Blogby Rosangela C. Taylor
Stuck in a rut? Here is how to unstuck in six steps
Photo by Anemone 123, Pixabay
It seems to happen to everyone, sooner or later. Getting stuck in a rut is not the end of the world, though. And this too shall pass. However, it can take a while to pass if you don’t take some steps to unstuck and see the light again. You don’t want to dwell in your cozy rut until you get so accustomed to its shadows that you forget how much brighter and better it is outside.
In my experience, we fall into that proverbial rut when we slip on complacency or stumble on inflexibility, losing sight of passion, motivation, and excitement for life.
We all have some kind of special interest in something. Most people have several great interests to pursue – it’s our natural state. It happens, though, that sometimes we lose track of our genuine interests (perhaps because we embrace or prioritize other people’s interests?). Then, we are no longer motivated or passionate about who we are, or our job, or where we live, or our relationships, or our whole life. That’s when we start to feel constricted. Our lives become a series of days filled with obligations and appearances, but no fun, no excitement, no challenges igniting the intellect, no healthy amount of adrenaline, no thrills warming up the body and seducing the mind.
That’s a dull life, to put it mildly. Then, you assume you cannot do anything to change such a situation, either because it’s usually someone else’s responsibility, or, to change it you’d have to destroy something, or lose something, or take risks. So, no, it’s safer or more convenient just to keep the status quo – that’s what many people end up doing; then they fall into the rut.
The origin of the fall
It starts with our tendency to rely on external things and accomplishments to be happy. We idealize a situation, a job, a partner, a place, and many things that would bring us what we really need and want: total happiness. If what we are experiencing, though, is very different from that idealization, we begin to grow tired of that reality. Routine and lack of expansion suffocate us and suddenly we don’t want to be committed to those things anymore. But, we keep going because most of the time we have to. And, unhappily, we march through life. Unfulfilled, lacking perspectives, but we keep going… Right into the rut.
Falling into the rut is not the problem. It’s actually quite natural after any given period of stability and routine, which can cause rigidity and stiffness in our perceptions. Staying there for too long, though, is the problem. That’s when you get really stuck.
Once in the rut, some people recoil in frustration, bitterness, and apathy, becoming even more complacent and giving up trying to climb out of the rut; others, become highly stressed, imbalanced, and sick. Still, others try to mend the situation by adding some external elements of joy, which may be a temporary fix. But it doesn’t last.
How does it happen?
From my own experience, I have detected six traps that lead us to get stuck in a rut. I’ve noticed it happens when we:
1) can’t seem to find bliss in simple things anymore;
2) allow ourselves to be spiritually and intellectually limited;
3) resist our feelings and experiences, instead of going with the flow;
4) insist on keeping old paradigms, even though they are not benefiting us;
5) get used to complaining and reacting (instead of learning and responding) to life’s situations;
6) lack self-love, which mitigates our motivation and enthusiasm for life.
From time to time, we all may find ourselves in any of those situations. When we notice it (and it’s crucial that we notice it!) we must reverse the situation. Here is how:
1) Let it Flow
When you can’t seem to find bliss in simple things anymore, life becomes dull and boring. To reverse that feeling remember that life is what it is, and good or bad, right or wrong are only social concepts. Life will carry on, the way it must. So, bliss actually resides in the acceptance of what is, doing what can be done, yes, but without fighting. It is fighting – or simply resisting accepting what is – that kills all the bliss within. It’s quite exhausting to go through life fighting and resisting everything; it puts you in a sad, stressful, constricted situation. So, when you catch yourself in such a state, say out loud, with firm intention, “Enough! No more resistance and rigidity! It’s time to let things flow as they must!”
Acceptance is the opposite of constriction. Therefore, acceptance brings freedom (it sounds like a paradox, but think about it and you will find it to be true). When you accept that which you cannot change you automatically relax, you loosen up your mind, your soul, your muscles. You fell free of mental attachments. You feel bliss again!
2) Enlighten Yourself
When you allow yourself to be spiritually and intellectually limited things can go awry. One way to reverse such limitations is to create relationships with positive and spiritually educated people. Listen to them, and try to see things from their angle. Not that you should always agree with them; the point is to be open to other perspectives and think about them.
Also, surround yourself with helpful, inspiring, and positive literature. Don’t just read books; study them. Self-help, or personal development, or spiritual teachings – whatever name you prefer – is serious business, not a pastime or mere curiosity. It’s your well-being that is at stake. Put yourself in studying mode. Reflect about everything, question what you learn, find answers that make sense, practice the good advice you read, make changes. It’s important to challenge your old concepts and beliefs. That’s how you change your paradigms about life, happiness, health, relationship, spirituality. If it’s not working the way it is, change it! By changing, you get unstuck.
3) Stop Fighting
When you resist your feelings and experiences you just create more of the same. Thus, the best way to stop resistance is by allowed yourself to be and feel what you are being and feeling. Are you feeling miserable? Allow it to be like so. As Dr. Karl R. Wolfe used to say, “Sit in your shit for a while” and it will pass. He was right. I did it and it passed. It’s like percolation: we must quietly allow for things to be, to pass through, to transform.
