Why Being STUCK Doesn't Have To SUCK
Have you ever been stuck? You know you have a goal you want to reach and you can’t seem to move a muscle toward that dream! Maybe it’s a career goal, weight loss or something else on your list. You have tried things but nothing seems to work. And so then you start to lose hope, fall into a malaise and before you know it you are stuck in the mud. And we HATE to admit that we are stuck. After all, who wants to listen to the complaints, right? Even you can’t stand your own mind-chatter-whining!
But, consider this: what if being stuck is necessary? What if being stuck isn’t a bad thing, but a part of a process that can’t be sidestepped? What if being stuck can actually be soul serving and nurturing instead of torturous and lonely?
I’ve been stuck. In fact, this summer, I was going through some stuck-ness. And truth be told, it did suck for a while, until I decided to take my own advice and tap. I tapped in the morning when I got up and I tapped at night before I went to bed. The tapping helped me to think more clearly and release the tightness and judgment I had about being stuck. Once that dissipated, my mind opened up to possibilities. The possibility that maybe feeling this way was an invitation to explore something that was holding me back. Here are the realizations that using EFT tapping on my stuck-ness helped me conclude:
1. Even Though I’m Stuck, I’m Totally O.K. (great set-up statement for your tapping by the way). Think about that a minute. We are ingrained as a society to multi-task and keep moving and go, go, go. So the feeling like you can’t get momentum on a specific project, goal or even your business can be daunting. It’s helpful to separate the who of who you are with the current state of stuck-ness. You are stuck, but you are still o.k.; you’re not weird, you’re not wrong and for heaven’s sake you are good enough!
2. It’s Just Not Time Yet. I don’t remember where I heard it but someone said imagine a rose. Each day the petals slowly open – in stages. And you don’t stand there and yell at it to hurry up and open fully. It’s the same with us. We bloom. We birth. Everything in its own time.
3. A Pity Party is Still a Party. Yeah, I went there. Sometimes it just feels good to sulk, feel sorry for yourself, cry and wallow. It’s an important release for when things aren’t going exactly how you would like. The key – and here’s the key just like when you are an invited guest at a party – don’t stay late and be the last one to leave.
4. It’s O.K. to Be Nice (to yourself). Sometime when you are stuck and feeling badly about a situation, you tend to fall off the wagon in good commitments to yourself; the healthy eating goes out the window, you skip the gym, maybe have one or two more glasses of wine than you should, the gratitude list is nowhere to be found. This only adds to the state, so remember to be kind to yourself. Maybe take a nice long bath, listen to your favorite music or go for a walk in nature. Whatever it is, just give yourself a break!
5. Stop Fighting. What we resist persists, so don’t push up again the stuck-ness with a bunch of self-doubt, anger and judgment. Feel it and let it go. Tapping is especially great to use for this.
Here is an EFT tapping script to help when you are stuck:
IE: I hate being stuck
OE: It feels so hopeless
UE: I just want something to change
UN: Then I won’t be stuck and I’ll feel better
CP: Look at everyone else around me
CB: They are moving along nicely with their goals
UA: And here I am stuck in the mud
TH: Everyone else is going to get ahead and I’ll be right here
OE: I just don’t see anything changing soon
UE: That sucks
UN: I know people say things can change in a moment’s notice
CP: But not for me
CB: I’m just not lucky that way
UA: I’m going to be stuck forever
TH: That’s just how it is
IE: I wonder if it is possible to be different
OE: Maybe I need to be here right now
UE: I’m open to considering that
UN: What if I could nurture myself right now?
CP: Maybe that would help me get unstuck
CB: What if I could say “I love being stuck”!
UA: And try to mean it!
TH: What would be possible for me?
IE: I guess I could try it
OE: Maybe just for a little bit
UE: Because sometimes being stuck actually feels good
UN: Being stuck doesn’t feel good
CP: Being stuck feels good
CB: Being stuck doesn’t feel good
UA: What if I could love being stuck?
TH: What would be possible then?
IE: I don’t want to love it because I don’t want to STAY STUCK.
OE: o.k. so maybe I can tolerate it
UE: I can tolerate being stuck and be open
UN: Be open that things will change at the perfect moment
CP: Be open that I can create the change when I feel ready
CB: I can learn to accept and release
UA: I accept being stuck and I release it
TH: I am releasing being stuck
7 Ways to Thrive Before, During and After You Hear The “F” Word! They didn’t say the “F” word, but it sure felt like it! Yes, the dreaded “F” word: F-I-R-E-D. “Your position has been outsourced, down-sided, eliminated, restructured.” But no matter what the PC vernacular of the day happens to be, the bottom line is you’ve been fired. You are no longer needed. Your services are no longer considered of value. Ouch!
