Feeling Trapped – How to go from living in a prison to living in a playground.
Feeling trapped is one of the most common things people tell me holds them back from their ‘dream’ lives.
Feeling trapped in an unhappy relationship, at an unfulfilling job, or generally feeling stuck and unhappy with their lives despite their basic needs being met and then feeling bad for feeling bad, is WAY more common than you probably think.
Often even though you want to change, you can’t see a way out. You feel trapped. You feel powerless and then you feel guilty for feeling these feelings.
Maybe you recognise this? If so, you are not alone.
Maybe you’ve experienced the sensation of going round and round in circles, stagnant and unhappy. You want to escape, you want to do something different … but you’re terrified of destroying everything you’ve got now or everything that you’ve created so far; and being left with nothing.
AND you’re not even sure if starting over would make you any happier.
So you decide that maybe it’s not so bad as it is…. And another month passes.
These feelings if ignored can lead to a perpetual, pervasive and permanent feeling of hopelessness. The longer you leave it unchecked the more difficult it can be to break out. Before you know it another year has disappeared and your mental state is such that you see less and less opportunities for anything else.
Often what makes being in this place increasingly challenging, is that on the outside there is nothing really wrong, you have a ‘good’ life. Many people would be grateful for what you have.
Rationalising your feelings in this way isn’t helping. It’s actually just being avoidant.
Being passive and waiting for someone to rescue you, isn’t the answer but it doesn’t negate that inside you’re depressed, sad and resentful.
So, what can you do when these fearful feelings are keeping you feeling trapped and small.
When you feel trapped in a situation that isn’t serving you?
How do you transform what feels like a prison into a playground?
Digging into and understanding what it is that is causing your anxiety, depression or paralysis is the key to unlocking freedom, expression, growth and happiness.
“90% of your happiness is not predicted by your external world, but by how your brain processes the world.” – Shawn Achor.
The meaning and value you give what you have is important. How you view your life makes a huge difference. Its true, someone else may be happy with what you have, but if you are unhappy because you see your life as a prison, the only person who can kind the keys and set you free, is you.
It’s time to stop seeing yourself as a victim.
Whilst you believe that you are hard done by and stuck, it is true.
But you are a powerful creator. You can change, that’s what humans do best actually.
If we are not growing we are dying.
Maybe you fell prisoner to someone else’s ideals or ideas of what success or happiness actually is. Maybe what you thought you wanted, now that you have it isn’t actually fulfilling you.
So many of us follow the path that society or our parents or social conditioning lays out at ‘success.’
Maybe you did well at school, got a good job, married ‘well’ and now realise that the world has changed, you have changed! There are so many more options, and you don’t know where to begin or if any of it is really available to you.
Maybe you are holding on to feelings of passivity and hopelessness from childhood and haven’t yet learned the tools to empower yourself.
Pay attention to these five BIG truths.
- Its okay to have outgrown your life.
- Being passive and waiting to be saved, isn’t going to work.
- You get to take responsibility for your life and create whatever you can dream into.
- You don’t have to do it alone or all in one go. (There is power and magic in the incremental upgrade.)
- You need to want to change more than you want to stay the same, more than the fear of the discomfort and more than you want to live in the role of victim.
The truth is that the unknown is only scary while it is unknown, as soon as you start to get to know it, it loses its fear factor.
The truth is that unless you become more self aware, unless you work out what you like, what lights you up, what would make you feel proud of who you have been in this life then you cannot even begin to move toward it.
Of course you’ll feel trapped. You’re in limbo.
The truth is that you’re going to have to move, to take action and do something different. Which will be uncomfortable, but you’re uncomfortable now, so……
Step one is always AWARENESS, you get to figure out what you would actually like instead.
The other big truth is that if you don’t feel like you deserve to be happy or to live a life of your choosing then you also aren’t going to make any moves to change.
So step two is to work on increasing your self approval, self acceptance and self esteem.
To do this, you must tap into your authentic self. Your soul self.
Speak to your heart, your gut, your inner child and your highest good and as you get to know them, you will see just how divine you truly are.
Both inner passivity and the inner critic are afraid of your authentic self because they’ll be vanquished and vaporised by it.
So, seize the day!
It’s time to work out who you really are, and learn to like what you find, or change until you do!
Try these exercises:
- Take two minutes to describe in a journal the most meaningful experience of the past 24 hours. Doing this cultivates a positive outlook and trains your brain to look for the meaningful, good experiences.
- Work out what is actually important to you. When was the last time you were happy, or excited or felt satisfied and fulfilled? What were the ingredients that made it so?
- Find at least 5 things about yourself that you love or are proud of.
If you’re really struggling, do this first. Find somewhere quiet and comfortable. Close your eyes and bring your attention to your breath. As you inhale and exhale, focus on making your breath smooth and even. Inhale for six beats, exhale for six beats. As you repeat this for two minutes, say to yourself “Calm and alert. Calm and alert” Then from this place bring to your minds eye someone who you think highly of, someone whose opinion you respect and listen to, and then imagine that someone telling you what they love and admire about you.
Ultimately, if you’re feeling stuck or trapped and you’re ready to change, reach out, get some help. Find someone who is living the kind of life that you aspire to be living, and ask them what they did to create a life of authenticity. Find a community. Find a coach. Be willing and open to take responsibility for your own happiness and take one small action today. Reach out to someone and ask for help. Asking for help is not weak, it is a sign of fortitude and a desire to co-create.
If you’d like to find out more about becoming a part of the Misfit to Maven community, take a look at M2M – The Foundations, listen to Adulting with Ebonie, or join our free Facebook community.