“Growth is painful. Change is painful. But nothing is as painful as staying stuck somewhere you don’t belong.” ~Mandy Hale
We all get stuck: paralyzed about a decision, unsure what choice to make. Stuck in resentment or disappointment we can’t quite recover from. Stuck in a plan that’s not working as anticipated. Stuck in a destructive, repetitive dynamic with family members, coworkers, or friends. Stuck makes things feel immovable, entrenched, even hopeless. The good news is, they aren’t. We human beings are actually extremely adept at getting unstuck, at seeing the same thing in new ways, discovering new insights and changing our attitudes, but we need some tools to create that movement. Here are some of my favorite ways to get unstuck. Keep them all in your toolkit, or experiment to see which ones work most powerfully for you.
1. IT's JUST PERFECT. Perfect? This dreadful, annoying, not-what-you-planned situation is perfect? Yup. It is. Your mind will figure out how if you point it in that direction. Say to yourself, “This situation is perfect because…” and brainstorm five reasons. Find the truth in each of them. Now what looks different?
2. MUSIC. Pick a favorite song and connect to the mood of that song. Play the song out loud or just think of it. Then apply the mood of the song to how you look at the situation. You might bring the spirit “What a Wonderful World” to the argument with your mother-in-law. Bring the mood of your favorite jazz piece to the last minute work assignment your boss just handed you. What feels different now?
3. MAKE IT FUN. Oh, if we all asked that question more… what a world we’d create. Brainstorm ten ideas that would make the situation more fun. Then pick a few and experiment with them.
4. DREAM. Ask your mind to work on the problem in your dreams. Put a dream journal next to the bed. Give yourself a few days for the dream to show up. It maybe obviously relevant or connected through the language of metaphor.
5. TRUTH. Just tell the truth, including the parts that feel scary and vulnerable to share. Including the parts you’ve been repressing or avoiding. That unfailingly shakes things up and breaks stagnation. Be diplomatic, be kind, be your wise and sensitive self–but state your truth.
6. SELF-CARE In difficult situations, we typically focus on how they (those other crazy people) should be different, how they are wrong. Bring your attention back to yourself. What do you need to do to take care of you? What do you need to protect your sanity, act in alignment with your integrity, and be the happy camper you want to be? Take care of your needs and watch your relationship to the situation change.