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Feeling stuck? - by TimC

Do you feel stuck? In a relationship, in a career position, in a business, in a location, in a way of life, in a life drama or in an emotional outlook?

Millions of people live with the daily frustration, fear, anxiety and or discouragement of not knowing how to get themselves unstuck from any of the above issues or others too numerous
to mention.

They believe there is no way out of their current situation or set of circumstances.  They see few if any viable realistic or options or choices to change whatever is their present way of life or life direction..

I too have felt the agony of this paralyzing victim-hood.  I have known the desperation and have felt the pain of not knowing what to do next to change this endless spiral of going nowhere.  I was locked on a path towards more of the same.  I have been discouraged and filled with procrastination avoiding doing something, anything to move on, leaving the old or negative relationship, situation, circumstance or sense of uncertainty  behind me.

Feeling stuck, or without hope for a better way of life or new more positive personal environment, is a malady that is no respecter of age, sex, race, economic status or position.

In my travels through life for over fifty years I have met thousands of people in all walks of life who feel this sense of uneasiness or desperation.  Many have given up and settled for the their circumstances.  They have lost their desire to try and change whatever is contributing to their current life drama.

In this two part article (part two will continue in the October issue of Life Balance) I will discuss the following topics; (By the way if you are a subscriber and can't wait for the October issue and the continuation of this article, please give me a call, I will be happy to mail you the conclusion)

What does feeling stuck look like?
What does feeling stuck mean?
What contributes to feelings of stuckness? (don't try to find stuckness in the dictionary)
Where are people stuck in life?
Why do people feel they are stuck?
What can be done to shed ourselves of this destructive attitude or philosophy?
How can we insure that we will never again become a victim of this malady?

Tall order,  but if you will bear with me,  when we are finished you will have a better understanding of why you allow yourself the continuation of the status quo and how to adjust your thinking, actions and behavior to set yourself free either emotionally or physically.

What does feeling stuck look like?

How do you know if you are experiencing stuckness in life?

There are several obvious and some more subtle symptoms.  Let's start with the obvious ones.

If you are:
One, feeling frustration or anxiety regarding a particular area of your life,  Two sensing a need for change, Three, feeling that there must be something better out there in the world for you, Four, feeling increased stress, Five, spending a great deal of time thinking or day dreaming about a different future, Six, wishing that your life in some way was different,  Seven, disappointed a great deal in life by people, events or circumstances, Eight, spending more time in the future and the past than in the present, Nine,  feeling angry or upset about your present circumstances or situation,  Ten,  not sure about what to do to change your  current life drama, and Eleven, finding an increasing amount of variance between your expectations and your reality,  then you may be a experiencing what I call, are you ready for this, The Stuck Syndrome.  I don't mean to make light of this life outlook. However, when we lose our sense of humor about the game of life we are doomed to live in a prison of our own making.

Now let's look at the more subtle symptoms.  They can be but are not limited to the following:

If you are,
One, spending more and more time in an unconscious state (what I refer to as auto-pilot) Two,
becoming increasingly critical of yourself or the people in your life, Three, are putting more emotional distance between yourself and your reality, Four, burying yourself in some aspect of life, like work, friends, special interests or talents, family, shopping, substance abuse such as food, drugs and alcohol etc., Five,  feeling a sense of purposelessness or lack of focus and meaning in your life, Six, feeling empty or used up, and Seven,  experiencing increased self-doubt or decreased self-confidence or self-esteem.

A person who is stuck in one area of their life will often experience a spill-over effect into other areas of their life as well.

Well how did you do?  Are you stuck in some way of life i.e.: a life drama, relationship, career, situation or some other less obvious way?  My guess is that if most of us are completely honest, we are all feeling stuck in some way even if in some very minor way.

What does feeling stuck mean?  That's a simple one as I see it.  Feeling stuck is when a person feels out of control or immobilized to change or modify their situation, given their current resources or parameters of the situation itself.

What contributes to feelings of stuckness?

There are any number of contributors to this negative emotional state of thinking or feeling.

They can all be categorized into four major areas. First, life outlook or life philosophy.  Second, inner responses to early conditioned environment. Third,  a lack of personal growth. Fourth, entrenched attitudes and values about how you, the world and people in your life should feel, believe and act.

Before we go on we need to make sure two things are clear. First, feeling stuck is not about your outer  world or the people in it. It is about your inner world and your expectations, attitudes, beliefs, judgments, opinions and so on.  Second, everything that comes to us in life comes as a teacher.  Even though we may find it hard to see a negative situation or person in our life as a teacher, the fact remains that life is a classroom. And school is always in session.  

Think of life as a succession of moving forward through the grades from kindergarten to college.  Some people never get out of the first grade, they keep repeating or allowing things, people or circumstances to be repeated in their life. They constantly ask, "why is this happening to me again".  Some people are able to make it to high school where the curriculum is a little more challenging but they too are never able to learn the lessons on the higher ground and consequently never graduate to the advanced grades. To get to and through the college of life requires patience, practice, skills, awareness, understanding and focused positive action.

If you have been able to make it out of the college of life you have probably learned that the advanced lessons just keep on coming.  Because the school of life is one you never graduate from,  you just keep moving on to more advanced training.  Sorry, I don't make the rules.

Now back to our story, what contributes to feelings of stuckness.

Remember there are four major contributors.  In each of these, there are also any number of personal examples.  We are not going to spend a great deal of time here but to trigger your thinking I would like to give you one example in each category.

First, your life outlook or philosophy.  Are you an optimist or a pessimist?  Do you tend to see the glass as half full or half empty?  Second, Your early inner responses to your conditioning.  Your parents or caretakers, role models and society had a tremendous influence on your unconscious belief system while you were growing through the formative years.  These influences can take years to surface or a dramatic event or events to bring them out in the open or to the surface of your consciousness where they influence your daily decisions, behavior and actions. Think of a recent reaction to a person, event or situation that you had where you just reacted automatically without adequate contemplation or reflection.  It takes skills to pause between the stimuli and our subsequent reactions in life. Three, your lack of general personal growth leaves you without the skills or techniques to deal effectively with the stuff that life continually puts in our path. And Four, your entrenched belief or value systems about people, life, career, ethics, expectations, problems, success, and so on and on and on.

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