ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Uselessness: The Cause and the Cure

Updated on July 3, 2020
MsDora profile image

Ms.Dora, a certified Christian counselor, explores facts, attitudes, and habits that can help us maintain our physical and mental wellbeing.

Uselessness: The Cause and The Cure
Uselessness: The Cause and The Cure | Source

Uselessness is synonymous with fruitlessness, helplessness and powerlessness although the feeling may exist in someone who appears to be functioning normally. For example, gifted children feel useless when they are too far ahead of their peers.

Uselessness also matches the definition of “curse” in the Free Online Dictionary: “something that brings or causes great trouble or harm” (Collins English Dictionary); “something causing misery or death” (WordNet 3.0, Farlex clipart collection).


"When no new thoughts fill the mind; when no horizons beckon; when life is in the past, not in the future—you are on your way to uselessness." —Dr. Frederick K. Stamm

There is no criticism here for anyone experiencing this sense of uselessness. It is a precursor to depression and suicide; something this serious deserves understanding, not judgment.

We either have been or will be visited by a sense of uselessness at some time in our lives. The following discourse intends to help make us aware of the cause, so that we can be prepared to deal with it. It also presents options to those who are tempted to think that there are no causes.

Both the onset and the cure are influenced by a person’s disposition.

Sander van der Wel
Sander van der Wel | Source

The Cause

At the root of all feelings of uselessness is the reality that situations are beyond our control. Some think that they are incapable of bringing about the necessary changes and they throw up our hands in despair.

Both our physical and mental conditions influence the choice we make. The tired person thinks that all his energy is spent. “I’m done—useless!” The disappointed person perceives that the world is against her. “Nothing works. I’m useless.”

The following reasons have been given by people who sense the feeling of uselessness. Yet, for every reason listed, there are people who struggle through these issues without giving up.

  • The inability to give help to someone who really needs it;
  • Unemployment or fixed incomes causing the inability to provide for self and dependents;
  • Failure to get pregnant after years of trying;
  • Failing to please someone (a parent, a boss, a spouse) who is never satisfied;
  • Watching the decline of moral standards and being the only one calling for reform;
  • Chronic physical conditions like headache, backache preventing expected job performances;
  • Feeling unaccepted by people in a particular circle;
  • Years of struggling with an addiction.

Four Suggestions for the Cure

The sense of uselessness is a secondary situation created in response to some other traumatic situation or event. The cure begins with the discovery and handling of the primary situation.

If the sense of uselessness is left to progress into depression and suicidal thoughts, psychotherapy is advisable. “Adjunctive therapy, such as occupational therapy and music therapy, is helpful in relieving tensions and emotional problems that are associated with a feeling of uselessness.”

The following suggestions can help us offset and cure the sense of uselessness. They help maintain emotional health and serve us best if implemented before the condition begins..

1) Sense of Purpose

"A useless life is an early death." —Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

The best antidote for a sense of uselessness is a sense of purpose. We begin to discover our purpose with an inventory of our natural gifts and talents which everyone has. The painter can take pride in his enhancement ability. The writer can keep on writing no matter how many people read. Our purpose is not based on responses to our performance, but our commitment to who we are, and what we are designed to do.

We are alive for a good reason; we can never sink into uselessness if we believe that.

2) Service Projects

"The way to feel better about your own situation is to improve someone else's circumstances." —Ezra Taft Benson

The good feeling we get from helping others gives a boost to our self-worth. To know that we make a difference is reason enough to feel useful. While we are spending our energies in the interest of others, we are distracted from our own difficulties. At the next opportunity to evaluate our situation, we may have a different perspective which shows us that our circumstances are not as bad as they seem.

By showing interest in and assisting a cause which benefits someone else, we find ourselves at the height of usefulness.

I cannot think that we are useless or God would have created us.
I cannot think that we are useless or God would have created us. | Source

3) Learning Projects

"Boredom may lead to a sense of Usefulness and Frustration." —Krees

The very first quote in this article mentions “new thoughts” as an antidote to the feeling of uselessness. Something new and positive will excite our minds and distract us from despair.

What about new ways to pursue dreams which are still unfulfilled? Will a new class help prepare us for the venture?

What about auto and home repairs which keep bogging us down with bills? What an exciting challenge to learn a few self-help techniques!

Can we see the benefit of taking a class just for self-improvement?

We are alive because there’s something else for us to do. We deserve to learn how so we can step on it, and discard that sense of uselessness.

4) Social Projects

"No man is useless while he has a friend." —Robert Louis Stevenson

The other projects may also be considered social, but here the emphasis is friendship. There is a friend for everyone, and we find our friends when we start being friendly. Instead of waiting for some to affirm our usefulness, we can be the affirmer, encourager and supporter. Prospective friends are in churches, health clubs, neighborhood groups and a host of other civic organizations.

We can practice seeing the good in people we meet, rejoicing with people who celebrate, participating in the happiness of others. We improve our sense of worth, belonging and usefulness when we experience connectedness with others.

Uselessness Poll

What helps you most to deal with the sense of uselessness?

See results

© 2013 Dora Weithers


This website uses cookies

As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

Show Details
HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)