How To Change Your Life When You Feel Stuck

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How to Change Your Life When You Feel Stuck

It’s easy to talk about how to change your life when you are in a place of growth, but what about how to change your life when you feel stuck? When you find yourself in a hole dug from disempowerment, overexertion, emotional withdrawal, and apathy — and you’re good and stuck — how do you climb back out? 

The short answer is to stay engaged and not give up. The long answer (the answer to, "Yeah that’s great Kate, but how do I actually do that?") is a little more complex and takes a little more personal power.

An idea I often stress in my work is that it’s not the situation you are in, but the way you react to it that defines your life experience. Your personal power to change your life lies in your ability to define how you react to life.

I won’t pretend this is always easy. It’s easy to feel disempowered when reading the news, hearing that a loved one is sick, or finding yourself the brunt of someone’s road wage on your way to work (leave it to life to challenge your personal power on the daily).

The key here is not to fall into emotional withdrawal from the world, lest you find yourself in that proverbial hole of stuck-ness. Instead, react with "positive action".

Throughout life, we experience and witness so much negativity that employing "positive action" can sometimes seem like a laughable (or sick) joke. How could our actions make a positive difference or have a lasting impact on this ever-changing, vast, often-harsh world?

Me? End hatred, hunger, and abuse? Me? Ensure social equity, education for all, and protections for our planet? These seem like impossible and when we don’t come up with answers, we stop ourselves from seeking solutions.

The hard truth is that no matter how hopeless action may seem, apathy is noxious. Giving up in the face of adversity will leave you feeling like a half a person, and it demotes the people around you. The answer to how to change your life when you feel stuck or how to change the world is to ask different questions.

Instead of trying to answer "What can I do to change the world?" (we don’t know, Batman), try "What can I do right now to create something good?", "Who can I call right now to bring a moment of joy into the world?", and "Where I can I lend the time I do have?"

The tools you need to change your life when you feel stuck are the same that you need to change the world. They are love, truth, and compassion. I believe that the entire world benefits when you choose to build your life with these tools.

Equipped with these three holistic healing tools, you can approach adversity with positive action and transform your world. The answer to how to change your life when you feel stuck lies within you — it always has and it always will.

If you think you need help bringing love, compassion, and truth to each situation you face, you’re not alone. While we have the inherent ability to do this, the capability takes practice. One resource you can rely on is by focusing on practicing these skills.

This is why I developed programs like my LifeWork Community — to provide the tools and the opportunity to practice new ways of being. Another resource is self-education and self-reflection.

Here is an in-depth tool kit of love, truth, and compassion that will change your life:

1. Love yourself first.

Love is the most powerful, world-changing tool we have. I’m fully aware of how Pollyanna this sounds. My challenge to you, though, is this: try it! Get your heart broken, feel disrespected, lose something you really cherish, and see how quickly you can move on from the negativity you feel into love.

It takes a high degree of awareness and sophistication to experience our negativity and move beyond it and into a place of love. Anyone who has walked this path knows that this is the way of a real bada**.

The first thing we need to do is cultivate love inside ourselves. To do this, we need to hunt down the barriers to love that live within us more ferociously than we hunt down barriers to love in the world outside us.

This does not mean that we turn hatred toward these parts of ourselves. It means we see them, accept them, and let them go.

2. Be truthful about who you are.

Truthfulness is a time-honored and respected trait. To be truthful is to be honest and trustworthy. It requires a commitment to speaking and acknowledging the truth, and to acting with integrity. When we have our truth, we also have our respect and love.

While philosophically, there are many types of truth, the truth I’m talking about here has a dynamic holism that is much more easily experienced than written about. There is a paradox around truth though, and it’s this: truth does not make anything untrue.

Whenever you negate something, there is a lie present. Truthfulness allows for multiple perspectives in a way that honors each of those perspectives. One very common example of this is that if you make yourself wrong you’re not living your truth nor are you allowing others to live theirs.

3. Be compassionate to yourself and others.

To be compassionate is to open your heart to the suffering of others. Compassion, to me, is a healing action. When we offer compassion to ourselves or others we are, in fact, healing ourselves or others. One of the best ways to practice compassion is to tend to our own pain and suffering.

Without a doubt, one thing we gain from our own hardship is an ability to give love to others while they experience their own hardship.

Still, sometimes we might find ourselves feeling closed off or judgmental about others who are in a difficult spot. We can feel wronged and because of this, we feel justified in wanting some understanding from the other person.

When we do this, we withhold our compassion and do not give our understanding to the person we feel wronged us.

If you want to have an impact on the world, each time you feel wronged stop and take a moment to understand the other person’s perspective.

To change your life when you feel stuck, learn how to effect positive action in the world. While I’m certainly not knocking it, you don’t need to start a movement or become a politician to have a positive impact. Focus on being a better person and sharing this with the world, and you’ll elicit transformation in ways you couldn’t have imagined.

The skills you need are simple and within the reach of every single one of us.

I will leave you with this quote from Rumi: "Listen with the ears of tolerance. See through the eyes of compassion. Speak with the Language of love."

Kate Siner is an educator, facilitator, and author, with a PhD in Psychology. If you need practice or guidance, check out her LifeWork Community program.

Watch this TED Talk on feeling stuck and how to fuel your life from digital strategist and storyteller Bosco Anthony.

This article was originally published at Dr. Kate Siner. Reprinted with permission from the author.