There is nothing more painful than the feeling of being stuck in a life that you desperately want to get out of. For me, it's worse than having a really bad toothache (and I've had many of them), because at least with a toothache there's a definite solution -- you can drag yourself off to a dentist and be done with it.
But being stuck is like being super-glued to a circumstance that you think has no solution and no way out. I'll take the pain of a toothache any day over the pain of feeling stuck.
Fifteen years ago I was super-glued to a man who made me miserable. I lived five long years sitting on a very uncomfortable fence wondering whether I should stay or leave. My inability to make a decision was like living in limbo, in no man's land. Hell. And little did I know it back then, but that limbo place was having a profound effect on every other part of my life.
Living this way was like having a piece of grit in my eye. I couldn't really focus clearly and get on with my life because I was always being reminded of this thing I didn't want, this piece of annoying grit, this unwanted life I was living.
When you are stuck in life, it seems as if nothing is moving in any direction. But that's actually not true. As long as you are breathing and alive, energy is always moving. What's actually happening is that you just keep thinking the same thoughts and feeling the same crappy emotions, and so nothing changes. There is no movement forward or backward. You're just stuck in the same place.
And so, I spent five years thinking...
I won't be able to support myself living on my own.
If I leave him, he'll be devastated.
My family will think I'm fickle and irresponsible.
I"ll end up living alone.
Can you feel the exhaustion in those thoughts?
If you're super-glued to something you don't want, here are a few powerful solvents that will help you to dissolve the glue:
1. Make peace with where you are: I know you don't want to hear this, but you are where you are, and there's no sense in pushing against it and making things feel worse. Instead, get curious about what life is trying to tell you and show you about your preferences. What is it you really want? It's much better to be in the solution than the problem. The solution always feels better, and when you feel better, you'll attract to you more of the same thing. Making peace is not about giving up. It's about lessening the friction.
2. Journal. This process will bring up YOUR weaknesses -- did I mention that being stuck is really about your weaknesses? Sorry, but it's true. Write down the thoughts that make you feel stuck. Identify how and why you feel stuck. Who are you trying to protect or please? Why? What are you afraid will happen if you make a decision? Get clear on what you don't want in your life.
3. Evaluate the cost of staying stuck: What is the cost to you for staying stuck? What are you missing out on by not making a decision? What would you gain if you made a decision?
4. Fantasize: Every day, take 15 minutes to imagine where you would like to be in your life. What would be ideal for you? Get yourself to the feeling place of where you want to be. Break the habit of thinking thoughts that make you feel stuck. The goal is to feel some good, positive, and life affirming feelings. If you do this diligently, your path of getting unstuck will light up in no time.
Once I made the decision to leave my relationship, every single thought that had kept me stuck turned out to be the opposite. I was able to support myself; my partner ended up happier when I left him; my family fully supported me; I ended up getting married six months later to someone who was a perfect match for me. And, the earth didn't fall off its axis.
I have one last nugget for you. Consider for just a moment all the time and energy you spend feeling stuck, all the time you waste thinking about the so-called chaos you are going to cause if you make a decision. And consider all the wonderful things you could be doing with that time in your life if it wasn't for those super-glued thoughts.
So my friend, what are YOU going to do?