When you complain about your job, your spouse suggests you quit and find something else. When you vent to a friend about some relationship issues, she suggests you dump him and move on. When you’re irritated by a neighbor, your mom tells you to find a new place to live. Everyone’s solution to a problem is to change it or move on from it. But is that always the answer?
What if sometimes the best solution to the problem is staying right where you are? What if being stuck is exactly what you need right now?
Being ‘stuck’ isn’t comfortable
I get it. When you feel stuck, it’s uncomfortable. You’re probably not happy and you feel weighed down. You might be stressed and even downright angry. You may have talked about the situation until you’re blue in the face trying to resolve it.
It starts in one area of your life and ultimately begins to affect all others. You snap at your family because you can’t tell your boss what you really think. Your work suffers because your relationship feels like it’s falling apart. You start to feel like you’re suffocating because you can’t do anything.
So the solution is to change, right? Change the situation somehow, or change yourself. Or move on from it — quit the job, end the relationship, whatever it is. Just get away from it because staying the same can’t possibly be the answer.
But what if it is?
Think about this for a moment.
How many jobs have you quit because you couldn’t stand your boss?
How many times have you moved because of an irritating neighbor?
How many relationships have you ended because of the exact issue that is currently present in your relationship?
How many times have you left a situation that was exactly like or very similar to the current situation you’re dealing with?
And yet here you are, dealing with it yet again. So what if this is one of those lessons the universe is trying to teach you and moving on isn’t going to do anything? What if moving on is just going to put you right back in this same situation again and again and again until you stop moving on?
What if the only way to truly resolve this is to face it head-on and sit with this discomfort, the awkwardness, the unhappiness, the whatever it is you feel right now, and live with it?
Moving on might seem like the solution, but maybe what it really is, is just a way to avoid dealing with your feelings as well as the problem itself.
Staying stuck forever isn’t the answer
Obviously, there are situations that call for immediate moving on. An abusive relationship, a boss who creates an uncomfortable work environment and no one will do anything, a neighbor who does something harmful or dangerous to you or your family are a few.
But aside from that, staying stuck for a while might be what you need. But it shouldn’t last forever. Don’t get so comfortable in the stickiness — a real possibility — that you do nothing permanently.
Sometimes, we get past our discomfort only to settle into a frustrated acceptance. We decide that the situation won’t change, won’t get better, but that moving on won’t make a difference either. So we accept it as our lot in life.
Don’t do that.
Look at it as an opportunity to grow, even though it might not seem like that. By living with the seemingly unbearable, you’ll learn more about yourself as well as the situation itself. By observing it carefully, you can learn what it is that bothers you so much about the situation and maybe even why the situation is happening.
If you let yourself, you can glean all this information and then use it to make the changes that need to be made in order to find real peace with the situation.
Comprehension can come from discomfort. Understanding can eliminate fear and anger and allow you to find a path to resolving the situation. That resolution may involve moving on, but by sitting with the discomfort and allowing for lucidity, you move on in a way that allows you to stop replaying the same scenarios over and over in the future.
You move on from the lesson, rather than the situation.