One of my favorite prayers that I’d been taught growing up was “Lord, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.” Whether you are religious or not, I don’t think it is hard to see the teaching that this prayer provides.
In life, we are in a constant struggle of acceptance. We have to accept many things, such as how we look: our frame, our assets and our imperfections. We have to accept the family we’ve been given and all of the ways they terrorize us. We also have to accept the way society is built, the way people behave and how we are forced to wear clothing 95% of the time. As much as we may fight these things, some aspects of our existence will always remain constant, and there is nothing we can do about it.
This acceptance struggles with the things that we can change, or at least think we can change. Things like our job, where we live, or how we act around others. We can change who we hang out with, what we eat every day, where we go and what we do. With all of the advancements in plastic surgery, we could even make ourselves look like Kim Kardashian. Seriously. There are an endless amount of choices we can make that can change the course of our lives for the next few days or even until we die, and we can make these choices at any time.
So why don’t we? Why don’t we change whatever we want about our lives.
Well, sometimes acceptance and change clash, creating what I call the feeling of “being stuck”.
Being stuck is when we want to change an area of our lives so bad but have no choice to accept it. And it kills us to accept it. Those with disabilities come to mind, where they are physically unable to do certain things or go certain places. Maybe we have financial boundaries where we are forced to make a certain amount of money due to loans or debt. This keeps us stuck in a job or location whether we’d like to continue there or not. Sometimes being stuck can be due to moral obligations like having to take care of a sick family member, compelling us into hours of providing for someone else.
Whatever the case, some situations we may be unable to change. These situations can increase our feelings of anxiety, depression and helplessness. Being stuck can become agonizing with each passing day and, for many, things will never change.
But, there is hope. Below I have created 5 tips to help overcome this feeling of being stuck and enable us to make the best of a bad situation. First…
- Seek help
Just because we may be feeling stuck in a certain situation doesn’t mean we can’t make an effort to improve upon it. One of the first ways to make them easier is to seek help.
Regardless of our situation, I can almost guarantee that someone else in history has gone through a similar predicament. From being broke and homeless, to being disabled or diseased, to having helpless family members or evil doers trying to ruin their life; there is someone out there who has been through what we’re going through and came out on the other side.
Find these people and seek their wisdom. Maybe they’ve written a book about the subject or run a blog. Maybe it’s a close friend whose felt this way before or a co-worker. Regardless, there are people out there who can help us or inspire us to keep pushing through the feeling of being stuck and can provide helpful tips that are specific to the situation. See what they have to say; any wisdom could help.
- Focus our thoughts
One of the biggest reasons we are constantly feeling stuck is because we constantly remind ourselves of how stuck we are.
For example, I am up to my balls in student loans and pretty much have no choice but to hold a steady job in order to pay them back without accruing more interest or having bad credit. Aside from this, my life is pretty good and I love where I live, but it can get hard when I start to feel like I can’t leave even if I wanted to.
We need to learn to focus on what is making us happy and how much we have to gain instead of limitations that life has brought upon us. It is counterproductive to depress ourselves with these thoughts. Let’s focus on what we can change and let the other areas work themselves out.
- Ignore the negativity
Negativity can come in many forms when we’re stuck such as ridicule from relatives, self-doubt or self-loathing about what life has given us. We can often let the weight of this negativity weigh us down and ruin our happiness.
Maybe a relative that we take care of is negative about life and that negativity is spreading on to us. Maybe we are upset that we weren’t born skinny or born with the typically gifts others are given like sight, hearing, or all of our body parts. Maybe we feel that life has it out for us and that it is unfair to be put in our situation.
We don’t need this kind of negative thinking in our lives. Our mind is like a bank: it stores all our active thoughts and the words we hear all day, replaying them over and over to create our feelings about our life. Remove the negative feelings and replace them only with positive thoughts and affirmations.
- Make changes elsewhere
Let’s say we’ve thought of every possible way to try and change our current situation and it’s just not in the stars. Like it or not, we’re going to have to get used to the way things are.
That doesn’t mean that we can’t change other areas of our life. We can find new hobbies, build new skills, new relationships and new experiences. We can strive to improve our life or the lives of others who has similar challenges or feel the way we feel. Change little things like the ways we go to work, the morning routine or our attitude when we are forced to do something we don’t enjoy. These little changes will keep us feeling fresh and eliminate the feeling of being stuck.
- Love ourselves
Loving ourselves is more than just loving who we are or the person we’ve become. Loving ourselves is being kind to ourselves. It’s forgiving ourselves for mistakes, picking our head up when we fail and rewarding ourselves when we have accomplishments. The feeling of being stuck often comes when we are too hard on ourselves.
Take it easy! Life is just a roller coaster ride of emotion and everything will work out in the end.
Be good to yourselves for goodness sake.