I think this was the first time I had an out-of-body experience. It was certainly the first time it had ever happened to me. I knew the drill because I had been through this procedure several times before, the difference being now I was sitting on the opposite side of the table – the receiving end. I can now say that neither side is particularly enjoyable.
The ceremonial circumstances typically begin with a mysterious email to attend a mysterious meeting. You walk in and by the looks of everyone’s faces in the room, you get the feeling like you are about to attend a wake – your own. And then, without meeting your eyes, someone reads a carefully-scripted statement from a piece of paper that was prepared by some hotshot lawyer. And boom. It’s done. And with all the dignity, strength and self-respect you can muster, you thank them for the opportunity to have been engaged in their employ and walk away.
Truth be told, for me, I had expected it. After a couple of years of new management and changing tides, I could see the proverbial writing on the wall. Months before the end, I had actually begun taking my personal effects – things like family pictures – home from the office. Energetically, I felt the time was near.
I had been through the emotional ups and downs and I was ready. I could have high-tailed it out of there before this imminent day, but for several reasons I didn’t. Staying wasn’t an easy decision to make because eventually the day-to-day had become an intolerable game of whack-a-mole (and guess who was the mole?)! When you see things shifting around you and suddenly you seem to be “left out” of key decisions and the new rules of engagement don’t include you, it kicks up the dust that eventually lands in your eyes and stings like a b**ch. Each day felt like I was losing a little bit more of myself. Until I remembered. I was NOT my job. I was more than that.
My survival – and eventual thriving – through this time was due to five strategies that I used. I’m not saying it was a bed of roses, but when I applied them, the roses had measurably fewer thorns. And I wish I could say I had handled the situation perfectly. But as Maya Angelou says, “when you know better, you do better.”
These strategies I share are not meant to necessarily change an outcome for you, but rather to support and empower you to take charge of your feelings at a time when you may be feeling vulnerable and anything but “in charge.” And this may actually change an outcome.
1. Say What? If it looks and sounds like a duck, it is a duck! For heaven’s sake DON’T start thinking you are paranoid. If you are “sensitive” like I am, you can empathically “feel” the actual changes before they occur. This is a gift! If you begin to doubt your judgment, and your gut, you will inevitably begin to distrust the one person that you must trust now more than ever -- yourself. If you need some perspective, talk to someone OUTSIDE the company, like a coach or therapist who can be an unbiased sounding board. Trust what you are feeling.
2. Decide. It’s your choice. Do you stay and weather the storm? Or do you begin your search for another job? Either way, you are going to need some really good coping skills and be steadfast in whatever decision you make. And then, decide again. If you stay and you continually feel like a sitting duck, this will eat away at your self-worth and self-power. Hold on to both of those and decide to be uber-loving to yourself each and every day. Don't underestimate the power of self-care. How I did this was making sure I had great music at my desk, fresh flowers, affirmations and reminders that this situation did not define “who” I was. If you do decide to look for another job, keeping your energy and stamina up will be key to representing your best self during interviews.
3. Get out! Get out of your office at least once a day…even if you have nowhere to go! I would typically eat my lunch at my desk every day (thankfully, I’ve learned a whole lot more about self-care!). Then as things began to become more difficult, there was a real need for me to shore up my energy in order to get through the rest of the day. Get out. Take a break. Do something to re-energize your spirit; read, walk, listen to music (I highly recommend Pharrell Williams’s song Happy!), be in nature, find someplace outside the office to meditate (your car will do) – even if it is only for 10 minutes.
4. Tap. Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) or Tapping can offer immediate relief in stressful situations. Walking into an environment day-to-day that no longer feels welcoming eventually becomes toxic causing chronic stress in your body. This is the root of disease and unhappiness. Here is an “emergency” tactic that you can use any time, and any place, for support.
This picture above shows the karate chop point and it is located on either hand. Use 4 fingers from the other hand to tap on this whole side of the hand. Keep doing this until you begin to feel calmer and your breathing slows down and becomes more regular. I can’t tell you the numerous times I did this with my hands hiding in my lap or under a conference room table! For more information on how you can get tapping support, visit my website: www.paulagrosario.com.
5. 3-Minutes. Take three minutes to breathe. If you are feeling like you just HAVE TO fire off an email or say something to someone who really pissed you off, give it 3 minutes before you do! Take three minutes to breathe. That’s it. Often times that is all that’s needed to rattle the cage of your “thinking brain” (“wake up for strategy and self-preservation!”) and systematically shut down your “emotional brain” (“bye-bye fear, upset and anger!”). The whole idea is to create some space and distance between you and the emotionally-charged situation. Close your eyes and breathe slowly and deeply. If you still feel heated after this and are tempted to give someone a piece of your mind, add the tapping to this and begin the 3 minutes of breathing again.
