For most of my adult life, from the age of 14 to the age of 22, I have felt stuck in a body that didn’t belong to me. I tried to change it. I stopped eating, only to find out that the problem wasn’t my body.
Some mornings I would wake up, sit in a corner of my bed, and ask myself, “What day is it again?” as if there was any point in knowing. Life was one big blur, and I existed on autopilot.
Since the day I decided I wasn’t going to wake up unexcited about life again, I worked hard at rewriting my story, line after line. And by doing so, I started eradicating those beliefs that were keeping me stuck, one by one.
But the truth is that getting unstuck is not like ripping off a band-aid. It’s a lifetime commitment. We don’t heal ourselves and then go get hurt again so that we can heal some more. We just get better at dealing with our most negative emotions, thoughts, and beliefs. Healing is never a fixed-term job, it’s always a work in progress.
If you too are feeling stuck, know that you are not alone.
Why we feel stuck
For thousands of years, humans have looked for safety everywhere but within themselves. We have sought out guidance in religion, spirituality, and governments.
In most cases, our life before adulthood is already mapped out for us from the moment we are born. We learn the basics of being a human being: walking, talking, what’s right and wrong. We go to school, perhaps we go to University, we graduate, and then it’s time to enter the real world.
And for the first time in our life until then, we are alone. No teachers or parents to hold us accountable, no grade to tell if we are doing a good job, no fellow students to help us out. We learn what it means to be an adult and what it means to take our own decisions. No amount of education can prepare you for that.
We learn that things aren’t always black or white, that what we have been chasing for years maybe it’s not what we want anymore; we learn that people make mistakes and that they are not as easy to fix as a failed exam.
No matter how good you did in school, no amount of education can prepare you for that. No amount of education can prepare you for the real world.
If you don’t have a direction, you don’t have a path
The truth is that nobody had it easy. Nobody had their life figured out before they started living it. You won’t know if the path you are on is the right one until you start walking. You won’t know your calling in life until you take action. It’s okay to feel unsure—it’s exactly how you are supposed to feel.
You are not meant to go through life thinking this is exactly what you expected. You are not supposed to know your way since the day you start walking. But you can keep wandering and you can keep trying.
Your job is not to have the solution ready at all times but to make the best out of whatever is in front of you.
You can’t say to know what you want until you know what you don’t want. It doesn’t matter where you live, what you do, or what stage you are at in life—we all need some sort of guidance, whatever guidance means to you.
A role model can guide us towards what we aspire to be or it can show us what we don’t want to become. Either way, you need role models like sailors needed the northern star to navigate the sea of life. If you don’t have a direction, you don’t have a way.
Look up to the people who inspire you so that you may look inside yourself one day and know that all you have been looking for was already there. Because that’s how you get unstuck: getting to know yourself, what you need, and what you want.
What you need to know
Feeling stuck is never your fault, but getting unstuck is always your responsibility. Letting go of what’s holding us back is no easy undertaking. It’s not like ripping off a band-aid, it’s a lifelong journey.
We don’t heal ourselves and then go get hurt again so that we can heal some more. We just get better at dealing with our most negative emotions, thoughts, and beliefs.
And we do so by having a clear vision of where we are heading. The path may change, it may become blurry, we may not know if it’s the right one, but we always have control over the final destination, because we always have control over ourselves, our resolutions, and the people we decide to look up to.