Why don’t we do what we say we want to do?
Not doing something that we want to do leads to feeling “stuck.” There’s a rather sickening feeling that comes upon us when we notice that we “want” to do something and yet we don’t gain any traction. We feel mired in some kind of goo, not unlike the La Brea tar pits, and nothing moves. Our “desire” and our “ability” are at either end of the continuum.
What stands in the way? Resistance.
What being “stuck” really means is that we are loath to change something. In order to do this “thing,” we’ll have to change or shift something in our lives, or so we think, and that’s when the paralysis sets in. Being stuck then, is an inner battle between two aspects of ourselves. One aspect that says, “I want to do this, or have this in my life,” and the other that says, “But I’m more “comfortable” with the way things are now.” Resistance (or the feeling of being stuck) is the experience of the fear of change: a deer in the headlights.
[pullquote]What is it you tell yourself is going to happen if you do this “thing” you’re not doing? [/pullquote]So when you’re feeling stuck, the best place to look is at what you’re afraid of. What is it you tell yourself is going to happen if you do this “thing” you’re not doing? Someone, other than you, is also going to be mad? Disappointed in you? Things will be different in your life and you’re not sure you’re ready for that? You’ll have to be different in your life? You’ll be vulnerable in some way? Exposed? The future, beyond the change, is unknown and that frightens you? What is the fear associated with being “stuck”?
The deeper implication around being stuck is: what inside you is slowly dying because you are refusing to budge? What aspect of who you are is wearing away making life feel washed-out and meaningless? Who could you be if you made the change, or did the “thing”? What would be different if you made that change? What would be available in you and to you, for your life? If not doing that “thing” leaves you feeling empty, what would you be filled with if you did it?
[pullquote]The next time you feel stuck, you’re actually at a choice point in your life. This is good news![/pullquote]The next time you feel stuck, you’re actually at a choice point in your life. This is good news! It means that you have found something that matters to you. What to do? Explore the fear and get a solid sense of what it’s about. (BTW, “I don’t know” is just the fear talking, dig deeper.) Is it really, actually and undeniably true, beyond the shadow of a doubt, that “X” will happen? How do you know? How can you know? Is that the only possible outcome?
Then take a look at what you will gain by making the first move, and the second… Sometimes we get stuck when we’re faced with a choice that doesn’t fit. We resist it because we think we should want it and we really don’t. If what you will gain in your life by doing this “thing” doesn’t mean very much to you, let it drop and move onto something more meaningful. But if you will be gaining something truly important to you, something that makes you feel deeply alive, then its time to consider what you’re losing daily by fighting the change… and make the first move!
This is coaching…
Always infinite possibilities… always your choice.
I welcome your comments and thoughts!
Music Credit: Jimmy Cliff, “Sitting in Limbo” from the film “The Harder They Come” ©1973
2 Comments Add yours
Again, good stuff. For me an important component of being stuck is the fear of actually being good at something! Am I ready to go against all my family of origin conditioning? AAAAhhhhhh!!! Scary.
But as I mentioned in my other post to you, for a number of reasons, the thorn bushes surrounding me are beginning to part, and I’m able to walk out into a new way of being, something more meaningful, fulfilling, and substantial.
Yahoo! I’m ready for that!
Wow… That’s so interesting, Big, and a beautiful image… what a great topic for coaching! (No pressure, just stating a truth!) I wish you all the best in your emergence, may the thorns be few.
I hear you. It somehow feels safer to be mediocre at something because you’ve never really pushed yourself towards something that matters to you. But consider this: toddlers want desperately to walk… does the persistence of gravity deter them? Heck no! They fall down constantly, they cry, they get back up and do it all again. In their small worlds, they are mighty trailblazers, leading the way for more toddlers to follow.
How does it feel to be a trailblazer, Big?
Thanks again for writing!