cat stuck in top of umbrella style roof

Being stuck is part of the process

In the process of working toward every goal I’ve ever focused on—from tangible work projects to healing from deep hurts to developing new habits—there comes a time when I feel like I’ve completely lost track of the path.

I’ve come too far to go back, but I also can’t see any way forward. I’m just stuck.

Sometimes this feels like slamming into a wall I didn’t see coming. Other times, it feels more like I’ve run out of gas in the middle of the wilderness. Still other times, it feels like the path forward has just disappeared into nothingness, and I can’t see a way forward.

It doesn’t matter how far I’ve come. It doesn’t matter how close I am to the goal. These times of being stuck seem to show up no matter what I did or where I was in the process.

I used to freak out each time this happened, thinking it was the end of all my plans and hopes. Then I started noticing that it was a constant that showed up faithfully every single time.

Once I recognized that it was just an inevitable part of the process, I was able to stop panicking and pay more attention to what was happening in the moment.

I’ve noticed that sometimes the stuck feeling comes because I’m moving too fast for my inner processing of the changes. This seems to be especially true in those times when I feel like I’ve run out of gas.

Being stuck slows me down in those times enough for my subconscious processing to catch up with me so that I can move forward again wholeheartedly.

Other times, the stuck places have been a result of me trying to force my way forward using outdated tools that no longer work. This is especially true in those times when I’ve hit a wall of obstacles that I just can’t seem to break through.

It’s only when I finally get so stuck that I’m willing to lay down old tools, responses, stories about the world (or myself), or ways of thinking that I’m able to develop the new tools I need to move into the future I’m aiming toward.

Unfortunately, I’m stubborn enough that it generally takes me quite a bit of throwing myself at the wall before I’m willing to step back and try a new way.

Either way, I’ve learned that being stuck at some point and feeling like I’ve completely lost my way is actually an absolutely necessary part of the process.

It’s still not a part of the process I enjoy. I’m still stubborn enough and impatient enough that I tend to make this place more difficult for myself than I need to, but I no longer panic, and I no longer think it’s THE END of my way forward.

I’ve learned to take it as a rather perverse kind of encouragement that I must be on the right road after all and turn my attention to figuring out what I need to gently free myself from the stuck place instead of giving up and retreating.

If you’re on a journey of healing the broken places in your life and feel completely stuck in moving ahead toward turning those wounds into scars of gold, I hope this offers you a bit of encouragement as well.

The stuck places never last forever (even when they feel like they will). Feeling stuck is a natural part of the process. This, too, shall pass.

How do you respond to the feeling of being stuck in your life?

What difference does it make to think of being stuck as an inevitable part of the process?

How does seeing it this way shift the way you feel about any places you might be stuck right now?


Image by PublicDomainPictures from Pixabay

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  1. Gigi Abdel-Samed

    I think of it as being in the hallways… I’ve left one room, but I don’t know where I’m going next. I wander down the dark hallway trying doors, waiting for one to open to show me what’s next. I used to get so frustrated with it. I’ve realized that I’m learning so much in the hallways. That being stuck isn’t stuck. It’s preparation. <3

    1. I love this description, Gigi! “Preparation” is a beautiful way to describe times like this, and your way of imagining this space makes that really come alive. Thank you so much for sharing it!

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