capturing the beautiful calamity of healing in therapy

The S.T.U.C.K Series: Part 2

I know what I need to do, but I just can’t do it. 

In the first part of this series, I described the foundation for my S.T.U.C.K theory, outlining the acronym “scared to undergo change and/or knowledge.”

Feeling stuck is one of the most prevalent problems I work with- no matter the population or demographic. Stuck is a state of helplessness- a miserable one- and it keeps us fearful, ashamed, and stagnant.

Many people exhibit basic knowledge regarding their own sense of being stuck. They will speak of their patterns and vices, relive their same stories and sagas, talk about how they know they should be acting differently.

This insight, while undeniably important, is merely a foundation. And while insight can lead us to the pathway for change, it does not inherently evoke change.

Like most things in therapy and in life, the answer for how to feel “less stuck” is both simple and complicated. To be blunt, working through means doing something different. It’s taking action. Usually, it’s taking some kind of risk- despite the fear in the back of your mind. It’s moving, despite the desire, to stay in the comfort zone.

To get out of being stuck, we have to be willing to move. 

We have to explore alternative options, take an open stance, and have a solid understanding that, with any given situation, there is always more than one option- and more likely than not, there are several options.

If change is the only constant, we have to be willing to play the game. If we sit out, if we choose to watch the action from the sidelines, we let the game play us.

This may not be comfortable, but growth does not happen in the comfort zone. Baby steps matter. Every step matters. Each of them serve a valuable purpose and a necessary lesson.

And because every step matters, working through is easier when you fall in love with the process. Doing so allows for increased gratitude for your present moment and present journey. Such behavior naturally reduces fear;. as gratitude lends hand to mindfulness, and mindfulness counteracts the anxiety of our ambiguous futures. We learn to trust ourselves, our instincts, and our universe. We learn to travel without necessarily having a detailed road map.

In a sense, the process matters far more than the end result, because any profound lesson or experiences we undergo helps reinforce the patterns and strengths we will use to carry us through other journeys. Our current selves learn to take care of our future selves.

“Working through” means choosing to live as proactively as possible. It means seizing life- in however way we need to define it. When we are seizing, we are rarely stuck. Instead, we are free to make our own choices and changes. We are spontaneous and open. Most importantly, we are willing. If we find ourselves in the reverse situation, if our lives are driving us, we lose that freedom. By driving your own car, you make the final call, even when you are not entirely sure whether or not is the best one. Additionally, it means trusting that, even if it does not work out in our favor, we will be wise enough and resourceful enough to make something else work.

This is all scary, but it can also be worth it. If we let fear dictate our decisions, we let fear guide our lives. If we let fear guide our lives, we stay stuck. And if we stay stuck, we tend to feel helpless, insecure, and inadequate. And these are the feelings that drive people to therapy.

 

Humans thrive on change; we are more resilient than we give ourselves credit for; we are wired to grow and adapt, to mold, and to move. We need change to survive, and if we weren’t designed for it, the human race wouldn’t exist the way it does today. Adapting to change keeps our species alive, and in essence, the ones who can readily move through this flow are the ones most likely to survive.

Be scared. Be terrified, even. But know that, underneath that fear, lies an enormous capacity for capability, resourcefulness, and strength.