It’s easy to talk about how to change your life when you are in a place of growth, but what about how to change your life when you feel stuck? When you find yourself in a hole dug from disempowerment, overexertion, emotional withdrawal, and apathy — and you’re good and stuck — how do you climb back out? The short answer to how to change your life when you feel stuck is to stay engaged and not give up. The long answer (the answer to, “yeah that’s great Kate, but how do I actually DO that?”) is a little more complex and takes a little more personal power.
An idea I often stress in my work is that it’s not the situation you are in, but the way you react to it, that defines your life experience. Your personal power to change your life lies in your ability to define how you react to life. I won’t pretend this is always easy… It’s easy to feel disempowered when reading the news, hearing that a loved one is sick, or finding yourself the brunt of someone’s road wage on your way to work (Leave it to Life to challenge your personal power on the daily…). The key here is not to fall into emotional withdrawal from the world, lest you find yourself in that proverbial hole of stuck-ness. Instead, react with “positive action.”
Throughout life we experience and witness so much negativity that employing “positive action” can sometimes seem a laughable (or sick) joke. How could our actions make a positive difference or have a lasting impact on this ever-changing, vast, often-harsh world? Me? Me, end hatred, hunger, and abuse? Me, ensure social equity, education for all, and protections for our planet? These are impossible-seeming questions and, when we don’t come up with answers, we stop ourselves from seeking solutions.
The hard truth is that, no matter how hopeless action may seem, apathy is noxious. Giving up in the face of adversity will leave you feeling like a half a person, and it demotes the people around you. The answer to how to change your life when you feel stuck, or how to change the world, is to ask different questions. Instead of trying to answer “What can I do to change the world?” (we don’t know, Batman), try “What can I do right now to create something good?,” “Who can I call right now to bring a moment of joy into the world?,” and “Where I can I lend the time I do have?”
The tools you need to change your life when you feel stuck are the same that you need to change the world. They are love, truth, and compassion. I believe that the entire world benefits when you choose to build your life with these tools. Equipped with these three holistic healing tools, you can approach adversity with positive action and transform your world. The answer to how to change your life when you feel stuck lies within you — it always has, and it always will.
If you think you need help bringing love, compassion, and truth to each situation you face, you’re not alone. While we have the inherent ability to do this, the capability takes practice. One resource you can rely on is focused practice of these skills. This is why I developed programs like my LifeWork Community — to provide the tools and the opportunity to practice new ways of being. Another resource is self-education and self-reflection. Below, I’ve provided some more depth on what our toolkit of Love, Truth, and Compassion look like in action. Take a read.
HOW TO CHANGE YOUR LIFE WHEN YOU FEEL STUCK: THE TOOLKIT
“Hatred does not cease by hatred, but only by love; this is the eternal rule.” — Buddha
Love is the most powerful, world-changing tool we have. I’m fully aware of how Pollyanna this sounds. My challenge to you, though, is this: try it! Get your heart broken, feel disrespected, lose something you really cherish, and see how quickly you can move on from the negativity you feel into LOVE. It takes a high degree of awareness and sophistication to experience our negativity and move beyond it into a place of love. Anyone who has walked this path knows that this is the way of a REAL bad-ass.
The first thing we need to do is cultivate love inside ourselves. To do this we need to hunt down the barriers to love that live within us more ferociously than we hunt down barriers to love in the world outside us.
This does not mean that we turn hatred toward these parts of ourselves. It means we see them, accept them and let them go.
“If you bring forth what is within you, what you bring forth will save you. If you do not bring forth what is within you, what you do not bring forth will destroy you.” — Jesus Christ
Truthfulness is a time-honored and respected trait. To be truthful is to be honest and trustworthy. It requires a commitment to speaking and acknowledging the truth, and to acting with integrity. When we have our truth we also have our respect and love.
While philosophically there are many types of truth, the truth I’m talking about here has a dynamic holism that is much more easily experienced than written about. There is a paradox around truth, though, and it’s this: truth does not make anything untrue.
Whenever you negate something, there is a lie present. Truthfulness allows for multiple perspectives in a way that honors each of those perspectives. One very common example of this is that if you make yourself wrong you’re not living your truth – nor are you allowing others to live theirs.
“No man is a true believer unless he desireth for his brother that which he desireth for himself.” – Muhammad
To be compassionate is to open your heart to the suffering of others. Compassion, to me, is a healing action. When we offer compassion to ourselves or others we are, in fact, healing ourselves or others. One of the best ways to practice compassion is to tend to our own pain and suffering. Without a doubt, one thing we gain from our own hardship is an ability to give love to others while they experience hardship of their own.
Still, sometimes we might find ourselves feeling closed off or judgmental about others who are in a difficult spot. We can feel wronged and, because of this, feel justified in wanting understanding from the other person. When we do this, we withhold our compassion and do not give our understanding to the person we feel wronged us.
If you want to have an impact on the world, each time you feel wronged stop and take a moment to understand the other person’s perspective.
To change your life when you feel stuck, learn how to effect positive action in the world. Suit up with a toolkit of Love, Truth, and Compassion, and go deep. While I’m certainly not knocking it, you don’t need to start a movement or become a politician to have a positive impact. Focus on being a better person and sharing this with the world, and you’ll elicit transformation in ways you couldn’t have imagined. The skills you need are simple and within the reach of every single one of us. If you need practice or guidance, click here to check out my LifeWork Community program.
I will leave you with this quote from Rumi. “Listen with the ears of tolerance. See through the eyes of compassion. Speak with the Language of love.”
P.S. If you haven’t seen State Farm’s recent “Neighborhood of Good” ad, I can tell you they frickin’ nail this whole issue right on the head. The ad sums up this whole article in a 2:00 minute video that makes it abundantly clear that the best way to make change and lift the weight of the world from your shoulders is to take action. Watch it here → https://youtu.be/VuyhmA5YAu8 . P.P.S. I’m not getting paid to say that, it is genuinely a very poignant video.