Atlas Syndrome

Who Was Atlas?
Greek Mythology tells of a demigod named Hercules who, after killing his family in a fit of insanity brought on by the Goddess Hera, was given 12 Labors as penance.

One such Labor was to pick golden apples from the tree in the garden of Hesperides. However, he was only a demigod. Hercules needed a God to pick them.

Enter a Titan god named Atlas. Atlas was charged with holding up the sky in the Garden of Hesperides at the far edge of the world. Atlas agrees to pick the apples for Hercules if he will hold up the sky for a moment.

Atlas plans to leave him holding up the sky but is tricked. Hercules convinces Atlas he will definitely continue holding the sky but he first needs to make pads for his shoulders. Poor Atlas! Foiled by his compassion, he once again finds himself holding up the sky.

What Is Atlas Syndrome?
In his quest to complete this task, Hercules found himself responsible for holding up the sky for eternity. But instead of feeling powerless in the task he acts. He makes up a completely bogus story in efforts to convince Atlas to take back the sky temporarily. And, it works!

Now I am not advocating lying to get what you want, but the point is Hercules did not allow himself to remain powerless under the weight of the world. He acted. He moved forward towards a goal. Thus, Atlas Syndrome is a feeling responsibility together with a sense of being powerless.

How Do You Eliminate Atlas Syndrome?
According to Hans TenDam, Author of “People Make the World”, one way to combat Atlas syndrome is to minimize the feeling of powerlessness. The more we act to resolve a stressful situation the more we feel empowered.

Something as simple as meditation or prayer can be very empowering. When you are not sure what to do, continue to act in ways that bring you closer to peace or resolution: even if you are not sure what that resolution may be. Don’t be powerless from in-action, become power filled (or empowered) thru action.

Families and individuals face multiple challenges daily from physical to financial. My family is no exception! When I ask my husband “What are we going to do?” Without hesitation, his immediate response is always “Just keep moving forward.”

It seems like such a superficial response doesn’t it? Actually, it is very sound advice. Whatever your challenge, renew your faith and become power-filled, not powerless. Wake up each day and do one thing to move closer to resolution. “Just Keep Moving Forward!”.

Resources:
1. http://hanstendam.blogspot.com/2013/08/feeling-responsible-but-powerless-atlas.html
2. http://www.madelinemiller.com/tag/hercules/

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