There’s nothing wrong with vulnerability. In life there’ll be occasions when the healthy thing to do is to admit weakness and ask for help. When battling an addiction, for example, the best course of action is to publicly announce you’ve lost control of your life.

But there’s a huge difference between vulnerability and helplessness!

While it’s advisable to be aware of your limitations, it should never be at the expense of exploring your capabilities. You need to know what you can’t do, true, but you also need to know what you can do — and do those things! But sadly, when people whose repeatedly put you down, when you’re so overprotected you’ve never had to rise to the occasion, or when you’ve had to deal with one failure after another, it’s easy to get trapped into the addictive (yes, it’s addictive!) world of helplessness.

Would you like to regain control of your life? Then consider the following tips:

Start small. Recovering a sense of capability may feel like an intimidating task, especially when you’re expecting miracles overnight. So take things one day at a time. Everyday set a small task for yourself to do, and explore your limits. For instance, rebuilding your life after the death of a spouse need not mean that you have to be smiling and dancing in a month. Grieving takes time. Begin by gathering the courage to pack your spouse’s things. Snail’s pace is okay, as long as you’re going in the right direction.

Ask loved ones not to enable you. Chronic helpless behavior is often the result of everyone else having adjusted to you, they don’t expect anything else but helplessness. This can create manipulative tendencies in your unconscious. Sympathy can get you what you need without effort? Then best to always appear needy. A family member enjoys being in power while you’re at your weakest? Then why bother gathering strength? You need to stop manipulative patterns now! Communicate and tell people not to rescue you anymore. Once you’ve hit rock-bottom, you’ll have no recourse but to fend for yourself.

Make a list of all your areas of competence. We’re all good at something. So, why don’t you list down all the things you do well. And broaden your mind when it comes to the word “skills.” You may not think that your ability to get along with people is a skill, but you only need look at those who can’t find people to work with to know that you’re more gifted than you give yourself credit for!

Be in the company of go-getters. Some personality traits are contagious, and being a go-getter is one of them. Why not sign up for a marketing job? Salespersons are one of the most proactive individuals in this planet. Or join a business conference, and see how the successful entrepreneurs hold themselves in public. Maybe check out the latest motivational speaker making a buzz. You want a model for a “can do” attitude, so that you’ll be confident that it can be done.

Hey, what are you waiting for? Get going!