The Art of Getting Un*stuck*

Being STUCK is exhausting. And it can go on for years. A good friend of mine once said to me “this is your specialty” (getting stuck) and to her I responded, I think I just take a really long time to come to decisions….

While part of that may be true, when I really started to think about it and was brutally honest with myself, the more I started to examine the real causes of being really STUCK and what to do about it. I was tired of being in the place of in-between indecision, frustration, despair and feelings of worthlessness that started to accumulate from being caught in a cycle of feeling good (or at least okay) and then swinging to intolerable and then back again ad nauseum. Being really and truly stuck right damn in the middle of a real problem, situation, relationship, job or conundrum feels like purgatory and hell mixed together. Like being in an elevator, alone, caught between floors, and the help button is broken (oh, and your cellphone has no reception).

So what was stopping me?? The first thing that came to mind was FEAR. We all know it and it can be paralyzing!

  1. Fear of Confrontation (of self and others)

  2. Fear of Conflict

  3. *Fear of Loss* (this one is a huge trigger for me and maybe for you too, if very sensitive to the pain of loss and abandonment)

  4. Fear of the Unknown

  5. Fear of Making things Worse! Or Harder!

  6. Fear of making an Irreversible Mistake

  7. Fear of Not Being Right

  8. Fear of not being able to bounce back

Do any of these sound familiar? Do you have one not listed?

So after looking at my fears, and letting them really sit with me (very uncomfortably), I went a bit further and started to examine one of my own sticky situations more clearly. What troubled and kept me where I was the most was not just the fear feelings, being STUCK literally felt like being in the middle of two places: the Comfort zone and the FEAR zone both of which are governed by my needs and values being met AND unmet in equal measure.


The Comfort Zone

Several Important Core needs and values are met

The Fear Zone

Other Equally Important Core needs and values not met

Most often, it takes the needs and values in the fear zone that are not getting met to trigger us into crazy-land where life or the problem becomes intolerable. Some call this the Tipping Point. Basically it’s: How Bad Does It Have to Get? Still, why does it sometimes get as bad as it seem it can get, but we still keep going? Are we really that weak, or are we really too STRONG? Sometimes we’ve adapted so well to NOT having our important needs met, this stuck place becomes familiar and maybe it even reminds us of a familiar childhood situation which further compounds the difficulty: it literally can feel like HOME.

We get stuck when the pendulum keeps swinging back and forth between being tolerable to intolerable then around again: important core needs met and then other core needs not being met. This is why it is so hard to let go and to initiate change, especially if something in the fear zone is really an emotional trigger for us. For me it’s loss and abandonment. If I lose an important relationship or job, life is OVER. At least, that is how my child-brain feels. For a lot of us when we think about letting go or a huge change, we have very visceral, very physical information being thrown at us from our bodies when we realize that important core needs will suddenly go unmet. We panic and fear sets in: fight or flight. Heartbeat picks up, breathing quickens and is shallow, insomnia, stomach aches, we become easy to anger or cry more easily. On the flip side, we can even start to use GRATITUDE and APPRECIATION which unfortunately, begins to work against us! Being grateful for what we do have, and the needs being met, we can actually ignore the deep pain we are in for longer and longer periods of time. We become hopeful that things will just work themselves out. We draft vision boards, meditate, pray, try to manifest and do all sorts of things that do nothing to move us forward and through.


  1. Look for the options besides all or nothing. Narrowed panic-thinking with reduced ability to see beyond one or two ways keeps us stuck.

  2. Admit you can’t do it alone. Even if it’s just a trusted friend or ally to hash things out with. Going around in circles with ourselves in our heads is another way of remaining stuck.

  3. Commit to learning and trying new things and take action, often in completely the opposite direction of where you currently are. Pride and ego can get in the way of this one. Fear of novelty is a common blockade.

  4. Set yourself up to not be stranded! Acknowledge the core needs/values currently being met in your comfort zone and examine where you can get them met in another way (or possibly by someone else). If you don’t know or can’t identify your core needs and values, I can help!

  5. Be persistent and consistent, with heart. Courage comes from the heart, not the head. Most likely, the problem isn’t going to be solved quickly or easily. You have to persist through the discomfort of change and not give up or give in when it gets mighty uncomfortable and maybe even more painful than the STUCK place. It’s when progress is just beginning or about to start that mosts of us give up!

Do you have any thoughts or a story about being STUCK? Want to figure out your CORE NEEDS & VALUES? Please comment or leave me a message! I’d love to hear from you.