When You Get Stuck in a Moment

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Once in a while, we find a song that means more than all other hit songs. It embeds itself in the recesses of our brains, so much so that upon hearing the first few notes, all sorts of emotions bubble up to the surface. That, or they explode like a pressure cooker with a clogged release hatch. Not once. Not twice. Maybe not even three times. No, more often than we’d like.

For me, that song is U2’s Stuck in a Moment.

I’m just trying to find
A decent melody
A song that I can sing
In my own company

Don’t say that later will be better
Now you’re stuck in a moment
And you can’t get out of it

My first “stuck in a moment” experience was in university – my last semester – when I missed 9 classes out of 10. My family was going through a very rough financial patch. I was a wreck and while I didn’t want anyone to know, I was very much stuck in that moment. And a very long moment it was.

I have “hit” a couple more moments – worse than I could have ever imagined, longer than I thought possible.

Then there was 2017…

Let’s just say that it was a year of endings (major ones that were a long time coming) and a few beginnings (sputters here and there, really, but they’re better than nothing).

These “getting stuck in a moment” times come and go, and we all have our share. While we’re in the thick of things, we feel like we’re in a hole and no matter what we do, we simply can’t reach the top. Worse, we dig ourselves even deeper. Even worse, we just sit there not having the will to do anything to get unstuck.

What's worse than trying and failing repeatedly? Not trying at all. Click To Tweet

It’s understandable, though. Sometimes, after failing over and over and over, you just get tired. Feel resigned.

What’s the point of giving it another go when you’ll fail anyway?

In all these years, many of which I have spent stuck in one moment or another, I’ve learned two things:

1. Use a different approach

What have you been doing to get out of this rut you’re in? Have you been doing the same thing over and over again – and failing over and over again?

The cliché “the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result” has never been more applicable than now.

Say you’ve been in a toxic relationship for years. You’ve tried to fix it by talking and making promises. You’ve tried to get out of it by leaving – only to find yourself sucked back in time and time again.

Maybe you should try something else.

Therapy? Another perspective can do wonders for you.

Physically leave. And I mean leave. Go to another city – another country if you can.

Do something you’ve never done before even if it scares you. It may be the only way you get unstuck for good.

2. Let time do its thing.

Ready for another cliché? Time heals all wounds.

I’m sorry, but that’s simply not true. Time does dull the pain, but I don’t believe it heals wounds 100 percent.

Time does dull the pain, but I don't believe it heals wounds 100 percent. Click To Tweet

However, time is essential in getting unstuck. Doing something you don’t want to do may be necessary to get out of your situation and move forward, but sometimes, you need to wait till you’ve mentally and emotionally processed things. And that takes time.

When you’re ready, you’ll get off your bum and do what you need to do.

As we near the 30th day of 2018, I see the “unstucking process” begin in my life. Getting out of the emotional and mental rut that has lasted on and off for almost 10 years, thanks to bad decisions, relationships, loss, and a warped sense of self-worth. I’m ashamed it’s been that long, but I believe that sharing this experience at this point is part of the process.

In my case, getting NOT stuck in the moment is a combination of points 1 and 2 above. I had to wait till I was ready – what a long wait it has been! I have had to get out of my comfort zone with a lot of sweat, tears, and anxiety involved (thankfully no blood).

Sometimes, you'll only know what you have to do after you take that first step. Click To Tweet

Here’s the thing: when I took small steps to get out of that rut, sometimes, it was only then that I realized what I had to do next! Imagine if I hadn’t pushed myself to go out on a limb. I’d still be the same miserable old me, stuck in the same miserable old place.

And this is just the beginning.

I’ve laid out some rough plans to help me move on: travel, write more, travel a little more, and interact with people (this one is the hardest). I don’t know if they’re going to happen. I am excited. I am scared. Really scared at times – enough to make me want to go back to my comfortable sofa and do nothing but work and watch Netflix.

But as my song says…

And if your way should falter
Along this stony pass

It’s just a moment
This time will pass

Have you been stuck in a moment that you can’t remember the last time you were truly happy? The last time you laughed without inhibitions?

Maybe enough time has passed that you need to do what you know needs doing to get unstuck. Maybe it’s time you try something new.

You don’t have to take one giant leap. Just take a small step. You’ll know what to do next.

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