Helplessness Vs. Hopelessness

Watching all the devastation following the earthquake in Haiti yesterday, I couldn’t help but feel absolutely helpless. When you see the magnitude of the tragedy, it’s just unfathomable.

I recently posted about my own family’s house fire, and our loss pales in comparison to a tragedy like this.

Like many Americans and global citizens around the world, last night and today I donated via text message, the American Red Cross’s Web site, and through United Way Worldwide, but it felt cold, impersonal.

Yes, it’s money, and I know it will help people get basic needs such as medical care, food, water, and shelter … but still, it left me feeling a little helpless; wishing I could do more.

I’m not a doctor or a nurse, or a relief worker … so it’s not like I can hop a plane … and so I did the best I could, as a citizen.

Donating and spreading the word on Twitter and Facebook — seeing the global response — helped me recognize that I felt helpless, but not hopeless.

Witnessing the global community come together for a cause like this –particularly during a world-wide recession–is an amazing display of humanity. That made me feel hopeful.

Naturally, this got me thinking about the difference between helplessness and hopelessness in terms of recovery.

There were many times I felt helpless along the way, but through blogging and therapy and the community I’ve built here … I don’t feel hopless.

I feel rather hopeful, for the present, and the future. I hope in time the Haitian people can feel that same sense of hopefulness …though in the wake of such devastation, I don’t imagine it’ll be any time soon.

If you’d like to contribute to the relief efforts, you can do so in a variety of ways. This link (via Mashable) offers 9 ways to help. Please donate if you can. Human lives are literally depending on it.

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One thought on “Helplessness Vs. Hopelessness

  1. I am a professor at a community college and will be teaching a course entitled “Perspective of People with Disabilities” I interested if there are any bloggers out there discussing thier disability and in the framework of feeling “Helpless” and how how they worked through issues . barrier to poin where they feeling helped.
    I am exporing the concept of learned Hopelessness vs. Hopelessness.

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