I talk to a lot of teens that feel stuck. I talk to more than twice as many parents who also feel stuck in whatever situation they are in. Maybe for the teen, it is the feeling that their worst class will never end, that they will never get out of their parents house or that the reputation they have at school will never go away. For the parents, perhaps it’s that their teen will never get it, that they cannot see an end to the drama/complaining/poor decision making.
In both of these instances, the people involved feel stuck. The sense is that they don’t know how to get away from the hurt, pain or discomfort they feel. Most of the time, they want to remove the pain completely or move away from it themselves.
This is a normal human reaction. Both to experience a feeling of being stuck and a desire to remove that feeling. If you Google “how to get unstuck,” you can find a lot of answers (and some really good ones I might add). Answers like meditation, sleep, refocusing, getting outside, etc to get unstuck. I even read about “5 Steps to Get Unstuck” on the Huffington Post and “16 Ways to Get Unstuck” on Tiny Budda just this week. Both offered some great ideas that could be very effective. But I think these and many others “get unstuck” offerings miss one way that can help many of us stuck in the muck.
Consider these times when you might find yourself stuck:
- You are dealing with a family member who isn’t responding to the help you are offering. You know exactly what help they need, but they are unwilling or unable to accept it.
- Your teen has been dealing with a substance use issue for 3 years and are “stuck” in a cycle that makes your head spin. If only they would listen to you, they could get free.
- The arguments with your spouse or loved one feel like they repeat every 48 hours. You are sick of being stuck dealing with them and know if you could find a way out, you wouldn’t have to deal with this any more.
I want to offer you an alternative solution.
What if the answer to getting unstuck involved going through the pain, not only getting rid of it? What if you chose to face the difficulty head-on, opening your mind to the idea that maybe the reason you are still here is because you haven’t yet learned all you can from the situation?
I listened to a podcast from Entreleadership with Jesse Itzier who started NetJets.com and is owner of the Atlanta Hawks. In many peoples minds, Itzier is not someone who gets “stuck.” Or maybe people just think that if they were in his shoes, there is no way they could feel stuck. But Jesse Itzier has recently released Living with a Seal, a book that’s all about getting unstuck from a successful routine! He tells the story of how he met a Navy Seal who ran a 24 hour race, and by the time he finished, every small bone in his feet was broken, and he was in kidney failure. Itzeir was so impressed, he said that he needed to learn the mental toughness this guy had.
Here is what I am suggesting: maybe instead of trying to remove or run away from the pain every time we experience a little discomfort (I’m not suggesting hurting yourself on purpose of course), we could instead decide to push through the pain.
For many of us, the times we have grown the most are the times we pushed ourselves through something we didn’t think was possible – climbing a mountain, running a Marathon, bungee jumping. I am simply wondering if the same can be true when we feel stuck. I think there are times that the answer is, “Hang in there because when you get through this, you will realize that you can face much more than you ever thought possible.”
Why do we stay stuck?
Have you asked yourself this question? What if the answer is because we haven’t experienced something hard enough yet?