How to Get Unstuck from an Undesirable Situation
(c) 2012 Carol James, Founder of InspiredLiving.com
Do you feel trapped in an undesirable situation where it appears that
you lose if you stay and lose if you go? Thinking from a lose/lose perspective
can be disempowering, even paralyzing.
This Damned if I do, damned if I don't. scenario often occurs in career
and relationship situations. For example, if youre in a job you can't
stand, you might:
- Resent your boss because he wont give you work that
is more challenging and rewarding (point of focus).
- You believe that it is your boss fault that you are not enjoying
your work (perspective),
- Which causes you to feel unappreciated and unfulfilled (emotional
- As a result, you become ineffective at work and grumpy at home (diminished
At the same time, whenever you consider quitting and finding a job more
suited to your preferences, you might:
- Think about potential financial
hardships you might inflict upon your family or about your wifes or
husbands possible reaction (point of focus),
- And assume there will be a huge argument (perspective),
- Which causes you to feel worthless (emotional response).
- As a result, you decide not to take that route and instead stay stuck
in your undesirable job, unable to make any changes that might improve
the situation (diminished personal effectiveness).
The good news is that you dont have to stay stuck in an undesirable
situation. There are alternate ways to handle this situation. For instance,
following through on the above job scenario:
Find a way to enjoy the situation.
- Change the way you view it so it
no longer feels undesirable. What about the job DO you like?
- Question the evidence that makes this situation seem undesirable. For
example, is it really true that its your bosss fault that you are unhappy
with your job?
- What do you believe about the situation that causes you to feel trapped?
For instance, do you believe that you cant talk to your boss about how
you feel because your boss will dismiss you or discount your feelings?
Or do you believe that your boss doesn't care that you are feeling bored?
- Are your beliefs about your boss necessarily true? How can you know
for sure that that is your bosss perspective?
- What initiative have you taken to improve your workload and job?
- How could you gain/learn/grow as a result of this experience?
- How could you make this situation fulfilling even though you may not
like certain aspects of it? What perspective would that entail?
- What is good about your workload or job?
- What can you do to make it less stressful and more enjoyable?
Find a way to leave the situation.
- Change the way you view your job
so you feel empowered to walk away from it. For instance, see the job
as a stepping stone that helped you clarify what you DO want.
- Question your beliefs about why you think you have to stay. Are they
- What are you afraid of losing by leaving the situation?
- Do you necessarily need what you might lose?
- Could you get by without it if you were free of the situation and
felt better about yourself? If not, then where else could you get what
you think you might lose?
- What is staying in this situation costing you (emotionally, financially,
socially, mentally, spiritually, etc.)?
- What do you stand to gain by leaving?
- How are you benefiting from staying?
- Do the benefits of staying justify the costs?
Enduring stressful situations leads to mistakes, arguments, exhaustion,
sickness, accidents and, eventually, to melt-downs. So when you find
yourself stuck in an unpleasant situation, remind yourself that you always
have choices. Stay centered, keep an open mind and look for solutions
that offer relief, whether that be questioning your perspective, focusing
on the good aspects of the situation or looking for ways to change your
present situation. Otherwise, you will be a candidate for burn-out.
Return to Stress Reduction Table of Contents
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