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There are times in life when we just don’t know how to move forward.
You may feel like you’re not making progress, or are having a hard time dealing with a difficult situation.
You’re stuck in limbo.
It’s especially not fun if you’re stuck in limbo because of other people. That happens. And it often happens because people just have a hard time making difficult decisions. For example, maybe you’re having a hard time with a romantic partner, and they are trying to decide whether to continue the relationship. So you sit there, racked with anxiety, waiting for the other shoe to drop.
Of course, there are times when you can’t help but wait. Maybe you’re trying to get accepted into a school you really want to go to, but hey, the process takes forever. You’re waiting and waiting to hear back from them and having a hard time with your patience. That’s okay.
They say that patience is a virtue for good reason. Sometimes things just don’t happen quickly.
On the other hand, sometimes you need to get out there and make things happen. You can’t let life just happen to you. Otherwise, other people are making decisions about your life for you. No decision is a decision to let chance, fate, or people who don’t have your best interests in mind make your decisions. It’s a garbage way to live because no one else is you.
No one else can know you as well as you know yourself. Therefore, no one can determine what is right for your life and make decisions accordingly.
So, let’s look at some ways to get out of feeling stuck in limbo and move forward.
Speak to an accredited and experienced therapist to help you when you feel stuck in limbo. You may want to try speaking to one via BetterHelp.com for quality care at its most convenient.
1. Take back your power.
What does it mean to “take back your power”?
Well, the idea isn’t all that complicated. Being stuck in limbo typically means waiting for something to happen or someone to do something. And, as I previously said, sometimes you don’t have a choice in waiting. You just have to wait for things to shake out.
On the other hand, there are undoubtedly situations where you shouldn’t be waiting. So let’s talk about a common one.
You’re having relationship problems. Your partner is kind of wishy-washy about them. They don’t want to talk about it. This has been dragging on for weeks, possibly months.
Sometimes people can drag out the inevitable for years because they just don’t want to make the decision to break up. Maybe they don’t want to be painted as the bad guy because they lack the self-esteem to accept that breaking up is not being the bad guy. It’s giving both parties permission to move on.
So, what do you do? Well, you consider the situation and first try to come to a realization. Then, you may suggest things like couples counseling, individual counseling, or trying to re-spark the passion in the relationship for one another.
But then they hem and haw over it because they just don’t want to make a decision. So, you make the decision for the both of you:
“This isn’t working for me. We’re both wasting a lot of time here, and I’m ready to move on if you’re unwilling to work on the relationship.”
Now, the reality is that you may not be ready to move on. Instead, you’re choosing to say, “I’m no longer going to entertain the situation. It is not respectful to me as a person.”
Sometimes you just need to take back your power.
2. Any decision is better than no decision.
So, you have three options in front of you. You feel overwhelmed by the choices. Each one has its merits and flaws. You’ve made a pros and cons list for each thing and the potential outcomes. You can see that any one of those decisions can potentially lead you off into better things.
Because each outcome has the potential to be good, but it also has the potential to be bad. You don’t know what to decide. What if you don’t like the outcome of the decision? What if you make the wrong decision?
Allow me to not lay your fears to rest at all!
You’re going to make the wrong decision. And you’re probably going to do it more than once.
That, my friend, is freedom. You’re going to make wrong decisions. You can’t avoid that. That’s just life.
You can line everything up, consider every angle, think you have it dialed in, and look both ways before you start to cross the street. What you didn’t see was the airplane that slammed into you unexpectedly.
There’s just that small thing that comes barreling out at you from nowhere, completely unexpected and unpredictable! Then your plans go up in flames.
Or, to quote Captain Jean-Luc Picard from Star Trek, “It is possible to commit no mistakes and still lose. That’s not weakness. That’s life.”
Embrace it! Love it! Accept that you’re a flawed human being in a difficult life and just pick something.
The worst thing you can do is not choose because then the decision is made for you. And while that may be tempting because you can try and shift blame…
“Well, I didn’t decide that! Therefore it’s not responsibility!”
It absolutely is. No decision is still a decision. It’s your life. It’s your responsibility.
So choose, and have faith in yourself that you can learn from your mistakes and adapt to new situations. And if you can’t do that, there are options for help. You can always talk to a counselor about it.
3. Choose radical responsibility.
Radical responsibility is an idea that has permeated self-help and coaching circles. The idea behind radical responsibility is simple – you are responsible for your own happiness and everything that happens to you in your life.
