After asking my husband for a divorce, I found myself in the middle of one of the worst “stuck” points of my life.
The bottom of the pit was dark, thick and muddy, and I was on the verge of not being able to breathe down there. “Try just being with the feelings,” a wise healer suggested.
“But I’ve never experienced these feelings before,” I resisted, “I can’t breathe. I feel like I might die.” I continued to find reasons not to feel.
Working and taking care of the kids started to feel impossible. I started to wonder what was happening to me and how long I’d be stuck in it. My fear made the feelings worse. Self-doubt and shame heaped on top of the pain, fear and uncertainty I’d just thrown myself into by deciding to not be married anymore.
“Just feel the feelings,” my healer repeated. “Don’t judge yourself. You’re not going to move through unless you actually slow down enough to feel what you feel,” she urged. I knew she was right. I’d practiced this for decades and taught it to my clients. It was time to practice what I preached.
The natural ebb and flow of life means highs and lows, light and dark, love and hate, yin and yang. We don’t know or appreciate one without the other.
What if being or feeling stuck is just the natural consolidation, integration and self-reflection time we must endure to reap the benefits of flow? What if we stopped thinking and saying we’re stuck and started embracing the feelings for what they are—necessary for growth and healing?
“Stuck” has such a bad rap now. We hear it everywhere: “I feel stuck,” or “Gee, you seem stuck, let’s see if we can get you unstuck.” It’s just another way we label our feelings. Being stuck feels uncomfortable. It’s not flow-y. It feels wrong, like we need to do something to change it. Coaches advertise they’ll fix it for you, like it’s something we need to get out of ASAP.
This idea occurred to me after a coach said, “You seem stuck. Let’s see if we can fix that.” I sat there a minute, questioning what they heard or felt from me to make them say that. I was processing feelings of intense pain and sadness. I was dwelling there, with a fair amount of awareness and talking about the feelings.
In my experience, we’re never broken or in need of fixing.
There are times we move through pain, and sometimes we feel we’ve been there too long. If we get caught up in the idea that we should avoid pain, we’ll assume we need help getting unstuck. But all I really wanted that day was for someone to validate it, to help me feel it. To listen and understand. That was how it was going to move.
What if it’s necessary to be still (or stuck) and feel what’s there to be able to integrate, process and move on into the flow? What if the stuck-ness has a lesson for you? What if the growth and feeling are right there, smack dab in the middle of being stuck? It takes courage to feel into that black hole. And more courage to stay there and explore.
Here are five reasons why we need to stop telling ourselves we’re stuck:
There’s no good or bad feeling.
We give it those meanings. So next time you say to yourself, “I feel stuck,” try to slow down, get still and really feel what’s there. Are you sad? Frustrated? Impatient? Depressed? Then, break that down further into feelings instead of labels. What does that feel like in your body? As soon as you honor it by feeling it, instead of labeling and trying to get rid of it, guess what usually happens? It dissolves.
Your self-talk matters.
One of the biggest reasons to stop telling yourself that you’re stuck is that you’ll believe it. Use some fierce awareness here and realize what you’re thinking and believing about yourself. It’s time to pick something healthier.
Thoughts create things.
If you think you’re stuck, you’ll attract things that make you feel more stuck. If you believe in the power of manifestation, this is 101 stuff. It’s the awareness that’s the key.
There’s a time for stillness.
I like a more positive definition of stuck. The body-mind complex requires time to process, integrate and heal. That process sometimes forces us to slow down to feel. Since many of us were taught not to feel, this idea seems bad. So instead, we do whatever we can to get out of that feeling—to stuff it down or numb it up. Feeling stuck becomes unacceptable. Instead, the next time you feel stuck or someone wants to label it as being stuck, just say, “Shhhh, I’m integrating.” Honor the process. Resistance will only make it persist.
Being stuck is healing—if you do it right.
Stop telling yourself you’re stuck and begin to wake up to the messages your intuition is sending. There’s an inner healer who knows what you need. It’s time to stop labeling how she speaks to you and start learning the language instead. There’s powerful healing inside of that stuck feeling you have.
I say go ahead and be stuck. I also say it’s time to redefine it. Let’s start thinking about the different ways we feel, the stages of life, the situations we go through and the events we experience all as opportunities to feel and learn—the “good” ones and the “bad” ones. Lets stop labeling them at all and just stay curious about what each holds for us. As soon as we use that kind of awareness on this kind of feeling, we’ll begin to master our inner world and experience healing like never before.
Would love to hear your comments about your experience of being stuck!
Author: Laura Probert
Image: Meg Wills/Flickr
Editor: Catherine Monkman