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You’re stuck. Maybe in a job that you don’t like. Or in relationships that are toxic. In a physical space that drains you. Or pursuing something that once fed you but now depletes you.

You are stuck. And it sucks.

Because you worked so hard to be unstuck. To be free of chains and negativity. To not rely on outside sources for your internal happiness.

But here you are. In a position that you find unfulfilling, depressing or maybe even maddening. And you ask yourself time and time again:

How did I get here?

To a place where you wish you could reach for rose-colored glasses. To a stage in your life that you weren’t prepared for. To a mindset that you know won’t help you climb out of the negativity.

But here you are, anyway.

It’s not where you want to be. You hope and pray that it’s not where you need to be. Your friends tell you it’ll pass. Your spouse tells you it’ll be okay. Your parents tell you to stop complaining.

But what are you telling yourself?

All of those other voices are both encouraging and frustrating. You want them to understand that you feel low even though you worked so hard to feel high. You need them to see that your pain is real, your confusion is disorienting and your options are limited. And you try to explain that it’s not self pity, it’s a rut.

We all get stuck. And it usually happens when we wake up in our happy lives one day and realize that we aren’t that happy. We’ve been going through the motions waiting for things to improve. We’ve been taking the easy way out because we didn’t want to change the status quo. And we were doing things that we needed to do in order to maintain a level of happiness – well, at least, what used to make us happy.

So how did we get here? And most importantly, what do we do? Step away from it all: your friends’ sympathy, your spouse’s kind words, your bosses’ encouragement and, most importantly, your negative self talk. Why? Because none of that can help you.

What I mean by that is, they can’t help you the way that you can help yourself.

Why, you ask? Because although other people love and care for you, your compelling reason to change can only come from you.

I have been there, friend. I know what it feels like to fight for the life that you will love living and to not take “no” for an answer. I know how it feels to achieve those big goals – the dreams that stayed up all night to make happen – and how accomplished it felt. And I also know how it feels to finally come to a place of peace and contentment, only to have it eventually turn into an unsettling type of comfort. A comfort that only happens when there is no more growth. A type of comfort that festers and overstays it’s welcome. A level of comfort that only happens when it’s time to change.

Action step

Begin to separate your attachment to your comfort zone by searching for your compelling reason to change. And what better reason is there to change than being unhappy? Yes, this was your dream job, but it’s not it anymore. Sure, she was your best friend for ten years, but you’ve grown apart. And the dream house that you loved so much when you first bought it is now just a roof, four walls and a mortgage.

But guess what? That’s okay. You’ve reached a new level of growth in your life, and it’s time to evolve. Figure out what your dream is now, and go find that job. Enjoy the hobbies that have piqued your interest lately and build new relationships. Get a new house, and truly make it your home.

During the course of our lives hobbies, priorities and passions develop, change and transform depending on where we are and what our current realities are. Sometimes what fed our souls ten years ago is now something that brings a great deal of negativity to our lives and has us feeling stuck. And if you’re feeling this way now, it’s okay. Just remember to keep relentlessly searching for the things that serve you, hang on to them and then let go when they no longer do. There is nothing more powerful than you taking the reins of your life.

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