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5 ways to get unstuck


Last weekend at the beach this surf rescue car got stuck in the deep sand. There was no way this car was moving again without using some tools for digging. A few passersby were offering their help, but the strangest thing happened. The surf lifesaver didn’t talk to them or give them any instructions on how they could help him to get the car moving again. Those helpers left one by one, with the result that the car was still stuck in the sand, going nowhere.

This reminded me of people who get stuck and find it difficult to take actions that would help them to get going again. Whether they are in an unsatisfying job, in an unhealthy relationship, or they are stuck in habits, on ideas and beliefs. It is not that they don’t try to get out, it is just that the strategies they use don’t seem to work and therefore keep them where they are. Sometimes all is needed is a new perspective – a new point of view…

Let’s do a short exercise. Take the room that you are in right now. Stand up and take a good look around. All seems probably familiar to you. Now put your head down, like you would want to touch your feet with your hands. In case you are a yoga master you can do a hand stand. Now take another look at your room. How does the room look like to you? Maybe a bit different, up side down, the corners seem to have transformed or you even discovered something new in there?

This is what happens when we take a fresh look at something we already seem to know. One of the ways to get a new perspective is to ask a friend for help. Though effective, many don’t consider this strategy as their first choice.

Find out how you can involve a friend and four other ways to get yourself unstuck:

Ask a friend for help
Some people might say, that they don’t want to be viewed as someone who is complaining all the time. Asking a friend for help is not complaining. On the contrary, you actually tell that person what you need from her/him. When we complain, we don’t let others how they can help us.
There are three things you need to do to make this work:

    - Make sure the person you ask is willing to be open and honest.
    - Whatever her/his response and comments, don’t try to defend your point of view. Just listen and be open.
    - Be specific about what you are experiencing and how your friend can help you. Sometimes expressing your experience in words is all it takes. Other times you might want to hear your friend’s feedback.

Create a temporary change
Sometimes when we are stuck we seem to dig ourselves deeper into the sand the more we dwell on it. It helps then to just stop what you are doing and do something else. Take a walk and enjoy what you see or close your computer, turn off your phone and enjoy doing nothing for 10 minutes.

Let go
Holding on to narrow views, to wishes, to an idea, an event or even conventions can result in getting ourselves stuck. Start to become aware what you are holding on to and write those things down. This will allow you to understand which views, ideas, or beliefs keep you stuck. Then you can start to…

Find new points of view of the situation
As discussed previously, we limit our options simply by the narrow way we see it. Look at the situation that you are stuck in, like you would observe a box. Take it in your hands. Play with it, turn it up side down, to the side, further away, closer by, look at the colours in different lights, and so on. Now be just as curious with the situation that you are in. It is not always easy to actively see things that we so long kept hidden. Try it anyway. What do you have to lose. You might find a way out. Start observing and describe what you see.

Make an assessment
Write down where you are now and where you want to be. Be honest to yourself, and just write it down with the intention of changing it. It is not about wallowing in it but to learn to be honest to yourself, no matter what you are thinking or feeling.

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