Stuck, A Definition
“Stuck” is a broad term, I know, so when you’re reading this, please don’t limit yourself to one particular area of your life. For this specific post, the idea of being “stuck” could be on a project your working on, within a relationship, at work, or whatever feels relevant to you. Keep that in mind as you’re reading along.
With that said, getting stuck is something we all experience. Today I want to explore some themes around getting stuck, precisely how do we know when/if we’re stuck, why do we get stuck and then I’d like to share some techniques we can incorporate to get out a rut.
To begin my journey with the stuck theme, I reached out to my newsletter subscribers for help. I asked them how do you know when you’re stuck?
Check out what they said below!
What Do You Mean, Stuck?
J.T said, “When I am stuck I am angry, anxious, uncomfortable, antsy, jealous, mean, blaming……just basically unpleasant.”
M.D mentioned, “I know I ‘get stuck’ when I am feeling down, start getting angry or impatient.”
Another good friend and fellow writer, Edie Moser shared this:
“When I feel stuck personally, it usually has to do with feeling inauthentic, such as when I am not walking the talk. My work is multi-faceted as a therapist, writer, speaker, and minister. I feel hypocritical when I tell folks one thing and then do another.”
When I read over the responses, I just kept saying, “Yes!” I began to notice words popping up frequently. Words like ‘anxious,’ ‘impatient,’ and ‘inauthentic’ kept showing up, and these are all words that describe exactly how I feel when I’m stuck too.
So Why Do We Get Stuck?
I’m not an expert in psychology, but I am a practicing Buddhist, so that’s pretty close. Clearly, I’m joking! But all kidding aside my Buddhist practice has allowed me to realize the self we usually perceive doesn’t exist the way we think it does.
This tenet of Buddhism, clinging to a self, had we wondering when we feel “stuck” is it a defense mechanism of ego? I can say in my experience of feeling stuck that those feelings of anxiety, being impatient, and even inauthentic comes from a place of protection.
The sense of self that I cling to is being “attacked” in some way. Whether it’s not getting that promotion at work, maybe a relationship falls away, or perhaps I feel stuck on a project I’m working on, either way, my identity is being challenged. When that sense of self is challenged, I dig deep planting my feet ready to fight. This battle serves no purpose other than to cause me harm.
How Do We Get Out Unharmed?
So, how do we get through this battle without any injuries? What do we have available to help us navigate this obstacle? Again Edie Moser:
“To break that stuck place, I take my own inventory, and if I am not in integrity (if my insides don’t match my outsides), then I attempt to change what I am doing. If I have persistent thoughts that tell me I am too much or not enough (the kids call it being ‘extra’) I have a conversation with the thoughts and ask what they want me to know. Sometimes they tell me to slow down and just BE rather than the frenetic activity I am accustomed to.”
The idea of taking a self-based inventory is something I love. Like Edie mentioned, pay deep attention to your inside experience and see if you can connect it to what’s happening around you. If something doesn’t jive, maybe it’s time to take a few steps back and re-examine our process.
10 Ways to Get Out of a Rut
Without any further ado, here are ten things we can do to help us get out of a rut!
- Go for a long walk or hike in nature or around the city block
- Take a warm bath or hot shower
- Try some yoga or another form of exercise
- Help someone in need
- Consider a practice like EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique), referred to as tapping
- Reach out to family and friends and ask for their support
- Take a mental inventory and make changes as you see fit
- Try meditation
- Don’t give up!
What About You?
First, I have to give a big shout out to Edie Moser and the many others who contributed ideas for this post. You can check out Edie’s website here.
Second, I’d love to hear from you. What tips or suggestions do you have to share? When you’re feeling stuck, what helps you get out of the rut? Leave a comment below!