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  • Darci Daniels

Not Feeling Free? Maybe You're Stuck.

I wrote an article a couple of months ago about setting myself free. I wanted, in honor of the 4th of July, to bring up freedom again. But I want to talk about it by also bringing up its opposite – being stuck.

(I’m not going to pretend that having your rights taken away, being jailed, or being held captive in some way is better than being stuck – they’re not. They are the true opposite of freedom. But when you are basically free to live your life, but you don’t FEEL free, the opposite is being stuck. You get me? Cool, then keep reading.)

Being stuck in your life sucks. When you feel like you don’t have an option, that you must do something you hate, when your dreams seem to be mocking you, when you long to break-free… watching other people exercise their freedom is almost painful. If you have something in your life you daydream about, or you’d love to do, but you immediately think, “I can’t do that!” or “that would never work!” then I want you to realize you may be stuck.

Think about the worst/most dissatisfying part of your life. Can’t think of anything? Great! Go have a beverage and feel free to stop reading, because you’re already free. For everyone else, pinpoint that thing that isn’t so great, and ask yourself these questions:

1. “What about this situation has me stuck?” You may not think of your situation in terms of stuck -- It may be a relationship that’s not going well, it may be a job you hate, it may just be that your dog isn’t fully potty trained, or your garage is overflowing with stuff. Or that you need to get healthier because you’ve let yourself go a bit… whatever it is, there’s something in you that IS stuck, and that’s why you’re unhappy or dissatisfied. As an example, let’s take something minor and relatively easy to fix like the overflowing garage. If it’s driving you nuts, if it truly is the most dissatisfying part of your life right now, why haven’t you done anything about it? How did it get like that in the first place? Do you have a plan to fix it? Why is it driving you nuts? Why haven’t you executed the plan yet? There is some resistance there that is keeping you stuck and making you unhappy. It may just be a thought. If you’re constantly telling yourself you’re frustrated with the messy garage, but you haven’t taken any action to fix it, then where you may be stuck is that you’re frustrated with yourself. It’s not really about the garage, it’s that you let it get that way in the first place.

Take another, more complicated example – maybe it’s a relationship that has conflict right now. It’s a relationship with someone you love, so you don’t think of yourself as “stuck”. It’s not a dissatisfying relationship, it’s just a current conflict that’s making you unhappy. I’m going to tell you, somewhere in there, you’re still feeling stuck. Something is causing you unhappiness or dissatisfaction, and that thing is leading to fear, which is keeping you stuck in the conflict. Find the fear, and you’ll find where you’re stuck.

2. “What would freedom do?” This can be slightly tricky, but now that you’ve found the fear, found the pain-point, figured out where you’re stuck, ask yourself this question.

I had a client who was in conflict with her boyfriend. They had a great, loving relationship, but there was one issue that kept coming up. After working all week she wanted a regular Saturday date-night out. He wanted to stay home. Sometimes with her, but sometimes he wanted friends over or to just be alone. It wasn’t a matter of money, because they both had good jobs and she had no problem taking turns paying the bill either. You might be surprised that I didn’t suggest compromising with him, as in taking turns going out and staying in. Instead, I asked her this question, and at first she was confused. “I guess I would go out myself, anyway, or with my friends? But I don’t want to do that, I want to go out with him!” So, I asked her why she wanted to go out with him instead of staying in with him. What was so important about going out? It turns out, when they first started dating, he took her out every Saturday night. They had a standing weekly date for several months, but then there were a few weeks where one of them was traveling, or sick, or a friend had a birthday party, and all of the sudden their standing weekly date came to a halt. She was really afraid that their relationship had changed and things were starting to do downhill. Freedom, in this case, was actually to have an honest conversation with him about what was going on. The answer? He was an introvert, and going out every Saturday was a huge effort for him. As they became a more established couple, and saw each other more often on weekdays, he wanted to just be comfortable at home on Saturday nights. It had nothing to do with his feelings for her diminishing, in fact, he saw it as the next step in their relationship that they didn’t have to do the whole “weekly date night” thing because it was just assumed they’d spend most of their time together. She realized she did need to go out and blow off steam on some Saturdays, but she could go with her friends when she did, and occasionally they could go out together, but that staying in with him and cuddling up to watch a movie or play a game together was actually pretty damn great. Sometimes freedom doesn’t look like what we think it does. Sometimes it just means being free from fear.

3. “What would love do?” This is one of my all-time favorite questions. If your answer to #2 is something along the lines of, “screw them, I’m gonna do what I want to do and I don’t care what they think!” then this question can help balance it out.

Let’s say your answer to question #1 is you hate your job. Your answer to question #2 may have been you’re going to quit immediately. But now, asking what would love do? Hmmm, quitting immediately has its own set of consequences if you don’t have another job lined up (if you do, more power to you!). So, what would love do? Well, love would probably tell you to get your ducks in a row before you quit. Either have savings and an exit plan, or get another job before you quit. Also, striding in and telling off that asshat boss of yours? May or may not be the most loving thing to do. Let me be clear – this question is about love, as a third party. If love were a guardian angel hovering above you, an angel with no judgement of whatever you decide, because love only wants the best for you. That’s the love we’re talking about. Not what your mother’s love, or your spouse’s love, or your best friend’s love would do… what would your love do? What’s the most loving thing for YOU? Maybe it IS telling off your asshat boss as you walk dramatically out the door. Maybe that’s exactly what you need in order to let go and move on. I don’t know the answer. But you do.

Coaching is about asking the right questions and helping you simplify your life. It’s about making difficult situations easier, because you understand yourself and your thoughts and feelings better. It’s about taking complications and making them clearer, so you can operate from a place that’s more peaceful and un-stressed. It’s also about understanding that the stories you’re telling yourself may not always be true and it would serve you to dis-believe them. These 3 questions are just the tip of the iceberg. If you don’t feel the freedom to live your life, you’ve got some questions to ask yourself. Or, hire a coach! We often have a tough time asking the right questions of ourselves for what we can’t see in the first place, but a good coach can see what to ask that will get to the heart of it. I want you to feel free, to make the decisions that are right for you, and to be confident in those decisions. Then, when you do have a situation that’s creating conflict, you’ll know better how to handle it the next time.

Let freedom ring!

Happy 4th of July to my USA friends.

Remember what this kind of freedom and happiness felt like? Yeah, that's what we're going for!


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