You mustn’t fight against your feelings, or they will become more resistant and strong. Then, let your thoughts detach from being miserable. Let the feelings go free. This is also a powerful healing process, which Hale Dwoskin explains very well in The Sedona Method.
Once you allow things to be as they are, the letting-go process is only but natural. Just observe the process, without naming it, judging it, or trying to explain or understand it, and you will begin to see changes. And you will feel more centered and motivated.
4) Change Your Paradigms
When you insist on keeping old paradigms, even though they are not benefiting you, you are simply perpetuating your suffering. Consider this: suffering is a result of stagnation; of holding onto and insisting on the very thing that causes the pain. The antidote for that, then, is to release what is limiting you.
Paradigms are, at large, the most limiting things for the human mind. You blindly believe in certain concepts, topics, opinions, and ways of seeing life. Those pre-determined ways of thinking become your masters. Then, you go through life believing those are the correct things to believe, to do, to think, to have, and to be. But once you change those paradigms you create a new life. At this point, you will be creating a new YOU. It’s like looking in a Magic Mirror and asking for a new interpretation of you. Clarity and new observations will allow you to see yourself without the blinds of self-pity, hopelessness, and resistance. You will begin to take control of your life again; be self-sufficient; have a mind of your own.
5) Respond wisely to situations
When you complain and react to life’s events you get very little pleasure and almost no growth from it. To change that, start observing and learning from life’s challenges; then, respond to situations with clarity, awareness, wisdom.
Remember that you are the only one who can change the way you perceive life. If you swiftly react with anger, complaints, judgment, or fear to things that happen against your will, you miss the opportunity to learn from them, and perhaps even to change them. But if you ultimately change the way you interpret things and instead of reacting you respond to them appropriately, you will be back to your center. You will be able to take control of yourself again, your objectives, your inner presence, your feelings, and your peace. To get to this point simply make a conscious effort to observe yourself.
Observe when you are ready to be mad, or deeply sad, or frightened. When you are about to cry, yell at someone, criticize, curse, explode in anger, or show harsh disapproval. Also, when you feel like gossiping, spreading bad news, talking about negative things, judging. All those actions (and many others you will discover) are reactions. That is, they don’t resolve anything (like responses do); they are just actions on top of other actions (thus, re-action). Observe all those reactions in yourself and stop them in their tracks. Then, respond to the situation you are facing with calm, compassion, clarity, and intelligence.
6) Love Yourself, No Matter What
When you lack self-love you lack everything. So, even after taking all the steps above if you don’t know what self-love is, you might have a hard time getting out of the rut. Or, if you do get out, you may easily fall down again simply because you haven’t mastered the art of loving yourself.
Love carries motivation and enthusiasm everywhere it goes. The same is true about the love you nurture in your heart, for yourself. For some people, this step seems quite obvious and simplistic. They say, “This doesn’t apply to me. Of course, I love myself.” In their concept, loving themselves is synonymous with liking and approving their smart attitudes, or their beautiful physical shape, or their success. Yes, those things can be a sign of self-love, too. But the most important aspect that many people miss out on is the feelings of love and compassion for themselves when the shit hits the fan. That is the moment to test your self-love!
When things are fine it is easy to say you love yourself. But when you get sick and take a long time to recover, or when you are above your ideal weight and no matter what you do it seems you can’t ever get thinner and healthier, or when you are financially ruined, or when your relationships are less than good… then you think something is wrong with you, don’t you?
That is a sign that you are not loving yourself. And that is what is wrong!
Perhaps the feeling is one of self-pity rather than self-love. And THAT is exactly what is wrong with you! So, to fix that you have to bring back that self-love, no matter what’s wrong in your perceived reality. If you are sick, heal yourself; if you are broke, look for ways to earn money; if you are surrounded by losers, get rid of them; if you need to lose weight, well… do what you must, but from a love and care standpoint, not from anger and desperation. I know that’s easier said than done, but don’t let this saying stop you from doing the things that must be done. Sometimes it’s so hard to accomplish what we want or need because we are using the wrong tools, we are stuck in old paradigms, or we are looking for solutions where they are not.
Speaking about that, I want to add a short note about releasing weight, if that has been a challenge for you. In my experience, unless you have real unhealthy eating habits, the solution for excess weight is not in your diet, but rather in your mind. It does not matter what you do: all types of weird (and dangerous) diets, all types of exercising programs, teas, pills, bariatric surgery (so sad!), quantum healing… you name it. If you don’t change your self first, if you don’t learn how to love yourself, you won’t get a permanent solution for your problem. So, as you see, it’s all about love! Self-love will keep you motivated and happy for life! With motivation and happiness in your heart, you won’t even pass near a rut! And you will bypass many other troubles and dis-eases as well.
Enjoy your process. It may take some time, but any time spent on bettering yourself is worth it when you compare it to the time you waste by being stuck in a rut.
Much Light to you,
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