bananas

Tackling Learned Helplessness – With Bananas

bananas

Yes, you read that right. With bananas.

Bananas are okay. I wouldn’t call them my favorite fruit or anything, but I like them alright. I will eat them if they are available without a problem. We usually have bananas in the house. For some reason, we didn’t get them all eaten this week and several were over-ripe to the point that no one would even try to eat them.

This was a problem. No one here knew how to, or cared to, make banana bread and Mama is out of state. So what now? Just throw them away? I thought about it. It would have been the easiest step to take but I decided to try something. I’m here alone with a kid who’s recovering from being sick and 3 dogs so why not? If it came out awful I could still throw it away.

I googled and found a recipe that looked simple enough and off I went. I had no one to ask questions of, no one to tell me I was doing it wrong, no one to assure me I was doing it right. I just did it. I realized that the risk of failure wasn’t the end of the world. That I would learn what not to do next time. I remembered what Rachel says a lot, there’s no learning without being uncomfortable. We can’t learn or grow confidence without risking a failure.

Is my banana bread perfect? Nope. It’s a bit mushy from too many bananas I think, but it’s good because it’s mine and I did it and no one had to hold my hand. It’s perfect because we are growing. It’s perfect because it’s still edible. Next time will be better, maybe.

A Side of Learned Helplessness?

For so much of our “adult” life, we were constantly told we couldn’t do these things. We had to ask for step by step instructions for everything and weren’t allowed to deviate from those instructions. Any failures we had were proof to our husband that we needed to follow his rules all the time. We lost any sense of independence. We had started to cook and bake before we met him, but forgot all of it during that marriage. One of Mama’s biggest frustrations with us is our learned helplessness.

Learned helpless is a serious pain in the butt. It slows down your progress in a way no one sees coming. Most of us battling this don’t see it in ourselves. We think we are behaving in a way that ensures no one gets mad. It’s true that when we are asking a thousand questions about how to do something we are usually looking for the way the other person wants it done so we don’t make them mad. Not following instructions exactly leads to trouble. Avoiding trouble is what we’ve tried to do most of our life. I would think to some extent that’s true of everyone.

For those of us with learned helplessness, we are taking it too far. We aren’t giving ourselves a chance to figure it out. Questions are okay. Clarifying is fine. Trying it ourselves without someone else close by is priceless. Terrifying but priceless. The more we do and succeed at, the more confidence we will build.

Success!

Banana bread was a success for us. Next time we decide to try something new we will remember the banana bread and remember that success. There will be a next time and it will be sooner rather than later because building successes feels good.

Reclaiming life is fun.

How are you reclaiming your life?

 

 

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2 thoughts on “Tackling Learned Helplessness – With Bananas

  1. Kate says:

    Interesting perspective! I have a bit of learned helplessness myself, from heavily relying on both my mom and my boyfriend to do certain tasks that I’ve deemed myself “not good” at. Now I use the times when I’m home alone to try new things or take on those tasks that I’m not as confident in, knowing that I have the freedom to mess up and not be judged.

    Liked by 1 person

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