To A Year of Being Stuck
The pandemic has many feeling stuck beyond just being at home. When there's nowhere to go, the only way out is to go in.
I’ve always embraced the homebody life. Being stuck at home is usually a choice. But even the biggest introvert knows to admit when there's too much of a good thing.
Our new daily pastime has become finding new ways to deal. But after a year of quarantine, there are only so many homemade baked goods and DIY beauty treatments one can take.
Trapped indoors has meant being trapped inside our heads. With the distraction of external pleasures stripped away, the inner voices start asking the difficult questions, we work so hard to avoid. Worry takes over, as we think about the future and begin to feel our hopes and dreams for a great life have been permanently put on pause.
But it’s hard to plan for the future when everything feels uncertain. Being unable to achieve what we’ve been striving so hard for, ultimately leaves us feeling stuck.
And though learning new skills has brought temporary relief, the most valuable lessons we can learn, come from the stillness. Facing the harsh truth, that:
“Wherever you go, there you are”
It’s easy to run from uncomfortable feelings. We change locations, jobs, friends, or situations attempting to escape our troubles. But if we don’t deal with what’s going on inside, nothing will ever change.
When there's nowhere to run from ourselves, it forces us to stop coping and start dealing
The pandemic has us feeling stuck beyond just being at home. The only way out is through embracing the stillness. Drowning the fear of silence in social media, Netflix marathons, and online shopping only provides a temporary bandaid to the pain.
By tuning into ourselves, we can find the necessary relief and deal with what’s making us feel broken. The answer lies in challenging our mindset, habits, and qualities that create a world we are keeping ourselves stuck in.
Instead of looking at lockdown as a setback keeping you from where you want to go, think of it as a setup for becoming who you are meant to be.
Because it’s not about the panic, but the pivot.
Satisfaction not guaranteed
Whether we like to admit it or not, we are a culture rooted in instant solutions. We look outside ourselves for the answers to our troubles. Whether it’s losing 10 pounds, finding career success, or relationship advice, we simply want someone to tell us how to get there, the fastest way possible. We don’t trust ourselves enough, and the fear of failure keeps us from even trying.
We want satisfaction guaranteed.
But there is no guarantee in life. Nobody owes us anything and nobody is looking out for our best interest. By putting our faith in someone else to cure our pains, we end up paying the ultimate price. We give up our money, time, and energy to follow someone else‘s message and neglect our inner guiding wisdom.
Instead of making progress, we succumb to defeat and are left feeling inadequate, unsuccessful, and hopeless.
But how do we find trust in ourselves, when all feels lost?
Instead of looking to others for misguided advice, it’s about finding it within. Reassess our lives and admit to both our strengths and weaknesses. Test our own limited beliefs and ability to turn struggles into strengths. Find the courage to trust our gut, get out there and seek out our greatest potential.
Not because we’re guaranteed success, but because what if?
What if we are more than our thoughts tell us?
What if everything we want is waiting for us to uncover it?
What if our potential is greater than what we perceive?
If we fail then at least we fail trying and are likely to learn something along the way. Without trying, we still fail and add to it regret of what could have been.
Failing is our feedback. To get where we want to be in life, we have to be willing to get it from the world. Failures and successes point us in the right direction, leading us down a path to a fulfilling life.
Accept what is, in order to become
Nobody likes feeling stuck, whether it’s at home, a bad job, or a bad relationship. We remain there, but we aren’t fully present. The body shows up, but the mind resists everything.
It makes us miserable, wishing to be anywhere but here. So we place blame onto others or circumstances outside our control. It becomes a draining, exhausting, and debilitating existence in the world.
How do you get your mind to meet you where you’re at, to get you where you want to go?
Mindfulness. Intention. Action
Accept the situation. We’re here, so be here. We can only control our emotions, reactions, and attention. How can we make the most of this? What can we learn from this?
Even if all feels hopeless, we can focus on being present with what is.
Give our brains a break from the turmoil and taunting thoughts. Be in the moment. Find the positive in the situation, even when it feels there is none. Believe when you project positive energy, it will seek you out as well. Trust all is going to turn out ok.
It may feel like the end of the world, but it's only just the beginning of a new one.
Process over outcome
We overemphasize results, but this only holds us back. Being goal-oriented is considered a good thing, but it's also the reason we feel stuck. The focus on the outcome may drive initial motivation, but what happens when that finish line doesn’t appear fast enough?
We lose hope, get discouraged, and start finding excuses why we should give up.
What got us started won’t always sustain our efforts and guide us through to the end, especially when hard times and resistance show up.
It’s not only about the end game but the passion for the pursuit. Embracing the process allows us to adapt and flow with what is, not what should be.
Celebrate the successes along the way. Honor the hard work, it has taken to get us where we are and remember why we started. Trust in our strength and courage helps us keep going when all feel hopeful.
Rest, reconnect and recommit
It’s hard in the midst of chaos to avoid the drama calling us in. We want to commiserate and feel understood when we feel lost and alone. But by involving ourselves in matters that don’t have value, only end up wasting our precious time and energy.
Let go of the little stuff. Don’t get involved in things that don't align with where you’re trying to go. Instead of freeing you, they consume and rob your energy that you need to pursue what excites you.
Time and energy are limited resources. We can never give our full attention to everything that comes our way. Prioritize finding the time to come back to yourself. Connect with those people who matter in your life and recharge you.
Don’t let your worries shut you off from the world or hide in a sea of complaints. Reach out and ask for help. Going it alone, only makes it worse.
Regain your strength so you can get back to doing the work.
When we get stuck, it seems impossible to get back on track. It feels like we’ve fallen too far off and like we’ll never get ahead.
Instead of letting limited beliefs about our past take over, get clear about the vision you see for the future. It’s not about figuring out what the rest of your life has to be, but what you can do next.
Be patient and compassionate with yourself.
When pursuing change, there will be challenges and setbacks. It may be slow progress, but it is progress nonetheless. Celebrate the small victories and accept there will be highs and lows. What's most important is to remain resilient.
We are all results of our experiences, full of ups and downs. But past experiences do not determine the destination. To get where we want to go, we have to give up the story we believe about ourselves. Embrace the unknown and focus on growing because competence comes from dedication, intention, and time.
When there is no end in sight, we can still get unstuck. Disconnect from the constant stream of distractions and go inward to address the struggles that will continue to plague us long after we return to normal.
Life is hard. And the past year has been complicated. Success is not linear, and hard work doesn’t stop when you reach the top. But when we focus on the process, we can maintain the courage to keep going.
We can trust that even in the darkest times, there will be more celebrations to come. And we can accept that real success lies in discovery and exploration, not only what we find when we get there.