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Not so long ago, I was in a pretty dark place: my work had taken over my life, and I had zero balance. I had the sinking feeling that I was betraying a part of myself. I felt hopeless — and ashamedbecause after all: who the fuck am I to complain? I have no right to complain about anything, ever. But still — it felt like something needed to changeand in a big way. I wanted to quit, disappear, change my name, and start fresh.


Posted December 1, Reviewed by Devon Frye. It's easy to get in a rut. Maybe you have goals but for some reason, you are not reaching for them. Maybe self-judgment is causing you to lower your expectations, or low self-worth is preventing you from making positive changes.

You can also get stuck in worry, afraid to make a decision or change something in your life.

One hidden emotion could be messing you up.

Or maybe you're disappointed with how a particular situation turned out, and it just feels too hard to move on. When we get stuck, we often wait for external change to happen. But change doesn't happen to us, it comes from within us.

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Change is scary and painful, but it's also necessary for getting unstuck. And when that happens, many opportunities open up.

Growing up means fixing what’s inside first

Listen to the stories in your head. Are you thinking about events that happened in the past? Are you unable to forgive yourself for the mistakes you made? Are you blaming yourself or others for things that did not turn out the way you hoped? Ask yourself why you are stuck on these memories, and what you can do to live with them, accept them, and move forward. You can't undo the past, but you can choose to find peace.

Forgiving yourself or others is a way to let go and move on. Once you release the grip of the past, you will see your reality in new ways and feel freer to change your attitude.

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To gain a new perspective, meditate or spend time alone and listen to your inner voice. If you can, travel or take a break from your daily routine to clear your mind and get distance from your current situation. Open yourself up to new people and ideas, and introduce regular physical activity into your routine. All of these changes will help you gain a new perspective on the future and what is possible.

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Change stimulates different parts of the brain that improve creativity and clarity of mind. You can start small by changing your daily routines, moving things in your house, or making new friends. Every choice matters.

You might be tempted to skip the little things because they don't always seem important in the moment. But after a while, an accumulation of small changes will help you accomplish your goals, and you will start feeling unstuck.

Your life purpose is not just your job, your responsibilities, or your goals—it's what makes you feel alive. These are the things you are passionate about and will fight for.

Ever felt stuck in a relationship? women are sharing how they coped

Examples of a life purpose could be:. You may need to change your life purpose if it no longer inspires you. Or, if you feel like you haven't had a purpose, this is a great time to define it.

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Ask yourself the following questions as you consider your life purpose:. Trust that you can reach your expectations and get out of your comfort zone.

4. explore your purpose.

Make a list of your strengths and positive traits, and remember that you are very capable. Many people sabotage their own progress—consciously or unconsciously—as a result of deep-seated fears and limiting beliefs. The first step to believing in yourself is to recognize your self-doubt.

Pay attention to the ways you react to situations.

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Then you can work to reframe your self-doubt. Limitations like, "I can't" or "I don't know" can be replaced with, "I can't do that yet, but I'm working on it," or "I don't know now, but I will. Maybe you have had a lot of disappointments that led to this moment in your life when you feel helpless. Maybe you are experiencing a naturally protective feeling of pessimism.

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This is something you will have to work to change. Find a practice, such as meditationprayer, or reading inspirational books, and do it regularly. Hope is not a permanent state. You need to work at it every day.

When life starts to feel like a cage

If you find that you are unable to change unhealthy thought patterns, consider consulting a mental health provider to help you figure out why you are stuck, and to find ways to get unstuck. Feeling stuck can be part of a mental health disorder that can be effectively treated with psychotherapymedicationor a combination of the two; having professional support as you work to change long-established thinking patterns can be tremendously helpful. Sometimes asking for help can be the most hopeful and powerful step you can take.

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The Seleni Institute is a nonprofit organization working to destigmatize and transform mental health and wellness by addressing real-life issues that challenge the emotional health of women, men, and their families.

Explore your purpose. About the Author.

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Posted October 30, Reviewed by Ekua Hagan.