On Figuring Out What We Really Want When You Feel “Stuck”

In about a week we will be welcoming a new year again and it’s that time of the year when a lot of people start to think of New Year’s resolutions and goals. If you’re reading this you might sometimes feel like you’re the only person in the world who doesn’t seem to know what your calling is, whether you ever want to get married or have kids, or just that feeling of being “stuck.”

Your rational side knows that you are not the only one who feels these things, as alone as you may feel in the moment. That thought alone was enough to comfort me recently when I was having a moment.

I was having a conversation with a girlfriend who decided to make the very brave decision of temporarily living in a foreign country where she knows no one and does not speak the language in order to take time to figure out what she would like to do with her career upon returning to her home country. Understandably, she too was feeling very “alone” and needed someone to talk to.

In talking to my friend, it related back to all these other things in life that often seem uncertain. I said that I agreed with Steve Jobs’ school of thought on how people don’t know what they really want until they are shown what they want. I think a lot of us – even many of those who claim they know what they want – have ideas of what we want/don’t want.

Like when we make lists of qualities we look for in a mate – I’ve done it too, and I’ve written a whole book on lists! And when we do meet someone we end up falling in love with, that person may possess some of or many of the qualities we thought we would like. But then he/she may have all these other things about them that we didn’t even think to put on our list. Or if we thought we never wanted a mate – but then someone wonderful came along and changed our mind about the whole thing …

You might have to  go through several career changes before we find something we truly love to do. Or date and kiss a lot of frogs before we find a prince. Or move thirty times before we find a place where we truly feel at home. Even then, some people never get there. But I think the important thing is that we keep trying and believing that we just might get there at some point. At the end of our lives, isn’t better to know we at least did something or anything about it?

So if you feel stuck even after all the trying, give yourself a break. Giving yourself a break doesn’t mean to stop trying. But things often take time and patience which can be trying. Even if you’re feeling frustrated because you feel like you’re not getting any solutions as you’re thinking about what you should do, you’re still doing something. There are many people in this world who never even stop to think or question these things, ignoring their gut feelings or not even acknowledge them.

One of the reasons why I am a prolific journal writer is because it is one of the ways I process my emotions and thoughts. So if you haven’t tried it yet perhaps write it all out, whatever it is that is on your mind and see how your thoughts flow out. I believe sometimes solutions become more evident when you write out the problems because you are also able to examine things like the cause(s) of the problem(s) and organize your thoughts. This is why some people go the route of writing a love letter to profess their feelings to someone because it gives them a chance to think about how they want to say what during the process of scribing it.

If it’s of any consolation, I have many times over written about the same darn things over and over in my journals. You don’t have to show anyone else what you have written so don’t be so judgmental of yourself. Just let yourself write, cry, laugh, smile, and then write some more.

As Ellen DeGeneres would say, “Be kind to one another.” And if I may add, be kind to yourself too.

-M

 

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