The feeling of being trapped in life is something most of us experience to different degrees and at different stages. Whether you feel trapped in your job, in your relationship or just feel like your life is stuck in a stagnant state of unhappiness, the constant feeling of hopelessness and doubt can be overwhelming. Feeling like this long enough will spur bouts of depression and anxiety that will hang above your head like a dark cloud, impacting your daily activities and making it even harder to break free of this feeling.
The truth is…
The truth, which can seem impossible to believe, is that you aren’t really stuck. What you are feeling is the gap of something missing in your life. Maybe you have an unfulfilled dream or see yourself elsewhere– doing something else, living somewhere else or being someone else. Maybe you lack adventure, excitement and variety. The ability to identify what your life is missing isn’t always so evident, but it is your ticket to emotional freedom. The worst thing you can do for yourself is nothing. Oftentimes we guilt trip ourselves into thinking that there is something wrong with feeling this way when life isn’t all so bad. When the people in your life are shocked to hear you’re feeling stuck; they’ll tell you that you have a great paying job or have a nice group of friends and a place to call home, so what could possible be wrong? You’ll want to believe them and blame yourself.
I’m here to validate your feelings of wanting more, but to also remind you that you aren’t really stuck in life. You are a victim of your mind and of your circumstance, and ultimately, of your actions. You have the ability to drop everything this second and take a completely different path, but the unknown ahead can be crippling. Knowing that you have the comfort of family and friends, or a stable job and a place to call home are all reasons why we trick ourselves into complacency rather than chasing what’s missing. We are too scared to take action because trapped is comfortable.
So, how do you break free of your comfort zone and stop feeling trapped in life? What will take you from feeling stuck to LOVING life?
Identify the things missing in your life
Maybe it all looks good on paper, but if you’re feeling trapped, it isn’t actually good enough for you– and that’s ok. Identifying what brings panic to your gut is the first step to escaping. Do you feel anxious going to work in the morning? Are craving an adventure or need to move out of your hometown? Even if you can’t pinpoint one thing specifically, knowing broadly what areas in your life feel incomplete will give you clarity and direction.
Visually brainstorm a few possible solutions
It’s ok to not know exactly what it will take to feel fulfilled and free, but brainstorming a few possible solutions in a visible format will show you that there are solutions out there within your grasp and that you won’t feel stuck forever.
Whether you start a list of all the potential ‘ways out’ on a word document or a flowchart on a large whiteboard pinned to your wall, use this method to reinforce in your mind each day that you do have choices coming your way.
What’s holding you back?
Now you have a list of possible solutions– so, what’s holding you back from each one of them? Is it finances? Fear of the unknown or lack of stability? It’s easy to look at how difficult something can be before really delving into it and finding a few simple solutions. Ultimately, the things that are holding you back are the areas that you will need to conquer to set yourself free and stop feeling trapped in life.
This is the message you’ve been waiting for to turn things around for you– it’s time to be brave and take the first step of your journey. Choose one of the paths that you identified above and commit to tackling every objection and fear you have about pursuing it.
Set small, attainable goals
Drastic changes can be overwhelming and scary, resulting in no action or change at all. No matter what obstacles you have to tackle, whether they be financial or emotional, setting small and attainable goals will ensure that you’re actually taking consistent steps towards your goal.
For instance, if you’re struggling for funds to quit your job and go on a self-discovery journey, set little goals that will help you work towards saving a certain amount of money over a realistic period of time.
Change your attitude & outlook on life
Ok this is a no-brainer and easier said than done, but I had to include it. The way we view ourselves and our situation is everything. We are all guilty of being negative or unmotivated when life is just not going our way, but at some point you need to give yourself a little pep talk before marching out your door. Getting your mind in a place where it can embrace and enjoy your journey to freedom will make your heart feel lighter. It’s amazing how much more enjoyable a journey to success can be when we are actively proud of our daily hustle and allow ourselves to appreciate good moments in life, like sunshine or strangers who make us laugh.
“Listen, girl. You have three tasks to do today that will bring you closer to freedom. You’ve still got your killer smile and the sun is shining. You can do this. Things aren’t so bad.”
Cut yourself some slack
The most important takeaway if you are feeling trapped in life is this: cut yourself some slack. We are not often in the habit of trusting the universes process, but know that you are exactly where you’re meant to be right now. Perhaps there is a lesson you need to learn or an experience that you need to have before going on to achieve the great things that you’re life has in store for you, but beating yourself up because you’re not there now is definitely not going to get you there faster. Be easy on your soul during this tough time. Allow yourself to feel, to question and to cry, but know that with these small daily steps that you are taking, you are already almost there.