Paralysis. Indecisiveness. Confusion. Cloudiness.
At some point we all experience feeling stuck.
To my dismay, I'm not immune. There are times (right now, for instance) when I feel stuck. When I do I need compassion, love and encouragement. Only I can free myself from feeling stuck and I've learned there's a few things I need to hear before I do.
Here's five things I need to hear when I feel hopelessly stuck:
1. Allow yourself to feel what you're feeling.
Feeling stuck is painful. Excruciating. Annoying. The metaphysical equivalent of having my feet wedged in concrete blocks. I'm frozen. Panicked. I feel like I'm drowning. Exasperated. Alone. Lost. Pushing the feelings away doesn't help; it makes it worse.
This is part of my journey. A consequence of waking up. Following the completion of a phase. I know that doesn't make it suck any less. Sometimes life just sucks!
Be at one with the suck.
Write down the feelings, physical sensations, smells, tastes, images that describe them. Allow the experience of being human. It's mine. Feels alive, doesn't it? Pain is a sign I'm living, breathing, growing. Embrace it! Allow the rawness, the mess.
Freedom comes when I accept and allow what is; and right now I'm feeling stuck.
2. You are not a failure.
I feel like I'm not strong enough, brave enough, daring, smart or committed enough to move myself forward. I feel like I'm letting myself down. I'm telling myself I should be able to do better than this. I feel like I'm failing at life. Worse, moving backwards.
I'm beating myself up, declaring myself a failure. A coward. A loser. I'm not nice to myself here.
I know it's frustrating when all I see is the gap between where I am and where I want to be. None of this makes me a failure though. Or deserving of disappointed sighs and head shakes. Besides, look how fare I've come.
Failure is an outdated concept.
People say not taking a chance on our dreams is failure, not trying is failure. I disagree. We're all doing the best we can in each moment. Failure is a made up concept that instills fear, comparison and judgment. Notice how limiting it is?
Accept it -- I'm doing the best I can.
Hear that inside voice whisper "No, I'm not. I could be doing more?" Don't believe it. I'm doing my best. Today. Every day. Every hour. Every minute.
3. I love you even when you're stuck.
I may not be exactly where I want to be yet, but where I am is teaching me an important lesson: how to love myself unconditionally.
It's easy to love myself when I'm winning at life. The challenge is loving myself when I'm not.
Life is one epic adventure. Heroes and heroines go through immense highs and lows. They get lost. They get found. I'm no different from anyone else. Anyone who's stuck needs to know it's possible to love ourselves even when we're stuck. So choose love.
I'm good enough, worthy enough, lovable enough no matter where I am or how I feel. I need love, kindness, acceptance and space most of all in my darkest moments. I am deserving of these things, at all times.
Feeling stuck isn't easy. Withholding self-love doesn't help me or motivate me to move forward. Responding with love and compassion does.
Love nourishes and nurtures my soul. Love is the fuel that keeps me going.
4. Share what you're experiencing.
Sharing my experience of stuckness feels like admitting I'm no better than anyone else, and I'm not. It feels like defeat, weakness. Asking for support makes me feel naked, exposed and vulnerable. It feels dangerous.
Admitting where I am and asking for support from the people in my life is a powerful, courageous act of love that can strengthen my relationships.
Fear wants me to disengage. To hide. What I want is to feel loved, held and encouraged by my friends, family and partner. What I want is to feel less alone. I can.
Reach out. Tell my story. Show up messy. Share the load; it's not for me to carry alone.
5. Lean into trust.
I'm not a patient person. My dad said at my wedding my life motto is: Must happen now.
I'm aware that my need to have everything happen immediately is, at least in part, what makes feeling stuck so unbearable. It's hard to admit, but my impatience points to a lack of trust.
I'm stuck here because I'm shedding a layer; becoming more myself. Stuckness is an illusion. Change is already happening. I just can't see it yet. I'm right where I need to be. Timing is everything. Trust the process.
I make the right decisions for me, I know what I need. I share with the right people. I need to be here. I'll find my way out of the darkness and into the light. I've done it before. I can do it again. A way out will become clear when I let go of the need to control everything. Trust myself.
Life has my back. Find the place in my heart, the part of me that knows what it is to trust freely. Connect with that source of trust, embody it, meditate on it and I'll know. Trust the Universe.
All I need is trust.