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Getting Emotionally Unstuck

Have you ever mistakenly tried to use glue to stick something together? Not a glue stick, but real, hard, adhesive glue? I have, and it’s not comfortable. If you get your hand in the glue, it takes a lot of effort to get unstuck. In some cases, you’ll need the help of someone else to help you out.

I once attended a counselling session while studying for my MSc in Therapeutic Counselling (I didn’t complete the course, but that’s another story). I can recall the student counsellor’s attempt to help me dig deeper into a specific moment from my past. It was an uncomfortable exercise. After a few minutes, I felt that I had moved on from that moment and wasn’t interested in talking about it. But the more I narrated the moment to her, and she said, “Tell me more about...”, something clicked. I had not actually moved on from that moment. My physical presence had outgrown it, but my mental and emotional space remained stuck, as if in glue, even though the events of my life have moved me on. Deep in my subconscious was the recorded tape of that moment still on replay.

The replay button is the glue that sticks the negative effects of the event firmly together. This unconsciously influences your thought patterns, which then form behaviour patterns and habits. Being self-aware was pivotal. Because from the moment of that realisation, I was able to map out my recovery plan and get myself out of my emotional stuck-ness.

People get stuck in their negative narrative all the time, some of us more than others. When we replay the same narrative year after year, consciously or unconsciously, it’s no surprise that we keep getting the same results. Only when we adopt a different approach, we can get our desired result. Our willingness to allow a deep internal clean-up will help us wash out all the emotional stickiness and create space for a deeper connection to experiences that better serve our life’s purpose. External success can give us the illusion that we’re winning on the inside, but only you know whether that’s true or not.

Winning on the inside is a conscious effort. It requires a willingness to strategically evaluate your life through the lens of truth, identify where you need support, and ask for help. It is necessary to detach who you are from the experience. Experience is one thing, who you are is entirely separate. There must be a separation process so you can view both aspects of your life objectively.

Getting in touch with your internal stuff allows you to process it, which lets you move on from it. The reality is that most people today grew up with the notion that it’s better to hide your feelings than to talk about them. This, of course, is one of the most destructive ideas to carry with you, because it means that your thoughts never get processed. They just spin around in your head ad infinitum. But addressing them by talking about them (with friends or, better yet, a counsellor or a psychologist) is one way to step out of them.

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