We’ve all heard the saying: “Today is the first day of the rest of your life”. How can you make that phrase meaningful to you?
Everyday offers us the opportunity to look to the future differently, to take stock of where we are, and to resolve to make the changes we want to make.
Many of us get mired in looking at the past, wondering how we got to this place, wishing we had done things differently, regretting what has been done and said. Perhaps we even feel stuck in our present situation because of past decisions.
It is important to know that decisions you made in the past were made based on the knowledge and information you had at the time of the decision. They could not have been made based on what you know today and it is unfair to judge your younger self based on what you know now. Could you possibly make a decision today based on who you will be and information you will have in 10 years?
Know that you did the best you could do at the time. And know that you will do the best you can do today. The past is over and no longer exists. The future is unknown. But today, you can celebrate you and know that you have the best of intentions for yourself.
Your life is not where you’d like or had hoped it to be. You feel trapped and unable to make changes in either your personal or professional life, or even in both. It’s very frustrating to feel stuck in something when you’d really like to be doing something else or would really like to be with someone else. But are you really stuck or trapped?
Do you feel trapped because change seems too difficult? Maybe you stay in your job because looking for a job in this economy seems too hard or because finding a new job seems impossible. So you spend your energy feeling sad, bored, unfulfilled instead of looking to make a change. Ask yourself what you have to lose by looking? You may be surprised at the answer.
Sometimes we stay in one place even when we think we’d like to be someplace else as a way of avoiding the problem. For instance, does your marriage feel stale, unfulfilling? Perhaps you daydream about leaving the marriage and finding someone more exciting. Is it possible that your daydreams are keeping you rooted in the problems rather than using the energy to work on the marriage? Maybe you and your spouse need to begin to talk about the problems or see a marriage counselor.
Some people feel trapped because they feel locked into something due to commitments they have made. For instance, staying in a job because the income is one you’ve become dependent on due to a high mortgage or children about to go to college. In this case staying put may actually help you to feel better in the long run.
So look at why you feel trapped and ask yourself what you may be avoiding, afraid of, or waiting for. This may help you get unstuck or help you to feel better about the decision to stay put.
Linda Walter, LCSW NY and Westchester Psychotherapist