiritual counseling.


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>