Dale Carnegie’s wisdom reminds us that our reactions to circumstances shape our emotions.
Moments of Feeling Stuck
We’ve all experienced those moments when it feels like we’re trapped in a quagmire. It’s a time when we might feel immobilized, question our worth, and find ourselves in a state of bewilderment. We yearn to move forward, knowing we should, but it seems impossible. Gradually, these feelings can transform into anxiety, fear, and an overwhelming sense of unease.
Rethinking Being “Stuck”
But what if, just what if, being stuck isn’t the real issue? What if it’s more about how we perceive these moments?
Understanding the Nature of Feeling “Stuck”
Every year, there are periods when we might sense that we’re in a rut. However, upon closer examination, we may realize that labeling this as “being stuck” is merely a construct we impose on a natural facet of life. It’s a phase when progress might appear slow, and anxiety arises when we believe it should be otherwise. We sometimes force ourselves to work, generate ideas, and make things happen, only to find that we’re still in what we call a “stuck” situation.
So, is “being stuck” more about our perception of life?
Unraveling the Causes
Feeling stuck often occurs when we impose unrealistic expectations on ourselves or when we believe that life should conform to a particular mold. It’s evident when words like “should,” “have to,” and “must” dominate our thoughts. Yet, when we let go, embracing these quieter phases in life, we might discover that things are okay. We recognize that we can’t control life; we can only be receptive to what it presents to us.
The Key to Overcoming Being Stuck
Being stuck can be likened to quicksand; the more we struggle to escape, the deeper we sink. The urge to control and manipulate life, driven by insecurity, often takes hold. We may assume that if we could just gain control, everything would fall into place. However, it’s only when we confront reality that we begin to experience a shift. Here are three steps we can take:
- Surrender to the Moment: When feeling stuck, we surrender to the experience. We acknowledge the thoughts and feelings that label us as stuck or wrong. By remaining fully present in the moment, we realize there is no real “stuck.” It’s merely a mental construct based on our expectations of how life should unfold. We take a deep breath of relief, even if the feelings persist. We observe our thoughts without resistance, learning to appreciate these moments of feeling “stuck.”
- Find Enjoyment: During these periods, there’s always something that beckons us. We’re not entirely immobilized in every aspect of our lives. For many, it involves activities like reading, spending time with loved ones, enjoying entertainment, and occasionally, engaging in creative pursuits. We perform the necessary tasks but also grant ourselves the freedom to have fun. It’s easy to feel guilty during these times, thinking we should be doing more, but we’ve learned to accept that we’re doing our best. We are who we are, and that’s enough. Sometimes, it means doing less, but the tide eventually shifts.
- Express Through Writing: In moments of profound stagnation, we turn to writing. We put pen to paper, eschewing structure or censorship. Writing by hand, in the traditional way, often clears our minds better than typing on a computer. We pour out our thoughts, including the unpleasant ones. This practice reveals recurring patterns and the futility of desiring change. Increased self-awareness allows us to let go of self-imposed suffering.
Embracing Life’s Support
Resistance to reality leads to suffering in any situation. Attempting to alter what is can be self-destructive. With time, we’ve learned to view resistance as a signal to relax, recognizing that we can only do our best with the resources we have. Life unfolds through us naturally, for we are integral parts of it. We are not isolated from the world; we are interconnected with the universe. We often doubt life’s support, yet we enter this world supported by a mother’s womb. The trees in the forest receive support. We are not exceptions. Our belief that life should differ from what it is reveals our misunderstanding.
Letting Things Be
Whether feeling stuck for a week or a year, the duration is inconsequential. We do our best with the resources available. What we’ve observed is that the longer we remain stuck and the more we accept it, the greater our personal growth when we emerge from this phase. The darkest periods of life often teach the most valuable lessons. We’ve discovered that life isn’t solely about accomplishments; it’s also about rest and acceptance. These phases parallel the seasons, with periods of both light and darkness. When we accept these phases for what they are, our perceptions shift, and consequently, so do our circumstances. However, it’s essential not to make acceptance yet another obligation. Be gentle with yourselves, even when you find yourselves grappling with these moments. It’s all part of the journey.