Getting Unstuck

Posted on Tuesday, November 18th, 2008 at 7:58 pm in All Posts, Empowerment, Self-Help, The Therapeutic Process.

Sometimes we find ourselves stuck in a painful or unsatisfying situation: it could be a relationship, a job, a pattern of behavior, or something else. Maybe I am in love with somebody who is not available, or abusive, but I feel that I need them and I cannot leave. Maybe I am stuck in a difficult job, but am afraid to disappoint the people I work for, or that I cannot find another job. Whatever the situation, rather than judge myself, I can accept that I do not have the ability to change the situation at this time. If I judge myself, I am simply putting myself down, and not giving myself the support and empathy that I really need. What if instead we could say to ourselves, “I am valuable regardless of the circumstances I find myself in, regardless of my flaws. Because of my past, an inherent weakness, or even social conditions, I am where I am. I can claim this situation as an opportunity for growth because I can use it to face aspects of myself that I need to change so that I can change my life.”

There are a variety of techniques to help us get unstuck. They include:

1. Understanding what we can and cannot control. Something similar to the serenity prayer can help: grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference. It is important to identify what we do and do not have control over, where to place our energy and how to proceed.

2. Imagine your self as a very old person who has already lived through this dilemma. Ask him or her, “What do you have to tell me?” “How can you assist me?” Usually an answer will come back that helps. It might be something like; “Your life is about engaging with many different experiences. Use this experience to learn what you want to change about yourself, to engage with the parts of yourself that are sabotaging you, and to help you start to make changes.”

3. Holding a perspective of how we change such as the 12-step slogan: Awareness, Acceptance, and Action. First you must be aware of the problem. Then you must accept that it is real, and only then you can start to change it.

4. Tracking your moment-to-moment awareness and how you shift into different states of being. Maybe one minute you feel okay and not the next. Or maybe you push things away that you need to face. Notice what messages you are telling yourself and how these impact your actions and states of being. As we learn to notice in a moment-to-moment way how we get from one state of being to another, we can begin to intervene. This is often easier to accomplish if you are working with another person who can help you, but can also be done alone through introspection or journaling.

Is there a situation in your life that you are struggling with and judging yourself for? Is your self-judgment helping you? Probably not. Are you afraid that if you do not judge yourself that you will stay stuck? Are you able to tell yourself that you are worthy of self-love no matter what is occurring in your life? Are you willing to find ways to get help so that you can get unstuck?

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© 2008 - 2018 Jennifer Lehr, MFT