ILLUMINATION
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ILLUMINATION

How Feeling Stuck Can Be a Good Thing and the Steps to Move You Forward

It seems counterintuitive, but the opportunity for change is waiting

Photo by Kristopher Roller on Unsplash

Everyone has experienced the overwhelm that comes with feeling stuck. It’s as if you’ve hit a wall and there’s no way out. A sense of being trapped and unable to see beyond the immediate discomfort — not knowing if you can or even should move forward.

Oddly enough, this feeling can be a fantastic sign you want more from your life and you’re ready for a change. It tells you two helpful things.

  1. You’re no longer satisfied with where you are in life.
  2. Something is new and you’re afraid to take a step towards it.

I know, I sound somewhat off the charts here. Seeing these as positives feels very backward. I get it. Even as I’m typing this, I’m wondering if you’re willing to continue reading.

If you do decide to stick around, I’ve taken these two points and broken them down. I offer a positive perspective for each and some points on how you can move forward.

1 — You’re no longer satisfied with where you are in life

Once you’ve reached a point in your life when you start asking if this is it, you will feel stuck. You’ll probably question how you got to that point in the first place.

Your head might spin and you’re likely to catch a case of comparisonitis — when you compare your accomplishments to someone else’s with a negative emphasis on yours.

When you’re no longer happy with your position in life, job, relationship or otherwise, this is a sign you want more. You’re not fulfilled.

See this as a good thing!

It’s a chance for you to reassess what’s important and how you want to move forward.

Often we confine ourselves to what we think others want from us — society, family, friends, employer. When you feel stuck there’s an opportunity for you to check in and see what you want for yourself.

Stop neglecting your needs and dreams. Start digging deeper.

  • Where does the biggest stuck feeling come from?
  • Have you been questioning a specific area for a long time or is it new?
  • Turn inwards to yourself, rather than looking to others for answers.
  • Realize where you are is where you need to be. No one else’s situation matters more than yours, at this moment.
  • Journal about your (new) feelings to see if there’s more there.
  • Do an inventory of your current goals, priorities, hopes, and desires. Are you working to achieve these or are they just sitting there? Maybe write your goals down for the first time.

Noting down what comes up for you at each point is a great way to see where you’re stuck. It can be extremely helpful in getting clarity in order to move forward.

2 — Something is new and you’re afraid to take a step towards it

“Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.” — Neale Donald Walsch

I’m sure you’re thinking “Great, now I have a somewhat clearer picture as to the area in my life where I feel stuck. But, now I also feel stuck because anything other than this is scary too.”

Absolutely! I’m right there with you.

Outside of our comfort zone — even if our comfort zone is the current point of our unhappiness/stuck feeling — is scary. It’s new. It’s the unknown.

What’s even worse about this dark and fearful place is what we tell ourselves that makes it so dark and fearful. We get so wrapped up in the scenarios we create in our head about what could happen that we’re too afraid to move forward.

I’ll give you an example from my life.

This right here. Writing and sharing it publicly. It took me almost 3 years before I shared my first article. Three years! And for what? I could have had a successful online writing career by now.

I would tell myself how much people would hate my writing. I’d think about my failure to be “the expert” in a particular field.

My inner critic — the negative voice in my head — got the best of me. And this is why we stay so securely, yet stuck, in our comfort zones. We allow the fearful story in our head to take over. We live into it.

“We become the stories we tell ourselves.”
- Michael Cunningham

Honestly, I’m ok with where I am. I’ve worked through my stuff and accepted it. Also, I’m finally doing it. To tell you the truth, it’s not as scary as I thought it would be.

Becoming aware of your negative story is your awesome bag of tricks! Once you know it’s there, you know it’s not real — it’s just in your head.

You can work through it.

It starts by making a plan and working towards the goal(s) you set in the previous section. The key to moving past the fear is taking baby steps forward.

  • Look at where you are now and where you want to be. Knowing this gap will help you set up a plan.
  • Break your goal down into smaller achievable goals. This will make it less overwhelming. This rings true for ending relationships as well — prepare, be intentional, be honest and do it in person.
  • Think of each small goal like a piece of a puzzle. You need each piece to complete the puzzle.
  • Take a look at your biggest fear and ask why it’s there. What’s the worst that can happen?
  • Question if the worst-case scenario will actually happen or if it’s all in your head. The likely answer is, you got it: It’s all in your head.
  • Get to know the negative voice in your head. I wrote an article about how I’ve befriended my inner voice if you’re interested. This has helped me get to where I am today — writing publicly.

Scary stories are our mind’s way of saying something is new — out of our comfort zone. Getting used to chunking tasks down and understanding where your fear comes from will help you reduce the overwhelm in order to move forward.

Feeling stuck happens when we’re not satisfied with where we are in our life and when taking on something new. It sounds counterintuitive, but this is great news! It gives you a chance to check in with yourself, set goals and make a plan to take small steps forward. You have a chance to investigate the negative stories in your head and how these are kept in your comfort zone.

Life outside of what we know can feel scary, but with each baby step forward things get easier. This is what I experienced as an aspiring writer — once I learned to work with my inner critic. If you want to take advantage of feeling stuck, see it as a positive sign that you’re ready for change.

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Kylie van Gelder

Kylie van Gelder

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Certified Life Coach | MSc Psychology | Mom of 2 miracles❤️ | Work in progress | Writing about self-improvement & life | www.kylievangelder.com