How To Cope When You’re Feeling Stuck In Life

It’s All Perception

“When we feel stuck, going nowhere—even starting to slip backward—we may actually be backing up to get a running start.” — Dan Millman

Perhaps you’ve tried everything to improve your life, but nothing changes? Frustration develops and you’re disappointed because you’re unable to resolve the situation. Allow me to put your mind at ease over the coming paragraphs. Here’s the good news: remaining stuck is only a perception and does not represent your actual reality. Now the not-so-good news: feeling stuck is a sign something needs to change in your life. You might have an intuitive impulse to make those changes, but resist doing so for fear of change.

The key to overcoming being stuck is to distance ourselves from the drama to gain a wider perspective. That’s why taking a break is useful because we perceive our problem with a new mindset. Albert Einstein said: “You can’t solve a problem with the same level of thinking that created it.” He was referring to developing a higher perspective to solve a problem formed by outdated thinking. We need a new paradigm to conquer being stuck, otherwise we approach our difficulties with obsolete thinking. The harder we try the less we see results, due to a change in conditions that have now progressed. Can you identify with this? Are you willing to change your thoughts about your situation?

Distance And Time Are The Antidote

“When everything seems to be going against you, remember that the airplane takes off against the wind, not with it.” — Henry Ford

Distance and time are two ingredients to transition from this state, since we gain clarity without being too invested in the outcome. Journaling and talking to an unbiased person is beneficial to help you form a different opinion. What we consider being stuck, is really a holding place to gather new information before embarking on a new adventure. Alternatively, it may be the seed of an opportunity fertilising itself for something better to transpire. I enjoy the title quote by author Dan Millman who wrote, Way Of The Peaceful Warrior. He states that being stuck is an opportunity to gain a running start. What may have worked in the past is no longer useful to get us to the next point in our life.

Often, being stuck is life shepherding us to the next stage of our life. As an example, consider a failed relationship where one partner cheats on their partner. If the relationship were to dissolve, the person who instigated the cheating might be remorseful for their actions and reflect on what caused them to behave this way. If they don’t learn the lesson, they are stuck in the same destructive cycle, like a mouse running on a mouse wheel not going anywhere. However, if the person is sorry, they will use this time to contemplate their actions and make amends to heal their negative actions. With any luck, they will have gained the awareness to transform their behaviour in the next relationship. When we’re stuck, our judgement can be clouded by frustration. We try desperately to overcome our negative feelings, instead of gaining valuable insights minus the undesirable emotional states.

Excuses Keep You Stuck Further

To move forward when you’re feeling stuck, try to be honest with yourself and avoid hiding behind excuses. This creates a victim mindset and keeps you stuck further. Based on my experience coaching individuals over the years, this is the hardest phase. To assume ownership of our choices means we’re held accountable for our actions. This is empowering because accepting responsibility means we co-create our life’s story and changing the cycle of destructive habits. Embracing your circumstances is the first step to move beyond your current state. It doesn’t mean you like what is happening, instead you accepting it is taking place.

Moreover, try to distance yourself from the chaos to impartially assess your situation. What could being stuck be trying to teach you? Be honest and avoid sugar-coating the answer to appease yourself. I assure you, getting past the sense of being stuck pales into insignificance to feeling good about yourself. One is short lived, while the other is a permanent resolution to your troubles. Power is gained when we rise above our challenges. Second, welcome your circumstances instead of expecting it to resolve itself. It seldom does, until you examine your actions and find a solution.

A poor solution is better than running away from pain because at the very least, it’s a starting point towards self-empowerment. Sometimes life forces our hand to help us gain a new level of understanding for our personal development. Consider your current experience as an opportunity to a better way of life. As the saying goes: if nothing changes, nothing changes. Ultimately, the answer to rising above your situation lies in your response. Will you stay stuck or step into a rewarding life?  Only you and the passage of time will tell.

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