In my practice as a life coach and spiritual guide I have witnessed in my clients (and within myself) areas of “stuckness.” You know what I am talking about – that bad habit you just can’t seem to kick, that negative thought pattern that continues to suck you into drama, or that urge to eat cake when you are ‘trying’ to go on a diet.
One pattern I have seen emerge is when your “stuck” stuff comes up, is wanting to develop a plan of attack. I have had clients that wanted to cut certain food groups out of their diet so that they could just finally lose the weight. I have had people want to do some serious delving into their childhoods in order to figure out what was causing them to repeat a painful behavior over and over.
In short, the natural tendency seems to be that you want to white knuckle your way through stuckness.
Now I will add, it pushing does sometimes work in the short term, but long term this technique of muscling your way through your “stuff” tends to backfire. The reason is because at your core, you need to feel safe in order to grow. When you perceive an attack of any kind, you hunker down, become stubborn and dig in your proverbial heels in order to protect and defend the status quo. This is human nature and is actually wired into your biology.
Pushing = resistance. Resistance = Stagnation
Pushing = Stagnation
So what do you do when you feel stagnant in an area of your life? Instead of tying yourself all up in knots, try these 5 techniques:
1. Start with compassion: Send yourself love and compassion in the situation. When we boil everything down, there are really only two emotional states that you can exist in. Love, which also looks like joy, compassion and fun, or fear, which also looks like greed, anger, resistance. When you are in a state of love you are able to grow. When you are in a state of fear you literally shut down growth and go into self defense. When you are consciously telling yourself that you have to suffer through something unpleasant (the pushing strategy) to get rid of something that you are currently enjoying on some level (know that everything we do as humans has a positive feedback loop on some level, or we would not keep doing that thing), you will move directly into fear, and this will stop you before you even start. Stop. Sit. Breath. Place your hands over your heart and send yourself compassion.
2. Accept that this is the reality of the situation: Another form of resistance is refusing to fully accept the situation as it is. Now this does not mean that you have to release into it so much that you are “giving up and giving in,” but you do have to calmly, and with compassion, accept that you are where you are. Just looking at it and acknowledging that it is what it is, is a very powerful transformation tool. You can only change what You fully acknowledge.
3. Create space around the issue: Now that you have sent yourself some compassion, and have looked at the situation as it stands, you can start to loosen your grip on what you are making it mean. Most of the time you are telling yourself a story about your situation that is painful. “I can’t lose weight, I am so lazy and have no will power” “I can’t get over my ex, and that makes me emotionally weak.” Allow yourself to have these thoughts, and then create some space between yourself and them. Observe them, and then allow yourself to realize that those thoughts are merely that, thoughts. They do not define you.
4. Halt making yourself wrong: Every experience teaches you something you need to learn. You being stuck does not make you wrong, bad, shameful, incapable or any other negative thing you could sling at yourself. You are learning through this experience what you need to know. You will stop being stuck when you have gathered the info you need for your next phase of life.
5. Allow the solution to flow to you, by being in a state of love: Now that you have given yourself love, time and space, you are going to be SO much more open to receiving guidance from without and within with regards to what steps are right for you to take at this time. Journal. Go for walks. Spend time doing things you love. As you exist in this state of love, you will find that your stuckness becomes less personal, and then you can start to move towards healing.
What do you do when you are stuck?