Dear HeikeCheryl, 42, Cape Town
I feel terribly stuck, drained and indecisive. Even though last year was rather challenging, it also brought a lot of clarity and I closed a lot of doors which were long overdue. I am normally fairly good with having some kind of direction but am now feeling totally overwhelmed and incapable of aligning myself with anything, which makes me even more agitated etc. I just can’t seem to be able to shake it and am going in circles. Any insight?
“I am feeling stuck” is one of the most used sentences I have heard over the last year (or pretty much since good old Rona made her appearance), so the good news is – you are not alone in feeling that way.
So what is this “stuck” that so many experience? It is actually a very normal space, a space in which ‘nothing much is happening’ or, at least, not at the pace or in the volume we would like it to. As you said, you don’t feel very decisive (but think you should be), you feel very drained (but think you should be fully energised and motivated), you feel stuck (but you think you should be moving), you don’t have direction and you are feeling overwhelmed (but you think you should feel relaxed, cool, calm collected and on top of things). You get stuck when you think you should be something you’re not. When you think life should be different from what it is. The mind wants to push, control and manipulate. It stems from insecurity. We want to be secure, be loved and be acknowledged, which we feel is jeopardised when we don’t have control.
Yet it is just a label we attach to a neutral space with different rhythm and the resistance to it makes it hard for us to digest. But ultimately, we are not stuck, life never stops, the flow is always there; it is technically not possible to be stuck. This space teaches us to trust and to be in the here and now and accept ourselves as we are. To re-align ourselves with just BE-ing and not doing, producing etc. Being ‘stuck’ is the space between the old and the new, this little space between the first and second gear which needs to be completely neutral, otherwise we would damage the gear box – THAT’S the space. Not in first gear any more but not yet in second, without that the shift can’t happen.
‘Stuck’ is simply perception and attachment and very often occurs in spaces when chapters ended and the new ones are not quite clear yet. We want to push something but don’t know what, which results in running in circles instead of surrendering to the flow and going with it.
The other area, though, is when we want a change but don’t feel courageous enough to get the ball rolling. We use the phrase “I am stuck” because we are still bartering with ourselves. We know exactly what we want (leave that job, walk out from that relationship etc) but the pain of staying is not as yet as great as the fear of leaving. There is still some kind of emotional/psychological payout we are getting from the situation. Change is overwhelming and we remain in the rut of sameness.
Irrespective of the reason behind feeling ‘stuck’, it is truly exhausting and can feel very frustrating and cause anxiety, depression, unhealthy coping mechanisms etc.
So what can we do?
- KNOW that you are NOT stuck, but explore why you are experiencing it this way. Are you afraid to make the change you badly want or are you between two ‘gears’ at the moment? This is an inside journey and the easiest way I can put it is: Find the feeling underneath. We only ever do things for one of two reasons, either to get a feeling or to avoid a feeling.
- Watch your inner self-talk that determines what label you are putting on your reality. For example: There is a slower pace in my life right now: A. I am doing something wrong, am not being productive, am falling behind in life etc. B. Let me breathe and take stock. Where am I at and how do I feel about it, how can I change it? Same reality – two totally different experiences.
- Change your routine, even if it is in the smallest way. Repeating the same thing and expecting a different outcome is the definition of insanity. Take a different route home, change your radio station, change meal times, re-arrange your space or eat spaghetti with chopsticks.
- Find what blows your hair back! When we feel stuck we are over-aware of everything we DON’T want. Time to get going with the flip side of that list. Write down how you DO want to feel, then find what feeds that. Happiness is a choice for what we focus on is what we feed on.
- Challenge yourself! Start a new hobby, communicate with differently minded people, dabble in some art and try out yoga… get those brain synapses fired again
- Don’t resist what you don’t want – invest in what you DO want.
- Cut yourself some slack. Be kind to yourself. We are all human beings on a big round planet trying to walk a path no one gave us a roadmap for.
- Always remember, you matter, you are worthy and you are not here to prove anything. You are a human BE-ing and not a human DO-ing,
- Get full of yourself. Explore what makes you happy, smiling, excited, energised and fill yourself. Be more concerned of what YOU think of YOU instead of what others think.
- Have some FUN – life has become way too serious!