Updated: Aug 5
“If you’re walking down the right path and you’re willing to keep walking, eventually you’ll make progress.” – Barack Obama
Again, thank you all who have continuously read and given me positive feedback on my blog. Every reader is greatly appreciated, and there is more to come! Just as a disclaimer, I would like to give you some insight into what's going on with me. I'm experiencing a lot of pain within my hands since we've been in this quarantine. I am employed at two different jobs that require me to write on my laptop as well as doing this blog in my extra time. So, I have been basically typing almost 7 days a week for about 2 months straight. I am trying my best to continue doing this blog and I will be using voice dictation from now on until my hands are in a better state. Now let's get to this blog entry.
Within one of my abnormal psychology courses, I learned about the concept of learned helplessness. Learned helplessness was discovered by two psychologists: Martin Seligman and Steven F. Maier. These psychologists were studying the behavior of dogs being classically conditioned with electric shocks. In this experiment, there were three groups of dogs. Group 1 had these dogs strapped into harnesses while receiving these shocks and were released after a period of time. Group 2 had these dogs in similar harnesses that received shocks that could be stopped by pressing a panel with their noses. And, Group 3 experienced the same shocks as the other two groups, except they were not able to control the shocks which happened at random times. After being shocked multiple times within this experiment, Group 1 and 2 dogs learned how to escape from the shocks, but Group 3 did not. It was then concluded that these dogs in Group 3 developed this idea of learned helplessness. Which prompted the definition of learned helplessness to be: essentially giving up after being continuously hurt without having a direct solution nor looking for that solution. Abnormal psychologists also concluded that depression may be the result of learned helplessness due to the inability to cope with difficult life circumstances, in terms of humans.
I just recently wrote an essay where I related the topic of learned helplessness within the black community. As I have stated in previous entries, we as a community often do not discuss nor indulge in finding ways to aid us in our mental wellness. Which has caused us to hold on to these feelings and emotions without having an outlet to understand and manage. This was a long-winded way of just saying learned helplessness. I further explain, in my essay, that this blog is intended to initiate this conversation to discuss the learned helplessness within our own community in order to stop generational curses. Yet, I did not even realize my own sense of learned helplessness within this timeframe of quarantine. To give you some context, I am not back home with my family and I have been in my college house without a way of transportation to get around in the city. It was not until just recently that I was running extremely low on food and I kind of just did not do anything to help me. (I’d like to say that I'm extremely prideful and often refuse any help simply to prove that I am an independent person.) The beginning of May was very hard for me because I started off on the wrong foot of not having food nor actually looking for ways of getting food. So in my own case, I developed this notion of learned helplessness and became very negative because of that. It was not until just recently (yesterday), that I realized the light I have to strive for in order to get out of this learned helplessness. As I have been having problems with my hands, I needed to get compression gloves in order to aid me within these months of still working via my computer. One of my closest friends, Aliyah (shout out to my sis Aliyah), decided out of the kindness of her heart to buy my compression gloves for me. Now it's not like I don't have the money for it because I am still working, of course (Thank God because job security is real right now). But she noticed how much pain I was going through (emotional and mental) without me necessarily saying it. Now the kicker is, I got blessed twice within this day. I realized that me sitting in my house all day long complaining is not going to help me get the food that I need to sustain myself. So, I ordered an Uber and got ready and took myself to FoodMaxx. I entered this Uber and met a man that has switched my entire perspective on this month of May with just a simple act of kindness (along with Aliyah of course). My Uber driver held a nice small conversation while traveling to the grocery store and I revealed that I have been struggling to obtain food for this entire quarantine. He looked at me and said, "I'm going to log out of Uber, go get me some food, wait for you outside, and bring you back to your house for free." I will admit, I tried to fight his help. I said, "No it's okay, I just need to get some small stuff just to last me for a while and I'll be fine." But at that moment, he noticed my cry for help even with me fighting it. My food supply at my house was getting so low that I was considering going back home to live with my mom. But, this man decided out of the kindness of his heart to give me the blessing that I was looking for and asking for. This gave me a whole 180 perspective on my experience during the month of May. As my mom always said, "Closed mouths don't get fed."
These two blessings not only reminded me that to get the help I need to want it, but also everything has its season. Without this struggle, I wouldn't have realized the importance of the very few people that do acts of kindness simply because they want to nor the impact having people that see you're hurting without it showing on your face. Now that I have been blessed by these two wonderful people, my sole intention is to pass this along in any way possible. Whether I spread light and blessings with this blog, out in the street, within school, or wherever, this light has to be shared to give people what they need in order to carry on. I say all this to say, do not let your situation define you as a person. We cannot allow ourselves to be complacent in times of inconvenience, trauma, pain, or what have you. These situations do not complete our journey nor our story, so it is crucial to find that light or motivation in order to pull yourself out of this state of complacency.
You are the author of your story.