When you face a state of ‘stuck-ness’ that causes you to suffer a whole lot.
If you prefer to listen, you will find the podcast version of this posting here.
When you feel stuck with a certain predicament in your life, your thoughts become desperate. It’s when you have been unhappy for a very long time and none of your efforts seem to work. The unfortunate flip side of unhappiness is often ineffective action, as when you’re upset your motivations are driven by pain. In order to be effective, your actions should be motivated by something you love or want. It is then that you can see your path clearly and your intentions become precise. I know that when it comes to stuckness, time and energy can be a huge factor when it comes to making space to figure out what it is you want. It’s very hard to do anything but cope when you are suffering, so what I will offer you is a place to start.
You have two very powerful tools to change your circumstance. They are all you need to get anywhere you want. You control your focus and energy. They are the most valuable things you have. Do not waste them on negativity of any kind, like worry and what you hate. If it helps, think of your energy and focus like they are made of money. When you focus on negative things, imagine you are burning dollar bills. They are vital and valuable to your happiness and should not be wasted on anything that doesn’t serve your path. Even if it’s a habit you’ve had all your life, you can decide you are not going to complain about what’s bad in your life or worry about what is out of your control. A good way to un-train the habit is every time you begin to get stuck on something negative, shift your thoughts to what you do have that is of value to cancel the original negative thought out. Almost like you’re hitting a reset button on each negative thought.
If you’re in a bad place in your life and your unhappiness is exacerbated by the panic you feel around not knowing what to do, firstly, I feel for you! That’s a tough place to be in and you are conquering so much already – just by managing all this pain for so long. It takes an extreme amount of sheer will and tolerance so no wonder you feel hopeless and daunted by the future. I know how that feels and how painful it is to remain there, especially when you’ve been trying to move out of that place for so long to no avail. To you I will offer a solution that might cause you to roll your eyes. I believe that when you are unable to make any concrete progress, it is likely due to the fact that you don’t know what you love. That part of you has been obscured by the wear and tear of your everyday drudgery. I know it sounds crazy, but once you start to work toward something you actually like and care about, the pieces fall into place. Things will open up for you and the path becomes clear. Right now you need to figure out what it is that lights you up. What are you good at, what do you care about, what was a time in your life you felt awesome?
1. Write about what lights you up.
Start to write a list of these things for one month. Anything is valid, even tiny things that might sound trivial, like “going to fancy parties and events.” You are a very layered person so don’t be surprised if there are items on your list that surprise even you. Once you have a good sense of what inspires you, highlight the top five. Keep these things in the top of your mind and look for anywhere they pop up. Grab each and every tiny opportunity that offers the most minimal part to one of these things. Which leads me to Part 2. Here are some tools to help you dedicate more focus and energy to what is important to you (even if you’re still dedicating it to figuring yourself out).
2. Trim the fat of your attention.
What can you remove from your mental attention plate? Trim it down to the bare minimum. Mental energy spent on things like worry, but also any unnecessary busy work. All the “acting” you might normally do if you get worried people will think you’re not doing a good enough job. Any conversations that drain you or force you to take on other people’s stress. Trim away everything that is not serving you by giving you inspiration, energy and benefitting your path. If it is serving you just by making you happy, great. But be honest with yourself and think long and hard about what you have time for in your life.
3. Act as the person you aspire to be, at all times.
Do not give attention to what you choose to rise above and grow out of, like the trivial issues that are beneath the person you want to be. Begin to train yourself out of talking about them, thinking about them, or giving them any of your time. It’s wasted energy and subconsciously it informs you about how to feel about yourself. Act as a person who knows better than to buy into drama and floats above it all. If someone is rude or dismissive, who cares? Not you. You’re occupied by bigger and more important things, like changing your life. If you are struggling to decide on anything you want to do because you feel like it’s too late or impossible for you to start over in life, that is likely because of your compromised emotional state. When you’re full of energy and happy you feel like you can do it all, so acknowledge that emotions are a factor. The other likely reason you are feeling daunted by this idea is a lack of self-love or confidence. Know that confidence is something maintained by proving your abilities to yourself, so this is surely reinforced by feeling stagnant and existing in unsupportive surroundings. It’s a cycle that feeds itself, which is why it’s so important to maintain a sharp focus on the future and what you want. When you are angry for five minutes, you suppress your immune system for six hours, so imagine what that does to your ability to be productive. I am not saying this is easy to deal with; I know it is extremely frustrating. I believe it’s helpful to know that when you get yourself upset you are just working against yourself. Allowing yourself to sit in the pain is keeping you stuck. Here are a few more exercises that may help.
4. Calm your mind and body with positive energy.
Create a calm frequency in your body by focusing on the area around your heart. Sit in a quiet place and close your eyes. Breathe slow and deep, deliberate breaths, focus on your heart center and imagine it filling with bright white light. Now picture something that makes you very happy, something you can relive emotionally. Do this for two minutes. If you are having a hard time focusing, place your hand over your heart.
5. Give your inner voice of negativity a face and a voice.
This is one from a gal named Andrea Owen that I think is super awesome. Whenever you hear that inner voice of negativity come up and tell you that you can’t do something, give it a name and visual picture in your mind. Imagine what it looks like and how its voice sounds. Once you have that image down, tell it to leave you alone for the day. I tell mine very aggressively to ‘get lost,’ though you can tell yours to do anything like get coffee or read a book while you work.
6. Schedule Mini-Getaways
It really helps to break up the day so try to set up mini-getaways on your schedule. Block out several 5-15 minute time slots for mental refreshment breaks from your drudgery. This is a time you spend reminding yourself of what you want and refreshing your spirit, almost like hitting a mini reset button. Schedule them before you even begin the day and honor them regardless of what’s going on. Whether it’s taking a walk with a podcast or sitting on a bench in the sun and writing to yourself; anything to reorient yourself to your truth, minus the additional noise and disruption. Don’t forget to set an alarm!
I hope this has helped you in some small way. Through all of this, remember that at the end of your life, none of this matters. It all means nothing. What you will remember and care about is your family and your loved ones, what you overcame in your life, and what you ventured to do. You will remember what you loved. So go easy on yourself and let yourself be happy with wherever you are in your process, right now. Because whether or not you can see it, that is something wonderful. I send you my love and vibes of positivity, and don’t forget to smile.
Featured image via Flickr