You must do the things you think you cannot do.
-- Eleanor Roosevelt

 

   

The MONTHLY Motivator - May 2002

Get beyond being stuck

Do you feel like you’re stuck where you are, unable to move forward? Does it seem that when you take two steps ahead you then fall back three? Are you trying desperately to get ahead and yet falling more and more behind? Do you know precisely what you want to accomplish, and how to do it, and yet you just cannot bring yourself to take the necessary actions for a long enough period of time?

Do you keep trying to live positively, to give of yourself, to make a real difference, and the world keeps throwing it back in your face? Does it seem that you’re completely overwhelmed?

That feeling of being stuck is actually a very positive sign. It means that you’re truly ready to begin moving yourself forward. To illustrate, let’s look at an example. Imagine that you drive home from work on Friday afternoon, park your car in the garage, and accidentally leave on the car’s interior light without knowing it. You go in the house, enjoy a lovely dinner, watch a film on television, and go to bed. All the while, the light has been draining your car’s battery and at about 3:00 am, the battery runs completely out of power. But of course you don’t even realize it. On Saturday morning you get up, have breakfast, take a walk and then spend most of the day working in your garden. The weather is beautiful and you’re having a wonderful time. Later in the afternoon you get cleaned up and ready to go meet some friends for dinner. You then walk out to the garage, get in the car, turn the key in the ignition switch, and nothing happens. Your battery is dead and your car won’t start. You are stuck. But you didn’t realize you were stuck, you didn’t feel stuck, until you were ready to go somewhere. All that time you were walking through the neighborhood and working in the garden, you didn’t feel stuck. It’s only when you really are attempting to get somewhere, and are somehow prevented from doing it, that you truly feel stuck.

So that feeling of being stuck means that you are indeed ready to move forward. It means that there’s somewhere you really want to go, even if that somewhere is “anywhere but here.”

So what’s the next step? Let’s go back to the car battery story. If the battery is dead, what needs to happen? You need to get a jump start. A pair of jumper cables connected to another vehicle’s battery will get you up and running in no time. But let’s think for a moment about the things that will NOT get you up and running.

Being angry at yourself for leaving the light on will not get you going. You can fill yourself with rage and resentment for leaving that light on, and still when you turn the key nothing is going to happen. When you’re feeling stuck in your life, it can be easy to become angry with yourself. After all, you’re the person who is most responsible for getting you where you are. Though it’s useful and positive to accept that responsibility, it is of no use to be angry or resentful about it. What’s happened has happened. The best you can do is to learn from it. Holding on to the anger will only delay your moving forward. So accept responsibility for where you are, and then also accept the reality of where you are, without fighting against it but rather with a desire to truly do something positive about it.


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—Ralph Marston