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Trapped Inside the Wall

Do you ever feel like you can't escape the patterns of your life? Sometimes people get so used to their life patterns or the walls they have built, even if they are unhealthy, that they can't imagine life on the outside. Their normal is very different from others, but they don't know any better. They've acclimated to their environment and adapted to the dysfunctional surroundings and are convinced that everyone deals with similar issues.  They may feel completely powerless or helpless to change their situation.  Whether it's a relationship, job, or lifestyle, many people get stuck and can't find their way out.  Sometimes they stay because turmoil and chaos are what they grew up with and it feels familiar. Other times they don't have the resources to remove themselves from an unhealthy situation.  Often getting out of a bad situation is harder than staying in.  Of course fear and insecurity can contribute to our paralysis, but often we incorrectly assume and anticipate a bad outcome.  We may also be concerned about the impact of change on the people we love and assume they would rather we stay put. What keeps you stuck from making a change?

Sometimes even good changes can be difficult to put into action. Many of us don't like change and prefer to keep the status quo. Change often involves risk, sacrifice, and commitment. So often we spend too much time in our heads and eventually talk ourselves out of making a change. Certainly we need to make informed and educated decisions which may require time and research. But how do we not allow fear or insecurity to keep us stuck? Start by acknowledging your fears and then generate strategies to work through them, such as journaling, problem-solving, and/or disputing irrational fears. When we accept our fears and allow them to flow through us while moving forward with our choices, we take back the power from the fears. We can empower ourselves by identifying other times in our life when we've overcome adversity. Even writing down our strengths and resources that have enabled us to survive or even thrive despite hardship is helpful.

The wall may be one that you've created, but it doesn't really exist. We can easily find excuses to remain stuck and stay secure in our own space. Getting out of our comfort zone can produce growth and empowerment. It may be helpful to visualize the life you desire and write down steps to get you there. Also identify specific goals and outline a game plan to achieve those objectives. Even small progress and minor changes can produce some momentum and positive movement. It helps to have an accountability person and a support network to encourage you and keep you on track. Lastly work on building up your self-esteem through the words you say to yourself and by treating yourself with respect and kindness. Remember we teach others how to treat us by the way we treat ourselves. Take action over remaining stuck in reaction.

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