6. Get up! (O.k., so this is similar to get out!) If you can’t physically leave the office, getting up from your desk can do a world of good! Sit in a conference room, find a work-related reason to visit someone else’s office, move your chair on the other side of your desk and sit there (yeah, I know, it may look weird but it helps!). You want to change the way you are seeing things. When we feel small, ignored or devalued, sitting hunched over a desk reinforces these feelings. This sitting position tightens your muscles, restricts your lungs and causes lethargy. The idea here is to feel empowered – moving around – even putting your arms out to the side and on your hips will shift your energy and perspective on how things look at that moment.
7. The Gift! Find the gift. Even in the most seemingly upsetting of situations, there is always a gift waiting for us. If you take the time to seek the gift, you will likely spend less time ruminating about what may come and who said what to whom. The gift is often something we need to learn and grow from personally. Perhaps the gift is to help you find your true calling which may not be in your current job or career. Or maybe the gift is to learn how to let go and move on when a situation no longer serves you. Or to learn how to speak up and stand in your power. Only you will know what that gift is and when you have found it!
Support hose... you know what I’m talking about, right? They are flesh-colored and typically worn because of circulation issues.
Yeah, well, they are ugly as all, that but the support is reliable and foolproof! (You just pray that you never need them.)
Well, on a rare moment when I had nothing to do, I started Google-ing my favorite topic: working moms. It’s sort of like putting your ear on the railroad track; you can hear the rumbling from miles away. I was not surprised by the number of articles that echoed the same message: working moms need more support. One of the articles I read suggested that working moms need a wife! And I’ll have to admit that at times, this suggestion can seem like an appealing option.
The support that seems to be needed comes in three distinct categories:
That, by the way, is never a good idea. I realize just how antiquated this sounds, but when you consider that “women’s liberation” was only a mere 35 years ago (give or take), it is totally understandable that real examples of how to balance home and work are not easy to come by.
But don’t lose hope! Here are some easy steps you can take to get the support you need right now:
Adjust. Purge. Adjust again. You may, for a short period of time, want to adjust your view of what a clean and organized house looks like. Schedules are complicated, and you may not be able to give the amount of detail as you once did (before family, business trips, etc.) It’s not defeat; it’s reality.
This leads to the next step: the purge. Do you really need everything you have? Stuff creates clutter, and clutter is an energy vampire.
It sucks your time, your psyche, and your overall outlook. After you’ve done the purge, adjust again. Set a schedule for cleaning, and enlist the “all hands on deck” motto – never too early to get the kids enlisted – and then test it out for a week or two and see how it’s going. You can always rinse and repeat the process!
Uncomplicate! I know the routine all too well! After work, you get slammed with practices, games, dance lessons. Here, too, you need to adjust. In my neighborhood there is an unspoken expectation that the more activities you have your kids enrolled in, the better parent you are. This shocked me when I moved out to the 'burbs! I was just unwilling to have dinner – aka fast food – in the car between activities when I was aching to get home, have some down time and enjoy just “being” with my kids.
Adjust, choose. It’s up to you. I know at times the squeeze is unavoidable. If you can, double up with another parent, barter or pay someone to do the driving around. I know I felt bad that the stay-at-home mom would get stuck carting my kid around because I wasn’t home from work in time, but then I would treat her to her favorite latte, magazines or a night out when I’d watch her kids.
Don’t suffer in silence. Seek out the support you need!
Play the game. There are some great companies out there who have very flexible work schedules, back-up day care, job sharing, telecommuting, and a host of other options to help you be your best at work. If your company is not up to this speed yet, I understand the challenges you may face. When I’d have to leave early because my child was sick, if it happened more than two times in one month, I would say the appointment was for me. I didn’t want to be looked down upon because I had kids who needed me. I did not feel like I was being authentic, but I knew because of the environment I was in, that I was doing what was best for everyone. And you do too.
Don’t be too hard on yourself if you need to make certain decisions – within reason of course – to help you manage the rigors of your work life and family life.
It’s a classic dilemma: which came first, the chicken or the egg? Have you ever gotten an answer that makes any sense?
I find the same complexity in the question: how do I let things go? People talk all the time about letting go of emotions and things that no longer serve you, but can it really be that simple? Especially when you feel wronged or someone has hurt you?
