Guest Writer for Wake up World
If you’re like most of us, you’ve had a period in your life where you just felt stuck. Have you ever wondered what you’re doing with your life? Do questions such as, “Where am I”? and “How did I get here?” strike a particular nerve with you? If the answer is yes, chances are, you’re stuck.
Now if you’re one of the lucky ones, who feel like everything in life is going exactly as you planned, then congrats to you, soak it up, but read on. The likelihood is that you, too, will at some point in your life feel stuck.
Here are 9 things to remember for those occasions when you’re feeling stuck. Save this list and refer back to it as needed, because it can be hard to see your way out when you’re right in the thick of it.
9 Things to Remember When You’re Feeling Stuck
1. Acknowledge and accept that you are feeling stuck.
This is the first and most important thing to remember. Like anything in life, the key is knowing where you are on your journey and then appreciating that reality.
We all know when we are stuck but sometimes it can be hard to accept. Being stuck is an inner feeling. It feels stagnant, demotivating, and even oppressive. Perhaps this is why it can be so hard to admit when we’re feeling stuck. Yes, it’s uncomfortable and can lead to feelings of sadness and depression… but, so what? Welcome to the feeling spectrum of life! Let yourself be in the ‘stuckness’ without resisting it. Shift your relationship by being aware of it without judgment. Once we can acknowledge that we are feeling stuck, it is then that we have the power to get ourselves unstuck.
2. Being stuck is a feeling that comes from within.
When we feel stuck, often our first instinct is to look outside of ourselves for somewhere (or someone) to blame. In reality, we ought to be looking at how we’re feeling, what we’re thinking, and how we plan to respond. Your life is your responsibility. While you can’t always change what’s outside of you, you can certainly change your perception of it. And the funny thing is, when you change the way you look at things, the things themselves begin to change.
3. Being stuck is often a symptom.
It is a symptom that your life is about to change, or that an internal change is needed. It could be a change of heart or even just a change of perspective. But the point in either case is that what you are doing is no longer working for you. Imagine yourself as a river, flowing into a great ocean. Often, a river grows narrower and appears to lack movement, just before it breaks through to the larger body of water. The same happens to us as we prepare for a breakthrough. Our flow must contract before it can expand. And the contraction is equally important to the expansion.
4. Being stuck serves a spiritual purpose.
Like all times of stillness, it is fertile ground for transformation to occur. Being stuck is an invitation to grow. We know that what worked before no longer works and it’s up to us to see where we can open up and let go. If the point of life is the same as the point of a story, then the point of life is character transformation.
5. Don’t waste your white space.
This is your opportunity to grow – a time for introspection and reflection. So don’t waste it! Just because you don’t think anything is going on in your life, doesn’t mean the Universe is not at work. Don’t underestimate the times in your life when it seems like you’re not moving forward. Think of the white space as your garden in preparation for your blossoming. What is occurring IN you is just as important, if not more important, than what is happening THROUGH you. Anyone can grow horizontally as they acquire more and more material things. But it takes courage to grow vertically, deeper and deeper into yourself. This kind of growth is far more rare. And it’s the only growth that really counts.
6. Life is not a story about you.
This is one of the hardest lessons for people to learn. But once you understand it, it can be incredibly freeing. This is not your story. Life is not about you. Rather, you are part of a much larger story, one in which you are not in control. You don’t know the theme, the climax, or resolution. You are one of many characters. So let go, and enjoy the ride. Believe that you are exactly where you’re supposed to be. Trust that life will reveal answers at the pace which life wishes to do so. While you feel like running, the Universe may be on a stroll.
7. Let go of others’ opinions.
Care about what others think and you will always be their prisoner. Your freedom lies not in the physical space around you, but in your mind. As long as you cling to other people’s definitions of truth, beauty, and happiness, you will always be chained. Thoughts that begin with, “I have to…” or “I really should…” reveal where we feel most obligated to direct our energy. Write your own definitions. Finish your own sentences. Find your own way. And most importantly, listen to your spirit. It knows what you need.
8. Tomorrow could be your last day.
So what are you waiting for? Often when we are stuck, we’re secretly waiting for something to happen. We wonder when the winds will change in our favor. We do this, instead of embracing the present as it is and acknowledging the change that needs to occur within us. What is keeping you from moving forward? If not fear and anxiety, then what? Insecurities? Comfort? Laziness? What is your excuse? We all have one; whether we are cognizant of it or not. And when we begin to make more excuses then we do steps, we fall into the familiar pit called “Stuck”.
9. You’re not as stuck you might think.
A lot of us come out of school wanting to change the world but then we get into the middle of it and find it’s harder than we thought. We can no longer see that shore in the distance. The land behind us stops getting smaller and the land in front of us isn’t getting any larger. We wonder if our ship is moving at all. But did you know that with each passing six months, nearly every cell in your body dies and another is formed in its place? The human body is constantly recreating itself. You are not who you were last August. You are already changing more than you know. Which means you’re not as stuck as you may think you are!
Updated October 2014
About the author:
Whitney Anthony is a writer from Raleigh, NC. In addition to writing, she loves singing and performing and is the author of the Vehicle of Wisdom blog. Although he has graduated from school, she considers herself a life-long student. She also believes that as we learn, we teach – at our best we are all teachers. To learn more about Whitney please visit her website www.vehicleofwisdom.wordpress.com and Facebook Page.