Let’s put a caveat on that, though. Because the rah-rah bullsh*t of self-help doesn’t always account for every situation…
Suppose you’ve experienced something terrible and traumatic in your life, struggled with mental illness, or suffered from totally unpredictable things. That is not your fault or responsibility.
However, many people stuck in limbo are there because they don’t want to take responsibility for their own happiness. Instead, they work abusive jobs, stay in terrible relationships, don’t draw boundaries with damaging people, and complain about it instead of changing their situation.
And in those situations? Well, you have no one to blame but yourself. That’s radical responsibility. You are responsible for your own happiness and well-being in this life. No one else can just hand it to you.
And hey, as someone who’s lived with chronic Bipolar-depression for about 30 years, I get it. That sh*t’s hard as f*ck.
But it’s still a necessary thing to try at.
Radical responsibility is to accept all the circumstances of your life. Not just the good. Not just giving credit to yourself when things go well. But also taking responsibility for the things that don’t work out.
Do you hate your relationship? Find a way to leave.
Do you hate your job? Find a new one.
Do you want to be healthy? Exercise and educate yourself on healthy foods.
Something didn’t work out right? Consider what decisions you made that might have contributed to that failure, fix them, and try again.
You don’t waste time blaming other people for your unhappiness.
Radical responsibility is freedom. Once you accept that all of the good and bad things in your life are due to your own decisions, you will feel empowered. Unless you have anxiety or self-esteem issues. Then you may feel overwhelmed or like you can’t do it. In that case, therapy may help you get there.
4. Change things up and try something new.
Feeling like you’re in limbo means you’re feeling stuck in life. You may be in a rut of familiarity that, while not good, is comfortable and welcoming because it’s a rut you know.
Okay, my life sucks, but I’m used to my life sucking. I’m used to coming home to a romantic partner that doesn’t treat me with love and respect. I’m used to my jerk of a boss at a company that views me as a disposable cog in a machine. I’m used to just sitting around and watching Netflix.
All of these things can become comfortable. And by comfortable, I don’t mean good. You get used to the trash, so why would you look for anything else?
Now listen, I’m not advocating just throwing your life up in the air and unmaking everything on a whim. Instead, try to change a few small things up. If you’re living a sedentary lifestyle, and let’s face it, many of us are; get out there and get active.
Sign up for a softball or basketball league. Get out and walk. Go on a nature walk. Many places have flat trails where you can walk through the woods or see some beautiful sights. Sign up for an art class at a local art center or college. Do some painting or sculpting. Travel if it’s within your capability. Hell, go see some of the sights in your own city that you may not have.
Just get out and try something new. Break up the monotony of your comfortable but unfulfilling life. See if you can find something to ignite your passion for living. That kind of decision will show you that you aren’t trapped, that there is a whole world out there for you to be a part of.
5. Talk to a therapist about your feelings.
You may find that talking to a therapist is helpful if you feel stuck in limbo. The nice thing about therapy is that a good therapist will help you unwind what’s going on in you without imposing their beliefs. Some do, but they really aren’t supposed to unless you directly ask for their opinion on the thing.
If you decide to go into therapy about it, go in with a specific directive and plan. The general advice of “go to therapy” is often bad because it provides no meaningful direction. It helps to have a destination, in much the same way as “Go for a drive!” lacks direction. Sure, it’s okay to wander around when you’re driving. Not so much in therapy if you want to make the most of it.
So, what do you do? Just tell them, “Look, I’m feeling stuck in life, as though I’m in limbo waiting for something to happen. Can you help me sort through this and find some direction?”
That gives you a clear goal to aim for, which allows you to have distinct success or failure conditions. Don’t sweat it if things don’t work out perfectly. Just keep working at it and trying different things until something clicks.
And look, try the stuff that sounds stupid to you in earnest. Give it a chance to work for you. As a cynical and bitterly depressed person, there were many things that I thought were just stupid and wouldn’t do anything meaningful. But I was wrong because I didn’t know enough about those things to make an educated decision.
So if you’re one of those people, embrace the direction that the therapist is trying to take with you to give it a chance to work for you. That may help you get unstuck and allow you to live the kind of life you want.
A good place to get professional help is the website BetterHelp.com – here, you’ll be able to connect with a therapist via phone, video, or instant message.
You might not think your problems are big enough to warrant professional therapy but please don’t do yourself that disservice. Nothing is insignificant if it is affecting your mental well-being.
So seek the help you deserve today. You’ve already taken the first step just by searching for and reading this article. Now it’s time to do what’s right for you.
Here’s that link again if you’d like to learn more about the service BetterHelp.com provide and the process of getting started.
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