Being stuck can hold you back from being the person you want to be. Katie Vessel helps break your logjams.
I once knew a man who wore a pair of old brown leather shoes which he constantly complained hurt his feet. Interestingly enough, he continued to wear them. I heard him complain about this almost every time that I saw him for months.
Finally, though I knew better to do this on his behalf—I bought a new pair of shoes for him. He could have bought them himself. He had a lot more money than I did, but that was not the issue in this case.
So many times in our lives we feel stuck. We can clearly sense that things are not right. The situation can be something as trivial as bad shoes, or it could be something more difficult to remedy, such as a relationship or career situation—but typically the lack of necessary action stems from the same basic issues.
The problems, you ask?
Of course some situations can be complex, and there can be myriad reasons which contribute to our “stuckedness” and various ruts in which we sometimes find ourselves, but from what I have seen this typically transpires as a combination of two basic problems.
First, we feel may feel powerless.
We need to realize that this is rarely true. Sometimes we get caught up feeling this way, which leads us to feel depressed or even in extreme cases self-pity, which can just contribute further to the feeling of being powerless. There is always something that we can do. Even if we can use some form of trial and error, assuming that we can pick ourselves up if we end up with a whole lot of “error,” we still learned what did not work.
Analysis paralysis is another form of feeling powerless. We just don’t know what to do. We think about it and think about it, and the spinning our tires overthinking how to get out of our rut just digs us in even deeper.
This can especially ring true for life’s bigger problems—such as with a career or relationship. We do not realize that every single thought, word and action is a matter of choice that we make. We have free will to do whatever that we want, but we allow things such as social constructs, expectations from our peers or family, and even expectations from ourselves (or lack thereof) to limit our capacity to use our own free will.
We do not realize, especially in relationships sometimes, how much our efforts can truly make a difference. Perhaps we feel that we don’t matter, or that we don’t know the right things to say or do, but if we have the right intentions—then that is the best that we can do.
Regarding career, we need to ask ourselves if what we are doing is sustainable. If our situation is toxic—if we cannot find a way to somehow find joy in our jobs, by perhaps moving to a different area or department within the company, then we need to take some first steps in instigating more significant change.
We have all heard that those first steps are always the most difficult, yet the most crucial toward creating positive shifts in our lives.
We may feel boxed in to a certain lifestyle, a mortgage payment, or even a type of car—but if we are miserable owning these things and living this way, then what is the purpose?
Life is about the way that we feel, not what we have. Sure what we have can make us feel good, but if this comes at a cost of working until we are near burn-out or not finding joy whatsoever in our lives, then we can take a look at this and perhaps make some decisions accordingly.
Again, it is all a matter of choice—not the expectations of others, and this is something of which we can benefit greatly from discerning.
The second issue which I feel contributes largely to our being stuck in these states of misery is a matter of comfort.
Sure, we feel uncomfortable when we are miserable, right? But there is comfort in that which is familiar, and sometimes it is more uncomfortable to break away from that than it is to just stay in that state of discomfort.
After all, the unfamiliar—the unknown, can be very scary. We can stare at something indefinitely and say to ourselves, “This doesn’t work for me. I am miserable. I feel stuck. I hate this. This doesn’t work for me.” But until we are ready to turn around to any degree and either walk away from what that is or do something about it, we can cling to it.
We cling to it because it is what we know.
My friend wore the painful shoes because he was used to wearing them. He did not buy a different pair, because this was the brand he always knew and this was the pair that he put on every day in his comfortable little routine—yet, he was so happy to have the new pair of shoes and commented on them for weeks afterward. Or at least that is what he told me—and I choose to believe that he meant this and was not just being gratuitous.
This may seem like over-simplification, but sometimes when we feel that we need to make some changes the wisdom we need in order to just take that first step forward can be the most simple of all.
We can find some stillness and really take a look at our lives.
Most of our most challenging limits are the limits that we set upon ourselves. If the uncomfortable familiar feels even a little bit safe, and the unfamiliar feels unsafe, we can choose to see that for what it is and with a cocktail of both intentionality and grit choose to venture out of our rut and into a more appropriate, fulfilling and even joyful existence.