6 ways to overcome helplessness

6 ways to overcome helplessness

via Elephant Journal by Soizic June Hagègeon

I’m aware this is an unusual opinion, but I have little interest in writing about things everybody agrees on anyway.

Last May, in the midst of a break-up, months of a failed job search and having to move from one country to another, I felt profoundly helpless.

For some reasons, I shared my sense of helplessness on social media. Then something strange happened: friends I hadn’t talked to for ages called me, people I didn’t know very well messaged me to share their similar experiences. The overall answer was this: “I feel the same.”

Was I missing something? I was a big failure, but most of these people I considered spiritual, active and on top of their sh*t. Was I missing something? Or were we all living in a constant state of post-graduation crisis?

The answer is actually quite simple: Incertitude. Sucks.

We are anxious creatures by nature. Think about it: you come from a lineage of homo sapiens who had to fight wild animals, weather elements and probably other bipeds. Your brain isn’t wired to gaze at a point on the horizon, asking yourself with wonder whether it is a big hungry tiger or not. Your survival instinct wants to know, and society doesn’t help, since we are supposed to have a plan for everything (hence the awful interview question “Where do you see yourself in five years?”).

But here is the thing: helplessness is great. It can teach us many things when we decide to go with it, so here are six golden tips to deal with change and hopelessness:

Explore your helplessness: What does it mean to you?

Helplessness is an intense feeling. Exploring it is profoundly uncomfortable but still crucial. What happened six months ago didn’t feel terrible because I lost my partner (we both knew that we weren’t right for each other), didn’t get a white collar job (this was, and never will, be right for me) or even because I had to say goodbye to my friends in the U.S. It felt terrible because I lost what I thought was defining my identity: the things I could say to prove to others (and myself) I was a smart, successful, interesting person.

We imprison our identities in one-dimensional narratives we tell to whomever might listen, and consume mindlessly to support these stories (a new look, a car, a yoga class to have the perfect butt). Deep down inside we think that, without all these things, people won’t love us anymore. Maybe we are, above all, scared we won’t love ourselves.

What’s at the core of your helplessness? What are you really scared of losing in this changing time? Is this fear still true to you today? Is it yours? Or was it planted in you by others, maybe a parent or by social expectations? Follow the tracks of your fears to make sure you know what you are hunting after.

Start with the smallest thing you can do:

Times of change are stressful, because we lose our old bearings and don’t have new ones yet. It is perfectly normal to feel overwhelmed, whether the change ahead is “good” or “bad”; change—whether it is a marriage, a divorce, a birth or a death, is often terrifying. Can you stop focusing on the (overwhelming) big picture?

Start small: What part of this can you deal with? Maybe you are feeling depressed and the smallest action seems unbearable. Can you take a deep breath five times? If you are stressed, busy and overwhelmed, can you just go out for a walk at the end of your day? That’s a great start…

…keep reading the full & original article HERE