Published on May 11, 2020
Our mind is an incredible force that we are still working on understanding to this day. Sometimes we feel great and ready to tackle the world. But over time, as we grow and develop, new behaviors may begin to manifest in our lives.
Some are very helpful and give our lives structure while others will drive us to a point where we feel stuck. Emotionally stuck. It can be sparked from all kinds of things, and it’s challenging to overcome.
However, it is possible to overcome it. To get started, try considering the following.
Before becoming emotionally unstuck, you need to know why you are in this position in the first place. John Amodeo Ph.D., MFT wrote about why people are feeling stuck in life .
It’s all to do with one particular emotion: shame.
Several of us are quietly plagued with thoughts that we’re flawed or that we’re defective. Deep down, you may think that you’re a failure.
This level of shame is not something that can be easily spotted despite it being a painful emotion. Amodeo states that you may be numb to the pain due to just how painful it is.
Fortunately, Amodeo has observed this behavior time and time again and knows what to look for. From his observations, people who are emotionally stuck express at least one of these characteristics:
Shame is an emotion you don’t want to experience, so your body mentally responds by protecting you. This comes in many forms, but the most common is blaming others or shifting the argument so you’re taking less responsibility for your actions.
This is putting up the appearance that you are without flaws, and you spend a lot of time ensuring everything is meticulously done. It gets to the point that you won’t allow human error, which is bound to happen and stresses you out.
Shame prompts us to apologize or to be compliant. In some cases, shame can also prevent us from apologizing to avoid the risk of embarrassment.
While procrastination reasons can be endless, shame is one of those reasons. It comes from the shame of the potential failure if we commit to a task or project.
All of this makes sense as shame clearly leads to some form of paralysis, no matter how you look at it. You’re stuck because you:
Now that you have a deeper understanding of why you’re emotionally stuck, you need to work on getting unstuck. There are several ways to overcome it, but it all requires a great deal of mental work. Fortunately, there are methods you can do at home.
Or at least an area where you won’t be distracted. Once you have that spot, make a point of going there on a regular basis. Schedule some time on your calendar if you have to.
The purpose of this quiet place is to begin developing your inner voice. From there, you’ll be able to listen to it and begin to identify elements and emotions. By the end, you’ll be able to identify your emotions and know the root cause for them.
As you explore your inner voice, you’ll find that one emotion masks many others. For example, you may get angry about something, but it often masks deeper emotions like fear or pain. This step entails digging in and knowing what triggers what.
If you can’t identify your emotion properly or there are too many, observe yourself over the coming week and sit down again for another exploration session.
You start by asking a question: “Have I found the root of this emotion, or am I still on the surface?” For example, if you’re depressed, you’ll likely find frustration and sadness along with it. You want to make sure you are uncovering and identifying as many emotions as you can.
The idea of repeating steps one through three is to ensure that all your emotions are exposed. Again, you want to have a good understanding for why you react in a certain way and what is triggering it.
Emotions all create pathways in our minds, and we often go through the same sequence if we’re not conscious about our emotions.
Once you know your emotions, you need to dig deeper and know the precise triggers. For example, people experience depression because of a deep sense of loneliness. This could be triggered by past events or even upbringing.
With this step, you want to make sure your emotions are laid out. You don’t want to be covering them up, even though you may want to. The only way you’ll be able to overcome being emotionally stuck is to handle the emotion rather than burying it again.
You’re not going to be able to handle one emotion in each session. These things take time and, depending on the emotion you’re handling, it could be a painful experience.
Remind yourself that you can take a break and save other emotions for other sessions. If you’re making a habit of visiting your quiet place often, you’ll overcome this.
You should also avoid people who will drag you down or judge you. Since you’ll have a firmer understanding of your emotions, you’ll know what’ll trigger what.
This is an important time to take breaks for sessions, as well as from certain people or activities.
Being emotionally stuck is about knowing what is triggering certain emotions and actions. Getting unstuck is about realizing this, accepting it, finding the causes, and then making changes.
The time to get to this point varies from person to person. You might need a few sessions while others could take a few months. Either way, you want to make sure you have a grasp of your emotions and begin formulating a plan to start healing.
How to do this is to begin making changes in your life, surroundings, and habits. For example, if you feel that many of your friends’ actions are holding you back and making you act this way, begin finding new friends and branching out in that area.
Some other common examples are using affirmations or even making bigger decisions that throw you way out of your comfort zone. There are many approaches to take with this, but do what you think is best for you.
That’s easier said than done as people can relapse. The trick is to set boundaries and expectations for yourself. If you don’t want to be around specific people, tell them you are doing something necessary for your health and well being.
Some other things are to keep yourself in check by looking at your emotions from time to time. Ensure you are going down a path you want to go down and that you’re happy with it. This can include meditation or journaling to identify and work with your emotions on a regular basis.
Being emotionally unstuck comes down to taking action and holding yourself more responsible for what you do. At the same time, you can handle it in a way where you can keep moving forward and be comfortable with your decisions.
When you feel emotionally stuck, it’s fair to chalk it up to the shame of an event that you are refusing to acknowledge. This shame has lead you down this path where you feel paralyzed and, well, stuck.
By uncovering that shame and coming to terms with it, you’ll be able to formulate a plan and begin to change your life. It’s that simple, but as you can tell, this requires mental fortitude and being able to handle painful emotions that you have naturally suppressed.
Take all the time you need to get unstuck. This is all part of your journey for more growth and freedom.
Featured photo credit: Joshua Rawson-Harris via unsplash.com