Experiencing an event or a situation for exactly what it is allows you to stay in the present. Attaching meaning to an event creates a story and can keep you feeling stuck in a thought or emotion.
From childhood, a story begins to form based on things that were said to us by our parents, relatives, teachers and friends. The story is further supported and ingrained into our memory as we experience life. Beliefs about what we “can” or “cannot do” are constructed around our story of how WE experience the world.
Our identity – or sense of “self” – is governed by a set of rules that we are either taught or develop on our own of what is right or wrong, good or bad, and what we are capable of. These rules get embedded into the story that continues to replay in our mind. As we encounter new situations, our unconscious mind reminds us of what we “should” or “can” do. Sometimes these rules do indeed keep us safe. For example, it’s probably best not to run a red light. But many rules, particularly the self-imposed rules, may be holding you back from taking action or even recognizing possibilities.
When we first become aware that something is not working out the way we had wanted or anticipated, we look for reasons to explain the situation. Usually, we look externally to find and define both the problem and the solution. But when we seek external explanations, we take ourselves out of the equation and absolve ourselves from responsibility for what has happened. Not taking responsibility allows us to stay in our comfort zone, but it can also deprive you of exercising your personal power. Taking responsibility means that you have the ability to have a response, indeed you have the power to have a response.
All attempted external “fixes” ultimately lead us back to the same problem. There is only one constant in each situation – you! The actions that you did or did not take were regulated by your limiting self-beliefs and fabricated story. If you are “stuck” in a situation you are also “stuck” in what you believe to be possible.
I was literally “stuck” in my body after a brain infection left me paralyzed. Four months after the initial incident, I was still unable to move my legs. I was following the recommendations given to me by the doctors and therapists in the hope that I would soon regain the ability to walk. I was blaming the disease for all my problems and was looking to the doctors to find a solution. I soon realized that the strength required to walk again was not going to come from an external source. I was the one that would be the most affected by the outcome of the situation. The therapists and doctors did not have a vested interest; it was my quality of life that I would have to fight for. Despite the prognoses that I may never walk again, I decided that this would not be my story.
I was able to see the possibility of moving past this predicament and it was this possibility that provided me with the motivation to endure in the face of adversity. When I felt defeated and my body was exhausted, the possibility of walking again generated the inner resources I needed to push beyond what I thought I was capable of. The odds were against me and my recovery took five years, but I am now able to walk independently. Taking responsibility for my own life gave me the power to move beyond my “stuckness” and to write a new story for my present and future that was full of inspiration and possibilities.
“Frustration and helplessness can fuel the overwhelming feeling of being stuck. You don’t like where you are and you don’t know how to get to where you want to be. When looking externally doesn’t provide you solace, seeing things from within can illuminate possibilities that were once unimaginable.” Dr Julie Doobay
Copyright 2020 Dr. Julie Doobay