What To Do When You're Stuck

A good friend of mine recently made a big change. She moved across the country, started a new job, got a new apartment. When my friend first made this change, she was feeling pretty great about it.

A few months later and she's found herself feeling something a little different. The initial shock and shine of the move has now worn off, she's become comfortable in her new job (or is at least at the point now where she knows what she's doing/isn't afraid to eat in front of people), and now a new feeling has crept in.

Turns out the job wasn't exactly what she thought it would be. And the city she's moved to? It's a cool place to live, sure, but it's not really a fit for her anymore.

She's finding herself falling into old habits, reliving past lives, and overall realizing that what she thought she wanted turns out to be, well, not what she wants.

You see, my friend has begun to feel stuck.

If you've been in the position of feeling "stuck" before, then you know what a difficult place it is to be. It's like every part of you is fighting for something, but you have no idea what. You want a change, need a change, but you don't know what the change that you need to make even is, much less how to actually make it. It can be paralyzing and frustrating to say the least.

It's hard to even give advice on something like this. My friend isn't going to change anything right now – mainly because she doesn't know what she wants to change – but also because she's just made a big change, so what if she acts on her feelings and then finds herself unhappy again?

It's a hard place to be, folks. I don't think anyone would argue that.

It's rich that I'm writing about this because, if I'm honest, I'm not sure that I have ever felt this way exactly. I've felt similar before, sure, but I'm kind of a forever mover in all aspects in my life. As soon as I start to get that "stuck" feeling, I move on to something else.

(That's probably bad on several other levels, but we won't worry about that for now. Because I'm ready to move on to something else.)

Here are a few un-prompted suggestions on how to un-stick yourself:

Think about the reasons why you feel stuck. The real reasons – not the surface level reasons. Maybe you don't like your job, but why don't you like it, and why won't you leave it? Is it because you're worried you won't find something that's a better fit, or because you're scared of starting a new job? Or, maybe it's because, as Jess Lively put it on a recent podcast, you're a people pleaser (also known as a Good Girl) who's afraid of upsetting your colleagues by leaving.

Make a pro-con list. Stupid, right? Not really. I use pro-con lists on a regular basis in my adult human life and they really do help. (If you need some motivation, buy yourself a cute notebook to write the list in. That helps.)

Trust that gut. This is huge (the point, not your gut). It's said a lot, but it's amazing how often we overlook this. Intuition is a thing for a reason, guys. After you make that pro-con list, sit in a quiet room and look at it. Think on it. What items on that list make you feel good, and what items immediately make you feel bad? Try turning the list over, forgetting what's on it, and coming back to it later. No doubt something will jump out at you either in a positive way, or in a way that gives you the "no" feeling. (In which case, make sure that's a con.)

Still feeling stuck? Go for a run, pet a dog, watch "Tree of Life", read a good book, and give yourself time. When you're feeling stuck, a day can feel like an eternity, but remember that it's not. The feeling of being stuck is part of the learning process, the growth process, and you won't be there forever.

And if you're STILL feeling stuck? Well, there's a comment box below. Let's talk it out.


Photos by D Watterson III