The first step to getting unstuck is to realize that being stuck doesn’t really exist.
Being stuck is a feeling and a mental construct.
Usually the main reason that we begin to feel stuck is because we’ve forgotten that we have the ability to make decisions.
These can be small, everyday, routine decisions. Or they can be uncomfortable, life-altering decisions.
Either way, you’re probably not making any at all.
The “stuck” feeling is a great indicator that you’re ready for change, but resisting the decision to make some moves. Accept that becoming unstuck could mean making uncomfortable and difficult choices. Accept that it could keep you from wasting time.
Accept that it could be incredibly liberating.
BEING STUCK IN A RELATIONSHIP
Ever been in a relationship where you felt trapped? It’s the worst. Your mind telling you there’s no way out while you deal with the day-to-day unhappiness because getting out would be too hard. Too awkward. Too painful. Too inconvenient. Just getting by, moment to moment. Miserable.
How ridiculous does that sound? It makes me nauseous when I think about the time I wasted and the depression I allowed myself to exist in back in those days. In retrospect, I’m acutely aware of how low my self-confidence was. I didn’t particularly think I deserved better. I wasn’t valuing my time or my happiness and I was convincing myself that I had no choices in the name of avoidance. I’m grateful for those experiences because now I’m aware of how insane that mentality is.
Do you know how to get out of an unsalvageable relationship?
You end it.
It doesn’t need to end negatively or with no discussion between the two of you as to why it’s happening. It could be complicated. But, it needs to end.
You DECIDE that getting out of it is what is going to happen. Then, you figure out what needs to happen to support that change. Do you need a new place to live? Find one. Even a temporary one, if that’s how it needs to be. Is it a money issue? Realize that money will be tight for awhile and alter your lifestyle accordingly. Find ways to increase your income. Is it going to be awkward and make you feel like shit for a little while? Probably. Just know that it’s normal and go through it.
When relationships end, there’s usually a need to go through some level of emotional detox. Never underestimate the power of emotional coping skills. They allow you to experience the feelings without fully tearing yourself down. There can be hurt, anger, sadness, and regret, all before finally reaching a phase of reflection where you’re able to learn from it all. But, the ability to let yourself go through and deal with emotions makes you incredibly strong. You can cause a lot of damage to your life simply by being unwilling to endure those discomforts.
If you’re “stuck” in a doomed relationship, do what it takes to get out and move forward. It’s the best thing for both of you.
(Helpful tip: If your true goal is to move on in the least complicated and most efficient way, a break up needs to be a clean break. Don’t play the “let’s be friends” game right off the bat. If possible, stop all interaction and let your system cleanse. You can’t move on when they’re a fixture in your everyday life. If they weren’t a great person in general, cut ’em out for good.)
BEING STUCK IN YOUR JOB
Let’s exercise our patience skills, because this one can take some time. By all means, if you hate your job and you’ve got the cash to quit right now without a backup plan, do it. What are you even reading this section for?
But for the rest of us…
Prepare for the change. Fortunately, we live in a world where knowledge is constantly at our fingertips. Google can answer everything and you can learn something about almost anything from YouTube.
What do you want to do? Do you have those skills? Yes? Great. No? Start developing them.
Want to work for yourself/start a business? Read books about how to start a business. Learn all you can about how that particular business works. Make yourself an expert on as much information as you can so that you can start putting it into practice and take the necessary steps to get it going.
Are you unhappy with your job and not applying for other jobs?
Are you applying for jobs and not getting them?
Keep trying. Research what you can do to make yourself a better candidate. Look up interviewing tips. Have someone knowledgable take a look at your resume.
Not sure what you want to do? Learn more about yourself. Explore new hobbies. Think hard about your skill set, both natural and learned. Now, take note of what you’re passionate about. Can you combine those things? Spend time with these thoughts and see what you come up with. Don’t pressure yourself and enjoy figuring it out.
You don’t have to do the job you’re doing right now. Take the steps to find another one OR figure out what it’s going to take to work for yourself.
BEING CREATIVELY STUCK
This is a different kind of “stuck”. When the creative well seems like it’s drying up, the first thing to assess is how judgmental you’re being towards yourself. Odds are the answer is “extremely”. Cut that out first. Creativity hates judgment during its process. Then, try out one or more of these ways to free yourself up to create:
- Free-write. Write quickly for 10 minutes straight without stopping. Your conscious mind can’t keep up with organized thought at a constant speed, so your subconscious mind is forced to take over. See what comes up.
- Take a long walk. Notice everything along the way.
- Read a book about a new topic or just anything that motivates you.
- Go someplace you’ve never been before, even if it’s just in your own city.
- Listen to music that you love with headphones on. Listen with your full attention.
- Have a solo dance party. Dance like no ones watching…because no one is.
- Laugh. Creating is fun, remember? You’re putting something new out into the world. The more you create, the more chance there is to create something amazing.
When you feel stuck:
- Resist the urge to beat yourself up about it. Feeling stuck happens.
- Consciously realize what options you have and what decisions you’re avoiding.
- Acknowledge that you’re creating the roadblock in your mind.
- Start somewhere.
- Keep trying even if you don’t get immediate results.
Do something or you’ll allow yourself to be stuck.
And why would you do that?
P.S. This post is a direct result of me being frustrated with myself for feeling like I just couldn’t get words on a page this week. I made myself free-write about feeling stuck and this 1199 word post now exists. Whatever works, right?