When was the last time you had any of those thoughts? It is easy and not unusual to get overwhelmed and feel powerless when you are surrounded by so many problems.
What CAN we do? We all face it at some point or another. And, beleive it or not, there are things we can do!
- First we must confront our negative thinking. Yes, things can get bad and it can be scarey or frustrating. And we don't have to give power to that to make us feel bad. We can remind ourselves that we have choices. We can remind ourselves that we can't fix everything on our own. We aren't soley responsible for making all the messes go away.
- We can do small things that affect the big things. For instance, we can work for change with other people to address the problems. We don't have to try to fix everything at once. We can set priorities for our use of personal energies.
- We need to identify the specifics of the problems. World hunger? World poverty? War? Refugees from war/violence? What one part of the world's mess calls to you? Join with other like minded folk to work toward changes that address that problem. Maybe you are able to actually go to another country to address its needs. But probably you aren't. So find ways to support those who can. Have a fund-raiser to raise awareness and financial support. Contact those in power to convince them to use their power to resolve the problem.
- There are lots of things we can do to address the messes in our own country. Be specific about what the problems are and address those that call to you. We can do everything from political pressure to influence those involved. We can elect local and national officials who will address those needs. We can actually serve the people who have the needs for things to survive and thrive. We can be involved in groups and/or donate to groups addressing the problem.
- And ask yourself if your life truly is a mess, or are you just overwhelmed by all that goes on around you. To change your life you need to be specific about what needs changed. Then make a decision to make those changes, even if you need to ask for help. Asking for help for yourself is just as important as asking for help for the causes you believe in. Because without you they may suffer. You can't give what you don't have.
So basically what is needed is to take the time to be specific about the needs and to be realistic about what you can do to address those needs. Remember, of course, that you can't meet them all. Other folks need to help.
In order to no longer feel powerless you need to embrace you're personal power to choose what to think, feel, and believe. You can choose to believe that you have nothing to contribute, or you can choose to believe that there are ways you can help - others and yourself.
- Control your thoughts and you will control your feelings. Really. I know most people don't believe that, but it is true. If you think you can't do something you are choosing to feel helpless or powerless and depressed/afraid. Now. obviously, that doesn't apply to impossible things, like thinking you can jump off a tall building and not be hurt. But think about it. If you think you can't do anything right you will feel like a failure without even considering all the thing you've done right to get you to where you are at the moment.
- And then there are your beliefs. Many people think they don't choose their beliefs. But where do you think they come from? Someone or something has taught you your beliefs. If they are helping you live a good life, then maybe you need to consider teaching yourself something different.
I used to be a mental health therapist in male prisons and it was easy to see that many of them were in prison because they had faulty beliefs. Some believed that the laws were only made to be broken. Some believed that the only way to get what they wanted was to use violence. Some believed that they couldn't deal with life without alcohol or drugs. And those beliefs were not working for them. As long as they held those beliefs they would keep coming back to prison.
What beliefs are causing you problems? Maybe in the next blog post we will take a look at that. Tell me what you think about all this "personal power" that we each have?