Being stuck is often thought of as being problematic. Our worry about being stuck can unintentionally cause us to become more stuck in the process of whatever it is we’re working on. Being stuck doesn’t have to be a bad thing. I think it can be helpful to think of stuck periods as a part of the process. Think of a caterpillar in the process of becoming a butterfly. When the caterpillar is in the chrysalis, it can seem as though nothing is happening but in reality transformation is occurring. It’s easy to overlook the fact that when we feel stuck, we are presented with the opportunity to take a break, reflect, plan and then execute whatever it is we’re trying to do or hoping to create, in a better, more thoughtful way because we allowed being stuck to benefit us versus hinder us. Remember, every perceived challenge in life provides us with the opportunity to learn something and to be better because of it.
Photo by Hutomo Abrianto
There is a lot of pressure in our society to seem like everything is always okay, that we’re always doing great, and to always keep a “happy face” on even when we’re not okay. The reality is, is that there are going to be some not so fun times that happen in life. Life can’t always be easy and stress free.
Many of us have been taught that it’s not okay to be sad or to be angry and to stuff those feelings down or tuck them away. When we’re not okay, we can set ourselves up to feel worse if we try to ignore the feelings and attempt to go through life wearing a “happy face”. Not taking off our “happy face” can unintentionally cause us to feel isolated or alone because we’re not allowing others to know that we’re not okay. Also, when we hide feelings that are considered by some to be bad feelings, like sadness or anger, we deny part of our experience. When we put our “happy face”, we can forget that we human beings are complex with complex feelings. When we pretend that everything is okay, we fail to remember that those less appreciated feelings, like sadness and anger, are part of who we are as human being, and that those feelings are often our body’s way of telling us or reminding us that somethings off.
It’s okay to take off your “happy face” and to experience and share what you’re feeling. If you’re struggling to take your “happy face” off, know that there are people in this world who will support you even when you’re not okay.
Photo by Kaci Kellman
We can get in the habit of doing something we don’t really care to do because we are afraid of taking the first step to create the change we desire. We may stay at a job too long, in a relationship that no longer makes us happy, or hesitate starting a passion project. Also the fear of failure or things turning out badly can cause us to not take action. The longer we wait to take action, the harder it can become to do something different and then we settle. We settle staying at a job that we don’t like, staying with a partner that doesn’t appreciate us, or settle on not achieving a dream. We all have the option to take a risk and face our fears, or to stay put where we know what to expect from our unhappy situation. It’s important to remember that we always have a choice. If we decide to do something differently, we set ourselves up for accomplishing something that we may have thought we’d never be able to do. A small act or step towards our desires and needs, can create a positive ripple effect in our life. Every small or large action that we take can help us to find the courage and the motivation to take more steps towards creating the life we desire and need. Know that the change will be worth it, and take that first step. You’ll then find yourself one step closer to living the life you’ve dreamt of.
Photo By Samuel Zeller
Christina is a Psychotherapist in private practice in Oakland California.