You’re dating someone who was the most amazing person in the world for the first six months. For some reason however, they have been increasingly negative. They don’t think you’re attractive, or maybe they say you’re too attractive, they say you don’t have enough drive, or maybe they say all you do is work. Whatever it is you are, they don’t seem to like it anymore. For many, that’s a no-brainer: goodbye, good riddance. Yet there is still a large portion of people out there that want to know why, want to understand what they can do to make the relationship right, or want to hold on to the possibility that maybe things will soon get back to the first six amazing months. When are we actually stuck and when are we doing what we should be doing?
Assessing the Dichotomy
There always seems to be a dichotomy on tough issues. On one hand, if we’re “stuck” on a project that no one thinks will go anywhere, we could either prove them wrong, or be wrong ourselves. There are plenty of success giants that have done what no one thought was possible or reasonable. If they gave up, they wouldn’t have achieved great things. Yet, what we often don’t focus on is the large number of people who didn’t give up but also didn’t achieve anything “significant”.
If we compare that to our relationship scenario, we can start to see other possibilities. Maybe our partner who is being increasingly negative has a personal problem that we are unaware of? Is there influences from parents or other loved ones causing this change? Or maybe we need to change ourselves and they actually have a point, we’re just seeing it more negatively than it actually is.
With this type of dilemma, it can quickly become impossible to discern the right choice because there are an infinite amount of possible end states that we can move towards. Feeling “stuck” is often the result.
What are these stuck feelings?
Feeling stuck happens in all walks of life, but it seems to always be in relation to a conflict between our current path and a feeling that we want something different.
The more straight forward situations have “reasons” we can’t change our direction. If we feel stuck at our job, then the easy answer is we get a new job. If we don’t have many marketable skills however, we’ll be stuck until we get those skills. The more tangible our reasons, the more tangible our ways to get unstuck. This type of stuck feelings are simply life and improvement, most likely once a way out is defined and being followed, those stuck feelings will go away.
Yet, sometimes we have reasons, but whenever we’re offered possible solutions, we shoot them down as if there’s no way out. What we have to realize is that, even those in the worst scenarios need to find and believe in a way out. We have to see a possible path forward and use our imagination if need be. The good is that we at least have “reasons” that can be targeted, so if we’re stuck but have reasons, attack those reasons until they are conquered.
The hardest stuck feelings however are when we don’t know why. For instance if we think we should get out of a relationship and everyone around us agrees. Yet, we just can’t do it. Despite there being no tangible limitations or reasons, we can’t muster the strength to overcome the situation and make the change. Something draws us back in, over and over and over again.
Moth to a Flame
Imagine being a moth trying to just find some food at night. Then a bright light get’s turned on and against all your will, you just start flying towards the light. You have no real choice, you have these instinctual patterns that are built into your DNA, you have to go towards light, there’s no way around it.
From a moth’s perspective, it just trusts that the light is the way forward. It doesn’t really have a say, even if it doesn’t trust the light, it has to keep moving towards it regardless. What we can learn about the moth is that with an instinct that is very pervasive, we can at least see where it is leading us towards, and what it is leading us away from.
Similarly when we’re feeling stuck and don’t know why, there’s a good chance it has something to do with deep seated instincts that we aren’t overriding. To override those instincts, we can first look at what those instincts are drawing us towards or away from. With a stuck relationship, perhaps we’re drawn towards being in a relationship despite the hardships, building a family, having someone around, feeling secure. While we’re being drawn away from not being alone, away from the not having a family, away from the unknown.
Regardless of the area in life we’re stuck, assessing the instincts can help us find out the reasons that can be overcome. We need to figure out why we won’t change despite our desire to. That will tell us whether we should or not and what to tackle. If we still can’t seem to figure things out, we need to find a stronger “light” to be drawn to.
Jesus take the wheel
Sometimes when we’re stuck and have no way out, we want someone else to come fix it for us. If letting go and letting God work through you fixes the stuck feelings and allows you to move forward, then that is great, continue on. For some of us however, it may not work that easy. Despite the prayers and letting go, we still have those same stuck feelings and we aren’t really getting anywhere.
We may tell ourselves, it’s all in God’s plan, but there’s logical reasoning in the back of our mind saying what about the kids who died of cancer? Which plan are we on? The one where we die a premature death due to cancer? Or the one where we are saved and live a long life? If we pray harder and are more devoted, that won’t happen to us right?
Maybe we’re simply not religious, or maybe we’re religious but believe that we were given consciousness, our own abilities to make choices, to take the wheel and drive ourselves. The point is to underscore that ultimately we as humans have an ability to “think” about all of these possibilities and “choose” a path.
We can make all the right choices and still fail, we can make all the wrong choices and still succeed. Instead of focusing on the possibility that our choices could be wrong, we have to make choices that constantly increase the probability of a good outcome and decrease the probability of the bad.
To do that, no matter how bad we are stuck, there is always going to be things that we can move towards that increases that good probability. Do we have a good perspective and understanding of our situation? Are we sure we aren’t being influenced negatively by others? Are we sure there are no fallacies or conflicts in our thoughts? Do we see a possible way forward? Do we have goals and direction? Are we moving towards those goals every day? Are we aware of our own worth? Have we established boundaries that match our worth? Are we self confident in our abilities?
Chances are if we’re stuck and can’t get out of our own way, we need to shore up something internally. Finding a stronger light and getting unstuck involves answering all those questions non-stop everyday. If we answer “No”, to any of those questions, we have a reason to be stuck but also something to attack and overcome. Every small step towards addressing these issues is forward movement. As long as we never stop, a compounding rolling snowball effect will start to occur and increase our probability of an “unstuck” and positive future.