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.
“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.”
Emotional intimacy is something that most everybody longs to experience. The feeling of a significant connection to another living being is an essential ingredient of your emotional and spiritual well-being. However, despite the importance of emotional intimacy to one’s emotional and spiritual well-being, creating and maintaining emotional intimacy with your partner can be oftentimes confusing, even a confounding proposition to undertake.
Just what is emotional intimacy? Emotional intimacy is a type of connection that exists between two people. People create emotional intimacy through open and honest communication—specifically, by expressing to your partner thoughts and feelings about who you are, how each of you experiences the present moment with one another, and fulfilling the emotional needs of each other.
Does such freedom exist in your relationship(s)—the freedom to openly express yourself without fear of judgment or retaliation? If so, what have you and your partner done to create such an environment? If open and honest communication does not exist in your relationship, what do you and your partner do to censure open and honest communication?
Did you notice that in my explanation of emotional intimacy I emphasized that emotional intimacy is the result of sharing how each person experiences the present moment. This is a specific critical skill that can greatly enhance the quality of your relationship(s). Being able to effectively reveal yourself by expressing how you’re experiencing the present moment is what enables your partner to know you, understand you, and most importantly be there for you. That, my friend, is what brings two people closer and closer together—knowing who your partner is, knowing what is important to your partner, and the willingness to let your partner express those things to you!
Your ability to express your thoughts and feelings about how the present moment impacts you enables your relationship to continually renew itself and deepen the sense of involvement you feel with your partner. Emotional intimacy deepens only when you are willing to share who you are and be open to your partner expressing to you who they are? So when you experience your relationship as being stale, when you experience yourself drifting away from your partner, when you find yourself longing for the type of connection with your partner that is nurturing, take the risk of creating a dialogue with your partner that enables each of you to reveal yourself to the other.
Bridge Builder’s Tips
1) Reveal yourself to your partner by expressing how you’re experiencing the present moment.
2) Keep it safe for your partner to express their experience of the present moment to you. 3) Honor rather than judge what your partner reveals to you about themselves and the present moment.
4) Acknowledge how you’re affected by what your partner reveals about themselves to you.
5) Express your appreciation to your partner for their willingness to risk exposing who they are to you.
6) Reciprocate with your partner by revealing who you are to them.
Want to learn more about how to create (and keep!) intimacy in your relationships? Listen to Dr. Kate’s next Real Answers Radio Show at 12pm EST on Thursday January 15th.
This article reposted from Alive and Well News
It is human to avoid. This trait probably even predates homo sapiens, by about a zillion years. The creatures who stayed in their holes in the ground survived, while the ones who ventured outside were eaten. It ain’t survival of the fittest. It’s survival of the most anxious.
The survival strategy of remaining frozen in your burrow clearly works to a point, but when used willy-nilly, it becomes hard to get anything done. It leads to that old bug-a-boo, procrastination. Freud’s favorite word, neurotic, can be defined as using a survival strategy after its outlived its usefulness. This genetic atavism leads to the number one problem that people present in my psychotherapy office: “I know what I should do – I even know what I wanna do – why don’t I do it?”
This monumental impediment and its fix, especially around creativity, is the subject of Steven Pressfield’s terrific little book, The War of Art.
Pressfield uses another old Freudian word to describe the problem: resistance. This progress-stopper has been called by lots of names: the gremlin, the devil, maleficent, the underminer, the underdog. Like anyone who has encountered the power of the thing that prevents us from writing that novel, inventing that app, working to end sexual abuse, or losing that fifty pounds, Pressfield knows that this is an uncanny force of indomitable strength, that by all appearances has a life of its own.
Pressfield tells us that the first thing we need to do to beat this damn thing is to acknowledge its existence and understand its power. Stay close to your friends, but get closer to your enemies, kind of thing. In pithy, compelling, powerful, and entertaining chapters, Pressfield does as good a job as anyone describing just what this nasty little demon is like. If you want to know what’s getting in your way, you’ll find the answer here.
The author then goes on to give us the solution. It’s also pretty simple: do it anyway. This requires, just in the beginning, feeling fear. Avoidance, or resistance, happens so we don’t feel the fear. Instead, we feel indifference, boredom, tiredness, laziness, or we come up with all kinds of excuses – my toenail itches, it’s too cold outside, my mother wasn’t nice to me – rather than feel the fear that actually doing something involves. So, if you take action, you will be scared. After all, you, in all probability, will screw up and fail. But who cares? It’s not like you are going to get eaten by a saber-toothed tiger.
Once you get through that hard part, and you devote yourself to the daily work come hell-or-high-water, then, Pressfield tells us, a miraculous thing happens. Other forces – benevolent forces – come to our aid. The devil has us if we are sitting on the couch with our fingers up our noses. But the minute we just start and practice, something like God comes to visit.
Here, Pressfield is right on. He tells us not to wait for passion or inspiration, because it isn’t there in the beginning. We don’t get it for free. Inspiration is a gift we receive for hard work. It comes long after we begin.
I’ve watched these powers at work over and over again in my own, and others, lives, and I’ve tried to enlighten my clients about this about every way I could think of. But Pressfield lays it out better than I can manage. The only part I don’t like is when he tells people not to go to therapy! Having tried every technique against this formidable foe, I accept that there’s no magic formula to what is gonna hit the magic button for someone.
Just buying the book, and even reading it, is no guarantee of getting the message. When that inner critic is in force, he can even snark out Pressfield’s sage advice. But don’t listen to that cigar chomping skeptic that sits on your left shoulder who tells you that Pressfield doesn’t know what he’s talking about. Pressfield isn’t somebody who found it all easy and just gets to lord it over us mortals with his elephant poop wisdom. It took Pressfield seventeen years to have his inner breakthrough. And when he did, at fifty-two, he finally sold something. He wrote The Legend of Bagger Vance, which was turned into a movie directed by Robert Redford, starring Will Smith, Matt Damon, and Charlize Theron. Now, if that’s not a proof that miracles come to those who just keep doing it, I don’t know what is.
reblogged from www.glennberger.net Dr. Berger is a Dr. Berger is a psychotherapist, relationship counselor, business coach, artist coach, and young person’s mentor.
“Relationships are mysterious. We doubt the positive qualities in others, seldom the negative. You will say to your partner: do you really love me? Are you sure you love me? You will ask this a dozen times and drive the person nuts. But you never ask: are you really mad at me? Are you sure you’re angry? When someone is angry, you don’t doubt it for a moment. Yet the reverse should be true. We should doubt the negative in life, and have faith in the positive.” ― Christopher Pike, Remember Me
The holiday season brings up feelings of stress and lack for many of us. I personally find myself thinking about the gifts I cannot afford to buy, the tensions in my family relationships and the things that did not happen in a year drawing to a close.
I came across the above quote today and it spoke to me very strongly and inspired me to try to reframe all that is to come in the next weeks. I am personally committing to being more positive, during this time and end my year the way I hope to begin my new one – with compassion, patience and joy – and I invite you to take the challenge with me.
Lets commit to taking time to pause, to reflect and to focus on the good that we do have, not our places of lack. To focus on what is good and right about our lives and especially our relationships instead of the places where they are painful. To celebrate the end of the year by celebrating the areas of our life where there is abundance, where there has been growth and where we are proud and joyful.
One of the ways I am staying focused on the positive is by taking 10 minutes to write about what I am grateful for from now until the last day of the year. Join me in this exercise and lets end this year on a positive note no matter WHAT comes our way.
Blessings to you in this very special, potent and beautiful time of year!