Sometimes, regardless of season, you sense that the light, and energy, in your life is about to change. It may feel as though things have become darker or more subdued, or you may feel you’re about to have a breakthrough or an epiphany, and afterward nothing will be the same.
Often when we find ourselves in the proverbial dark, all we want to do is rush through it to get back into the light. We struggle and fight, we become angry or withdrawn; in other words, we don’t trust the process. We don’t believe that we should be here and because “here” can be a place of incredibly squirmy discomfort and we don’t want to take the time to learn the lessons we need to learn that will help us once we reemerge.
By taking this approach, you doom yourself to repeat the process: no learning, no growth, only avoidance. Instead, take a moment to get comfortable right where you are and use these three tips to guide yourself slowly back toward the light.
Listen to Your Intuition and Take Your Time
Because society encourages us to constantly put on a brave face and show up each day dressed as a gladiator ready for battle, feeling stuck or lost is viewed as weakness and failure. Let me assure you; nothing could be further from the truth.
Feeling stuck, insecure, or wandering around without direction are all messages that we have lost our way and need to step back, slow down, and listen to ourselves. And all this stepping back, slowing down, and listening is asking us to look inward and shine our own internal light, not look outward for quick fixes and band-aids that mask real issues.
Asking yourself the following questions can help you tune in to what you and help you take small actions that can move you toward feeling better.
- What do my mind, body, and spirit need right now?
- How can I take better care of myself?
- What one thing can I stop doing that will bring me more energy?
- What choice can I make each day to feel more content?
- Who can I talk to about how I’m feeling without fear of judgment?
Get Intentional About Choices
How often do you go through the day on autopilot? Our work and/or home environments may be chaotic and leave us feeling like we’re only able to react, not respond with thought and reflection. Constant stress that forces you to react instead of choosing the best response leads to feelings of powerlessness. These feelings only reinforce the perspective that we’re flailing around in the dark.
To get out of autopilot and overcome the discouragement that can come from feeling powerless, start noticing where you react the same way and take a moment to ask yourself why. Is your reaction driven by an expectation you have put on yourself or one that is put on you by others? Is this expectation even real? Have you taken the time to explore other answers and responses?
Being intentional about choices is incredibly empowering because you are always at choice. What this means is, you may not enjoy the consequences of some choices, but you have free will to make them. You are also always at choice in how you respond to the decisions of others. Try looking at choices from a standpoint of “both / and” instead of “either / or” and see how powerful that can be.
Getting intentional about choices around your time, energy, and wellness can, over time, help you feel more confident, motivated, and secure which will, in turn, help you feel as though you are the creator of your life instead of it being dictated to by others.
Wield the Sledgehammer and the Chisel
To grow and to allow ourselves to wander back to the light, we must learn when to wield the sledgehammer and bust through barriers with force and when to slowly and methodically chisel away at an obstacle. Both tools can and should be part of your toolkit, and the wisdom is in learning when to use each one.
Sometimes growth comes all at once and sometimes it comes over time. Don’t be fooled into following the crowd and always reaching for the sledgehammer. Sometimes using the smaller tool and working at your own pace will yield greater results and allow you to be more prepared when you achieve the breakthrough you were hoping for.
Using the sledgehammer can be useful in smashing through big obstacles but ineffective (and downright counterproductive) when working with minor tweaks. Notice where you have a habit of not using the right tool; where are you afraid to use the sledgehammer? Are you wasting time and energy chiseling away at a big problem when in fact what you need to do is just bust it with the sledgehammer?
Breaking out of a rut or a funk and finding your way back to the light is an ongoing process and one you may experience in different ways throughout your life. By taking time and tuning in to your intuition, being intentional about choices, and using the right tools, you can move from feeling discouraged and lost to content and confident.
None of us are broken.
We are simply trying to break through and be who we’re supposed to be, one change, one shift,
one step at a time.