As we move into the New Year, I thought it might be helpful to republish my tips for how to stay stuck. After all, we don’t all want to move forward, grow, or create resolutions. Some of us just want to stay stuck and I would like to offer a few tips to support these people.
When I’m tired, my mind plays back every single moment of the day Joe died. The second-guessing starts. Could have, would have, should have sends me spiraling into feelings of sadness, guilt, fear and anger.
Perfectly capable of managing how I am feeling, I could change the direction of my feelings and head towards happy instead of sad, innocence instead of guilt, bravery instead of fear, and forgiveness instead of anger, but sometimes I just want to stay stuck.
In an effort to offer my support to all those who would just like to stay stuck, I have come up with a few tips that I have found helpful.
- First, I need to caution you: Do not appreciate these tips. You cannot appreciate something and stay stuck at the same time. Appreciation is the arch-enemy of staying stuck. This is so important, I must say it again. APPRECIATION IS THE ARCH-ENEMY OF STAYING STUCK. Trust me.
I will now offer you the next tip. Please, no enthusiasm.
- Hang out with friends who offer you plenty of agreement about how awful your life really is. I hate it when I am really enjoying feeling stuck and a friend says, “Gosh your hair looks great today!” It’s much better to hang with friends who, at the very least, look at you with concern and ask, “How are you sleeping?”
- Don’t laugh. It’s impossible to stay stuck and laugh at the same time. Maybe you will be luckier than I am, unfortunately, I have very funny and often irreverent family and friends. Yelling, “It’s not funny!” won’t help. You might as well just give up. Laugh, and stuck leaves. Stuck requires the self-discipline of staying grim.
- Offend easily and make sure you replay the offense over and over again in your head. Forgive the self-checkout machine at the grocery store for saying, “Return item to cart. Item not scanned,” and your days of being stuck are limited. Forgive and move forward? Do you really want to risk it?
- Don’t allow yourself to be distracted. Focusing on how bad things are and how they are never, ever going to improve will help keep you stuck. If you allow yourself to be distracted by someone else’s plight or problem, you will quickly lose your sticky grip. Sometimes a friend will try to help you back into stuckness by offering, “I know my problems are nothing compared to what you are going through,” but the damage is done. Helping others is a very poor way to stay stuck. Avoid helping others.
- Allowing yourself to feed on a steady diet of worst-case scenarios will help you stay stuck. Stuck loves friends who share things like, “Kids who lose parents are far more prone to drug use.” Staying stuck is impossible if you hang around with friends who insist on noticing how well you are negotiating your life and insist on saying positive things to you. You may think you can resist those positive efforts, but once positive seeds are planted, your days of being stuck are limited. Avoid positive people whenever possible. The world is an unsafe, unhappy place. Make sure you are reminded of this reality as often as possible. People who say, “Have a Nice Day!” are out to get you.
Staying stuck is trickier than it might seem. I hope these tips help. However, if you have glued yourself down firmly and given stuck your best effort, only to have the adhesive ripped out from under you, there is only one thing left to do. Look directly at the offender and say, “I was just in the middle of feeling guilty, angry, and afraid, and you made me feel better. Thanks a lot! I hope you’re happy now.” And then do the only thing left to do. Sigh and move along.
What keeps you Stuck?