Many of us can experience the feeling of being 'stuck' in several different ways. It can show up in specific areas of our lives, such as our work/career, relationships (romantic, familial, friendships), finances, etc, or we can have a generalized feeling of it. Whenever we do feel stuck, it doesn't feel great, that's for sure. It can bring up feelings of overwhelm, frustration, anger, sadness, anxiety and fear. It can feel like you're moving through mud, standing still or that maybe everything is happening all at once but not a lot of it feels right. We'll all experience this in varied ways, but a major point I want to say is that you're not alone in this. So many of us feel stuck or have felt stuck. It's a common theme that's present when clients message me to set up sessions as well. So please know that what you are experiencing is normal and it is temporary.
Feeling stuck isn't forever, and feelings are not facts either. We might feel stuck for a specific reason, which I'll list below, or perhaps it's that we are putting too much pressure on ourselves and getting caught up in the comparison game (more on that later). Either way, we are experiencing something uncomfortable and a lot of it can be rooted in fears (fear of failure, fear of change, fear of stepping outside your comfort zone, fear of rejection), or might have different roots and causes. Having the self-awareness to know and acknowledge that something is going on is a major step forward into tackling the issue. Another big step is to get curious into why this might be happening. I'm listing out some potential reasons you might feel stuck, and some ways to invite curiosity and self-discovery along the way, if one of these points resonate with you.
We're Too Hard on Ourselves
I know it's an odd one, given you'd think I'd be writing about something where we are too slow moving and that's why we feel stuck, but honestly I see this so often. People spinning their wheels so fast and so go-go-go, that they inevitably become motionless and exhausted at the same time. We are our own worst critics, our biggest bullies, and we are ultimately the hardest on ourselves. While it's great to strive for more and to want to challenge ourselves, setting goals and the like, sometimes we do this too much. We get down on ourselves and we don't provide the compassion we need to give to our own self. We live too much in the future and not enough in the present, or we compare ourselves to the past when, again, we need to be more present. We also might feel we need to fill every minute of the day and that can place so much pressure on us. And then we can have our days filled way too much and not have enough alone time to replenish and have self-care.
This paragraph is all to say .... show yourself some compassion, please. Be kind, be gentle, and put down the never-ending stopwatch of life you have created for yourself. You'd never have these same expectations on a loved one or best friend. I can almost guarantee that you aren't telling your best friend to constantly do more and be better and be this or that or what not. Here's a challenge for you. For one day, or hey, maybe a week - take away all the "should have's," "need to's," and "wish I had's." Take 'em all away. I encourage you to replace those with something that removes the pressure from the situation (ie. "I get to," "I want to"), or, just remove it all together and see what happens. When I'm spinning my wheels too fast I end up feeling stagnant, exhausted, sad and frustrated. I feel I'm going no where, but really ... I've just been overdoing it. I haven't given myself the rest and recuperation I need in order to approach my day with the best of intentions and with a fresh mind. Give it a try or maybe even just look inward and see if this is something you are going through, too.
We Might Not be Aligned
We may be feeling stuck because we are not doing the things we love. Somewhere along the way, perhaps we stopped doing the things we genuinely want to do and started engaging in activities that make us feel exhausted, overworked, depleted and just flat out, blah. This might be because we get caught up in the comparison game and re-defined what 'success' means to us. I see this a lot in my practice and I have seen it with my own self. I felt stuck at times because I thought I had to do and be a certain way, when really I wasn't being myself and that's why I wasn't feeling great. I wasn't living into my values and beliefs, and lost myself amongst the shit that didn't truly matter to me. I wasn't entertaining my passions. If this sounds familiar to you, read on for some suggestions.
If you're feeling stuck, I encourage you to do something fun. Perhaps make a list of the things you used to love doing as a kid and immerse yourself in something playful and fun. Getting creative is key here too, as it allows you to enter the state of flow and helps your brain really narrow in and focus on a specific task. It can be quite meditative! You can even reflect and make a list on what you're passionate about and do something in that realm. If you're passionate about the environment, maybe checking out a local community centre that has a volunteer program can help you feel more fulfilled and not so stuck. Or maybe you love animals and want to check out the animal shelter and play with the puppies there. Get curious and look inward to see what you're passionate about and do it for free. Volunteering can be a great way to make a difference, feel engaged and do something that ignites your passion. Let the time fly by without a worry in the world and fully immerse yourself in what you're doing. It can help you discover new avenues and routes that you may want to pursue in the future!
This Feeling Might be Telling You Something
Another way to look at this situation is to consider that perhaps you are feeling stuck because you are looking for a change. I mentioned earlier on in my post that we might feel stuck because of fears, and some of those fears can be the fear of change and the fear of failure. We feel stuck because we don't want to feel the pain of failure. We also don't know what's on the other side of the comfort zone. The fear of the unknown can be such a massive wait that it essentially drives your heels into the earth, standing still. You'll never know the amazing things out there if you don't take a peak and try. You don't have to do it all today, but a tiny step forward can help. It can peak your excitement, motivation and can get you all cat-like curious. Just know that failure is so normal, feeling nervous to try something new is normal, and stepping outside your comfort zone can be super uncomfortable.
For this, I encourage you to think of some times where you were scared or worried to do something, but you did it anyway. What happened? Was it as bad as you thought it was? Are you still here ... living ... reading this post? Yeah? Okay, great! You made it and you survived it. Use this as a sign that you can step out of your comfort zone and try that new thing you've been wanting to or go ask for the promotion you wanted to, apply to the job you want to, take the course you want, etc. You will get through it and you'll come out on the other side with lessons, a better understanding of what you do and don't like and a bit of an adrenaline rush. It'll be okay :)
There may be other reasons why you may feel stuck, but please know that it's a feeling and with time, awareness, acceptance and action, you will get through it. Speaking to a friend, family member or mentor can help. Sometimes reaching out to our loved ones can be tough, so seeking sessions with a coach can be great in helping you navigate and consolidate what's going on for you while making an action plan.
You got this :)