Do you feel stuck in some area of your life? Maybe you’ve tried to break free or overcome, but you’ve hit a wall. It is normal to face situations or even seasons in your life like this. Though there is no magic formula for these sticky scenarios, there are a few tips that can help you get unstuck today.
1. Own the problem
This can be the most challenging part of the journey. You have to own the problem you’re facing in order to be empowered to overcome it. This does not mean to blame or shame yourself. It does mean that you have to take responsibility for the situation you find yourself in. This is necessary even if your current problem is connected to something outside of your control. Ultimately, it is your responsibility to respond to the challenges you face. The only control you have, in some cases, is your response to that outside circumstance. Perhaps rather than tackling a scenario head on, you responded to it by developing a coping mechanism (over eating, shopping compulsively, engaging in an addictive behavior, drowning out the pain in front of the TV). You need to take responsibility for the way you responded and acknowledge that it was you who allowed yourself to get stuck. It takes great courage to make this step, but it is the only way that you can get yourself out of a passive role (victim) and onto an active path of victory.
2. Reframe your past
Many times the problem we are facing currently has a link to our past. Maybe you were part of a dysfunctional family or an unhealthy dating relationship or marriage. You may have undealt with emotional consequences that still need to be addressed. It can be extremely helpful to identify any past memories that may be at the root of your current problem. Revisit those memories (with the help of a trained counselor or psychologist, if necessary) with your more mature mind and put those past memories into their proper perspective. This practice alone has the powerful ability to unleash your soul to focus its energy on moving into the future. John Schuster offers practical guidance on how to use your past to propel you forward in his book “The Power of Your Past.” John’s advice is to analyze the impact of past memories (image), update those memories with wisdom (recast), and apply the new meaning of that memory to your current situation (reclaim). *Please be aware that revisting past memories, especially if they are deeply traumatic, can be very intense. If you have suffered any type of a severe trauma, please do not attempt this practice on your own. You may need the objective perspective of an outside licensed practitioner to help you.
3. Take the first step
Once you have owned the problem you are facing and identified and reframed any past memories at the root of it, you are ready to move forward. Now take a deep breath and that first baby step towards overcoming your problem. Taking that first step can be challenging, but the rewards are exceedingly great. As long as your problem remains “out there,” your mind may have the tendency to blow the problem out of proportion. By taking that first step, you break the bubble of exaggeration you may have unconsciously encased the problem in. You step onto the firm soil of reality, and often that is enough to help you realize that the problem is not as huge as your mind made it out to be. It can be overcome. Taking that first step builds confidence…and momentum. Sometimes taking the first step means asking for help.
4. Overcome the challenge
So, the next time you find yourself feeling stuck in an area of your life, remember that you do not need to stay that way! Own your problem, reframe your past and take that first step. You may be surprised to see that problem shrink to its appropriate size as you step over it and into the land of the unstuck.