I’ve been wanting to write this post for awhile now, but I wanted to be able to speak my truth in it and not have to skirt around it, so I’ve been waiting until the moment was right to share, and I’m so happy it finally is time. This post fits perfectly with the idea of finding the light in everything, which is a big focus of mine for 2017, so it couldn’t be coming at a better time. Last week I had my last day at a job that had been draining my energy for months and making it hard for me to keep my happiness. I am so incredibly excited to have a couple weeks to unwind before I start fresh with a new company in February, but this post is about the past six months. Since around the time of our wedding my job has been a bit of a struggle for me on a lot of levels, I knew it wasn’t the right fit but it took awhile to come to terms with that and then finally start looking for something else and eventually find that new thing as well. During that time I learned so much about finding happiness and joy even when you feel stuck in a less than optimal situation, and I wanted to pass that along today.
Sometimes in life we find ourselves in situations that feel constricting, that make us feel stuck, that steal our happiness and joy, that drain our energy, and that we feel we have no way out of. I think we have all heard before that we are the only one with the power to decide if we are going to be happy or not, but some situations just make that so much more difficult than others. This post is to help you through those times where it feels like simply choosing joy will never be enough to get you through, for those times when you feel like the world is against you and everything is an uphill battle.
You are never truly stuck
I know that it feels like you are stuck right now, but being stuck is just a feeling. Unless you are literally standing in a small locked box, you are not stuck, you have a way out of this situation. That being said you might feel stuck right now, because although you technically could quit the job, your family depends on you financially, or you aren’t really stuck because you could cancel the plans, but the consequences of doing so are more than you want to take on right now. It is important to peel back those layers and figure out exactly why you are feeling stuck, and remember it is a feeling not an actual state. Once you have figured out what is making you feel this way you have so much more power to get yourself unstuck. If it is finances that are making you feel stuck, do you have another short term option to get you unstuck like a loan or taking on a side job? We can’t fix the problem until we have uncovered what it actually is, and even if there is no good short term solution, just knowing what is actually making you feel stuck can be really powerful.
Find what you can control
I mentioned in the last section about the possibility of being able to find another solution to the problem that is making you feel stuck, but even when that isn’t possible there is something that you have control over. For example while my job was getting me down and I felt stuck because I didn’t want to quit without a new job for financial reasons, I realized that I did have control over the food that I put in my body, the amount of sleep I got, the amount of exercise I did, and the amount of extracurricular things I took on. Which meant that although I often left work feeling drained and stressed, I was able to control a lot of other factors to my happiness and anxiety levels and relying more heavily on those threads allowed me some ease to some of the feeling of being stuck. Can you delegate something? Can you ask for help? Can you control some other seemingly unrelated factor that will have an impact on this situation?
Look for the little joys
When you feel like you are all out of other possibilities, you have figured out the underlying cause and you have pulled all the little strings you can and have done everything in your power, but right now you are just stuck, look for the little joys. Mindfulness and meditation are powerful little tools to find joy even in situations that you don’t think have any present. Sometimes it is a matter of just taking a few minutes to go for a walk and breath in some fresh air and focus all your energy on seeing the beauty in the world around you. Work really getting you down, how about that paycheck that allowed you to feed your family this week, focus on that instead. Family stressing you out, how about that time your mom said the right thing at the right moment and helped you feel loved and secure. Focus on the good things, because if you look hard enough they are all around, and although a lot may feel like it is going wrong, focusing on what is going right can lift your mood and put you in a place to accept more good.
Keep the big picture in mind
Sometimes it is just important to keep the big picture in mind. Remember in the first section where we figured out the underlying cause of our feeling stuck? In a lot of cases you can’t do anything about that right now, besides identifying it, but that can be truly powerful in and of itself. Just knowing that the reason you are feeling stuck right now is X allows you to keep the big picture in mind. Maybe your living situation isn’t ideal, but if you are saving up for a big move in a year, keeping this in mind when you start to feel extra stuck will put things into perspective and ease some of the pain of the journey.
Have you felt stuck in your life before? What helped you get through that time and feel less stuck?