Stuck Between a Rock and a Hard Place?

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It’s a tough place to “breathe.” Especially when you feel the walls closing in no matter what you do.

Apparently, many of us share the same destination of that rock and a hard place, the conditions vary for each of us, but it looks something like this:

1. You’re out of work, you have been for a really long time. Something comes along (after a ton of effort), it looks like the answer to what you need, only to find yourself right back where you started.

2. You’re in a relationship, which it seems no matter what you communicate with your mate and what you both “wholeheartedly” agree to, nothing ever changes.

3. You’ve worked on yourself ad nauseum, stripping away all that isn’t real or that doesn’t work for you, only to find you are still in the same place with your life circumstances. You changed, but your life did not.

4. You are working at one or maybe two jobs to support yourself or your family. You dislike what you do (or it’s just overwhelming) to the extent that just showing up each day is a challenge. You feel you can’t quit and you can’t stay, no matter what you do…it always is the same.

5. You start dating, you feel you know what you want and you feel confident in that space. The issue is you either keep attracting the same type of person or no one at all. You feel doomed for crappy relationships or to be alone forever.

Those are just a few scenarios, which came to mind. The holidays seem to exacerbate these issues for many and make one feel even more stuck in their unwanted circumstances.

I have found a few things can help to alleviate the powerless feeling. 

1. Acceptance. As hard as it is, when you let go of the internal resistance to your situation, you feel better. It may not solve your issue, but at least you can start to breathe.

2. Change your thoughts. I notice when Im in a place of doom and gloom, I get tired of thinking the same repetitive thoughts, it not only wears me out mentally–it has a physical toll. When you can catch some negative thoughts flying around, just stop em’ or change em’. At the very least you won’t have the mantra repeating itself in your head.

3. Put out the effort. Even though you’ve planted a bazillion seeds, keep planting more. One day your garden will grow. Don’t want to be alone? Keep dating. Don’t like your job? Keep on looking for a new one. Your relationship is just a hardship? Find the soft spots and focus on them. Without a job? Look in different places, get creative, talk to people…plant more seeds.

4. Let go. Lose the picture in your head of how you believe things are supposed to be. Just let things be the way they are, while you continue to participate the goal. The goal may look different when you get there, just allow it to develop, evolve…watch the signs that things are unfolding–it may take awhile, but it will move forth.

5. Focus on joy. Wherever you can find joy, go for it. If you love to paint; start painting. If you want to start a business you are passionate about–work on it an hour a day. If you are single and love to help; volunteer somewhere. Whatever your joy is…invest in it, especially when you are in a hard place.

Just a short list of techniques I use all the time. As you start to do these things, even if your situation remains uncomfortable, painful, et al… at least you can start to feel somewhat better. : )

It’s such a struggle!

Struggle

Every single person has issues.

The only thing setting us apart from one another is our perception of struggle.

How do you see your struggles?

For some of us those issues overwhelm and overtake life.

It can be the subject of every conversation you have with other people.

Is it your daily drama?

Do you keep the drama alive by talking about it and taking no action to change it?  And what if you are taking action to change it, but you see no tangible results?

Sometimes it isn’t that we even share these struggles with others. Perhaps, we take ourselves out of the game, hibernating and avoiding others, so we don’t have to answer the dreadful question, “How are you?”

If we all have problems why are we less understanding of certain issues that someone we know is going through?

Why do we just want someone to get over it or move on? Is it a lack of patience or something deeper? Perhaps, we see ourselves in their shoes and it hits too close to home; we may prefer to stop the topic cold in its tracks.

Our society loves winners!

We especially love the story of how someone struggled to overcome great odds and became the hero; the winner!

How much struggle is too much struggle?

When do you throw in the towel? What if “quit” isn’t in your vocabulary?

If you hang on for the ride long enough will you eventually hit calmer waters?

Like so many things it’s a matter of personal perspective usually mixed with what everyone around you is willing to put up with from your state of struggle.

If you have people around you urging you to give up, do something else, leave or just get over it, how hard is it to stand your ground if you believe you need to endure to the bitter or sweet end?

Lots o’ questions, but to me the bottom line when it comes to struggle….

”What’s your goal?”

Know it and let it provide many answers.

Even with struggle, do you feel the excitement in every molecule of your being; it’s your joy and your focus?  To stop and give up may feel like a death to your dreams. It could leave you with a deep sense of regret for years to come.

If your goal provides this connection, the struggle may be born of your external circumstances.

The external circumstances can tip off the internal struggle, make you question yourself and wonder sometimes what’s possible? And the more you let it weigh you down the more struggle and farther away the goal becomes.

Now on the other hand, if you know your goal, but aren’t enthused, because it feels like you “have to do it,” then the seed of your struggle is internal.

External obstacles, probably serve to irritate you, while confirming, that the goal ain’t based on your own inner truth.

When you reach this goal, you maybe relieved. Quickly followed by a sense of bitterness, sadness, or other regret, because you weren’t doing what you really wanted to do. Rarely, is there a sense of fulfillment.

Struggle.

Focusing on the obstacle creates a sense of battle or being battle weary. It can be harder to focus on your goal, when you get caught up in the struggle. And if you don’t want to do it, it’s even more painful.

Many stay in a state of constant struggle. It’s life-defining.

Some have it flip on and off like a light switch. The ones who are doing everything to work through their obstacles, can have days, which make even the most dedicated question what they are doing.

How do you know if you should stick with it?

First. Know your goal.

Second. Define what your goal means to you. Meaning, what will it do for you once achieved?

Third. Why do you want the goal? Is it for your sake, or someone else’s idea of what you should do to be a good person, better spouse, parent, friend, employee or employer?

Fourth. When you imagine yourself attaining your goal with your meaning achieved; are you fulfilled, relieved, happy, sad, etc…? Once you know how you feel step 5 is easy.

Fifth. If you know you’ll be fulfilled and happy achieving the goal, then commit to it wholeheartedly. Don’t let anything stand in your way, enjoy the ride. See the struggle as temporary and know you are living life on your terms. Even if you have to make a left turn, just make sure you can get back on that road. When we have a sense of ownership over what we are doing it changes how we view struggle.

If step four meant you’ll feel regret, sadness, or relief in attaining the goal. Then it’s probably time you sat down and figured out what you want for you. You’re the only one who can make you happy. And sacrificing for others never feels good to anyone, because everyone around you is experiencing your struggle.

No matter where your struggle is take a step back and see what you can do toward your goal that isn’t a struggle, just for the moment. And maybe while you are focused elsewhere, the obstacles may start to resolve themselves.

p.s. check out my pocket guides to the right, you can download them for FREE. : )