What To Do When You Feel Stuck
It happens to the best of us: That moment when we feel like we’ve done everything we possibly can, but we’re just not moving. We’re sitting in the traffic jam of life and it’s bumper-to-bumper traffic, with no end in sight. The frustration is real. The exasperation. The exhaustion, and the pain and the fear. What’s next? How do we move forward? And are we going to be stuck forever? Maybe… But more than likely, the answer is no. Very rarely do these moments last forever, even if they feel like it in the moment.
So how do you forge ahead in the midst of a season of stuck? What can you really do? I’ve got a few ideas for you…
Acknowledge your pain.
The quickest way to stay stuck is to deny the existence of the junk in your life. It’s never fun to think about your pain, but if all you’re trying to do is move away from it, it will keep chasing you. You have to finally decide to stand still, sink into it, and verbally address the discomfort you’re experiencing. Only then can you start to move forward. Want to stay where you are? Keep running from the crap. It’ll stick with you. Want to get ahead? Deal with it. Feel it. Understand it.
Find your people.
You cannot journey through life alone, but it’s especially important you aren’t by yourself when life sucks the most. Sharing your pain with others requires a great deal of vulnerability. That can be hard. Not everyone will be able to take that on and support you the way you need to be supported — those aren’t your people. Do the work of finding the people who are for you. All of you. And hold on to them tightly. Let them be your compass in the moments you feel the most stuck. Don’t be afraid to need people. That’s part of what makes you human.
Take small steps.
For me, the quickest way to increase my feeling of being stuck is to zoom out too far and look at the whole of the situation. It’s easy to be discouraged when you only look at the big picture! It’s a lot simpler to figure out what to do when you take it in small chunks. So, start by taking baby steps. Figure out the next right thing, and do that today. Then do something else tomorrow. Keep going. Don’t stop. But take it slow if you need to. One foot in front of the other.
Give yourself grace.
The process of getting unstuck is likely going to take much longer than you would like. It’s going to be filled with disappointments and challenges along the way. That’s okay! You have to remember you’re not a super-human. You can only do so much. Give yourself plenty of grace when you fall down, so you have enough energy to stand up again when the time comes. The harder you are on yourself, the longer the process will feel. Understand that you are on a journey, and anyplace worth going takes time. Trust yourself, friend. You’ve got everything you need to keep going.
David Clark lives in Bloomington, Indiana where he works as in advertising. He is passionate about creativity, social media, running, and Chipotle.