Letting go of strong emotions, or the need to be right (of course, I’m right and you’re wrong!) in a particular situation, can feel like trying to move a 1,000-ton boulder out of the road so you can pass!
Now, keeping with the boulder scenario for just a moment, imagine it represents that thing, event, or emotion that you are holding onto. What would your life be like if you couldn’t move that boulder out of your way?
I will tell you that some people carry that invisible boulder on their shoulders, no matter how hunched over they get. They unwittingly create future experiences with that boulder in tow and allow the shadow of this great boulder to shade the brightness of new opportunities. They compensate. Compensating looks like settling for less than who you are and pretending that you're not. The worst part of it is that you are not being honest and authentic with you. Continue on this road too long and you can lose your zest for being who you were meant to be.
Others stay stuck in time. They try to roll it, move it, hoist it, and push and push against the boulder that won’t budge. And out of sheer exhaustion, they give up and sit down beside it, never moving forward.
So, what are you carrying, holding, pushing up against that needs to be let go of? Could you choose another way?
I like to enlist the power of my imagination when I am stuck in a situation and feel as though I don’t have the power (even though I really do!) to stop thinking, believing, or buying into something that isn’t serving me.
Here are some quick tips on how to remove (or shift) that boulder from your life:
1. Say Good-bye
Is the boulder (emotion, event, thought) serving you? Here’s how to find out: Close your eyes and think the thought or feel the emotion. If it feels heavy (sadness, shortness of breath, constricting) then it isn’t serving you. If it feels light (free), then perhaps you have learned all you need to learn from the situation, and now it’s time to give yourself permission to fully (and ceremonially) say good-bye.
If it is too hard to fully let go or you feel that if you do let go that you will be losing a part of your identity, ask yourself, “Am I willing to shift or morph the feeling, situation or event?” This means finding something positive or something you have gained from the boulder’s existence. Once you’ve found that, it’s time to change the landscape of the boulder. Using your imagination, perhaps you could plant some flowers around the boulder or paint a mural on it (it’s your imagination and your boulder, so have fun with it!).
If you are really ready to let go of the emotion, event or thought that is no longer serving you, you can:
Make Love...Not War!
The debate of working moms vs. stay-at-home moms is yet again rearing its ugly head. On Fox News, in the New York Times and many other news outlets, she vs. she is once again the hot topic. It may be surprising to some, but credible research already supports the fact that children of working moms are not at a disadvantage amongst their peers whose moms stay at home. So why more controversy and concern?
First, motherhood IS work. Period. It is the hardest, yet the most rewarding “job” on the planet. Secondly, isn’t it amazing that women actually get to choose? I suppose certain life circumstances may not feel like an actual choice. But whatever the path -- staying at home, working at home, working part-time, working outside the home – women are all a part of the same sisterhood, and as such shouldn’t we be there supporting one another? Each time there is a debate – and debates bring up all different points-of-view and ways of looking at things – hopefully, our eyes are opened wider, and we see progress, support and understanding.
For the record, I believe I am a better mom because I have worked. I have worked all of my adult life. Were there times when I thought I couldn’t bear another day of commuting and office politics? Absolutely. For instance, when my son was 4 and he had several emergency hospital stays resulting in his diagnosis of a chronic kidney condition, I wanted nothing more than to just be by his side – and I did.
Coincidentally (ah, yes, there’s no such thing as coincidences!), when the most challenging time in my life was unfolding, I had also been promoted to Vice President – the thing I had worked to achieve my entire career. But it paled in comparison to what was happening in my personal life at the time. I remember thinking how insignificant it felt after I had placed so much importance on it.
I’m not downplaying the achievement – for a kid from Brooklyn who didn’t go to college, this was the cherry on the cake! But compared to what my baby was going through, it was nothing.
This taught me 2 things:
1. Things and circumstances only hold the specific value we give them.
2. My self-identity was complex and a dichotomy of feelings.
This was an example of extremes, but there are professional women who feel this tug-of-war every single day. Our families are pulling us on one end, and our career is pulling us on the other. It’s easy to get lost in between both worlds, feel isolated, and that we aren’t doing a good enough job at work or at home.
Instead of trying to put “women back where they belong” as has been suggested in the news recently, perhaps it is a rally call instead. A call for all women – no matter their choice or circumstance to join a circle of solitude where there is plenty of room for individual choice and support. A call for corporate America to establish more policies that uplift professional moms (and dads too), so they feel empowered and good about their decisions.
I believe the day is coming. We – collectively – can make it happen, so that our daughters and sons will see a future of greater shared responsibility, love and respect.
Paula G. Rosario
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