There are few things as frustrating or draining than the feeling of being stuck. Whether it is in a life that you desperately want to get out of or away from circumstances that are less than ideal. For many it is a bit of both. At least with some things, like toothache, there is a definite solution – you can drag yourself off to a dentist and be done with it.
But being stuck (or more accurately, the feeling of being stuck) is like being super-glued to a circumstance that you think has no solution and no way out. I’ll take the pain of a toothache any day over the pain of feeling stuck.
Often if we are in orbit of being stuck in our life, we are in essence sitting on a very uncomfortable fence wondering what to do, but ultimately not doing anything and uncomfortably trying to get to know the most comfortable way of sitting on something that is never going to be comfortable. This inability to make a decision, take action, is like living in limbo, in no man’s land. And even if you don’t see it that place of limbo in addition has profound effects on every other part of life.
Living this way is like having a piece of grit in your eye. You can’t really focus clearly and get on with my life because you’re always being reminded of this piece of annoying grit in your eye.
When you are stuck in life, it seems as if nothing is moving in any direction. But that’s actually not true because whilst it may feel this way, actually time passes regardless. What’s actually happening is that you just keep thinking the same thoughts and feeling the same crappy emotions, and so nothing changes. There is no movement forward or backward. You’re just stuck in the same place.
And so, you spend day after day (month after month?) thinking…
I won’t be able to support myself living on my own…
I can’t retrain; I’ll lose everything…
I’m too stupid to attract a partner…
If my childhood had been good…
If I had the time…
Can you feel the exhaustion in those thoughts?
If you’re super-glued to something you don’t want to be in or feel, here are a few powerful techniques that will help you to dissolve the glue:
1. Make peace with where you are: I know you don’t want to hear this, but you are where you are, and there’s no sense in pushing against it and making things feel worse. Instead, get curious about what life is trying to tell you and show you about your preferences. What is it you really want? It’s much better to be in the solution than the problem. The solution always feels better, and when you feel better, you’ll act better, and think better. Making peace is not about giving up. It’s about lessening the friction.
2. Journal. This process will bring up YOUR weaknesses — did I mention that being stuck is really about your weaknesses? Sorry, but it’s true. Write down the thoughts that make you feel stuck. Identify how and why you feel stuck. Who are you trying to protect or please? Why? What are you afraid will happen if you make a decision? Get clear on what you don’t want in your life.
3. Evaluate the cost of staying stuck: What is the cost to you for staying stuck? What are you missing out on by not making a decision? What would you gain if you made a decision? Or maybe, what are you getting out of it by not taking action? Is your comfort zone actually comfortable?
4. Visualise: Every day, take 15 minutes to imagine where you would like to be in your life. What would be ideal for you? Get yourself to the feeling place of where you want to be. Break the habit of thinking thoughts that make you feel stuck. The goal is to feel some good, positive, and life affirming feelings. If you do this diligently, your path of getting unstuck can light up in no time.
Once you make the decision – to leave a relationship – to change jobs/careers – to let go of the past – to change, every single thought that had kept you stuck refocuses on how to move forward.
I have one last nugget for you. Consider for just a moment all the time and energy you spend feeling stuck, all the time you waste thinking about the so-called chaos you are going to cause if you make a decision. And consider all the wonderful things you could be doing with that time in your life if it wasn’t for those super-glued thoughts.
So my friend, what are YOU going to do?