There’s a thickness to life many men try to ignore or plow through. They’ll feel stuck at work, in relationships, with health problems and/or risky behaviours.
Being stuck describes a stage where you feel trapped. It’s not that you cannot move, but that you’ve convinced yourself you have nowhere to go — or sometimes even feel you lack the power to go forward in any direction.
While it may be rooted in some reality and perhaps even a major life event, men have a way of driving the feeling deeper only to aggravate the problem. That type of response can have profound effects on our quality of life and overall health.
For instance, Sean Hatton, PhD, an author of a recent study conducted by the University of California – San Diego, indicated that research shows having more negative midlife events “was associated with advanced predicted brain aging.” Therefore, it’s easy to see why it is important to quickly attempt to get out of whatever rut you are in.
5 Symptoms of Feeling Stuck
Psychological, physical and social influences and how we let them affect us often lead to a feeling of being stuck, sluggish and slow.
- Slow to move! Money, emotions, health and other factors combine and reinforce each other to encircle your position. And, the failure to act on any single issue only compounds the problem with others.
- Fear of failure! Men have an image issue. They fear they’ll look vulnerable or ‘weak’ to family, friends and coworkers. And, this may be launched by a fear of being rejected or being seen as irrelevant and worthless.
- Shortened life! Men appear to have a mental bucket list. From their earliest years, they imagine checking off a to-do list, but reaching middle age shortens their opportunity. And that finite view of time and opportunity multiplies other weaknesses.
- Fragile ego! Men seem gifted with big egos. The energy born of the ego drives major positive outcomes. But egos are fragile creations, and when they crack, they soon shatter. An insult at work, a rejection by a spouse, a child with a criminal record — events like these can rock a man and possibly bring his life to a standstill.
- Emotional collapse! Men have emotions too, but social and cultural conventions prohibits them from displaying them. Many men are simply incapable of recognizing and/or managing theirs, so they suppress them into a state of depression, which shuts down their communication and social interaction.
5 Ways To Climb Out Of The Rut
The simple truth is that there isn’t a roadmap. However, following the expert advice of a life coach or counsellor should help you beat the doubt and find steps that work best for you. This is not a quick or instant fix and could take some time, but it should bring about a lasting result. Here are the best steps to consider while you are researching the best health professional for your goals.
- Avoid poor choices! Some men combat their situation with a supercharged change in behaviour believing that all they need is a boost in excitement or risk. They increase their addiction to alcohol, gambling or pornography, start a sexual affair or spend money foolishly. There are better choices than burning or blasting your way through barriers. Choices which bring quick relief at the cost of your morals or principles are to be avoided all together.
- Work on it! Too many men, feeling trapped in their marriage or dealing with different negative family situations, seek release in risky, even illegal sexual activity. For these mens, there are explanations — if not justifications — for these extreme behaviours. Separation and divorce may be the best solution in some cases, especially if the relationship is toxic. But men do better if they act to manage their triggers. They can pursue marriage and/or family counselling, seek personal psychological help or work with partners to recharge and deepen the relationship emotionally and physically.
- Re-balance Your Perspective – Count your favourite things! Feeling stuck often comes from things you can’t control easily. Financial problems come with changes in the economy. Jobs disappear following a merger. And, men assume responsibilities they have not earned. Drawing a line down a page, you can list your favourite things on one side and your problems on the other. You can then cross out the listed problems you know you manage and typically you’ll find your favourite things outweigh the remaining problems.
- All Things Pass! The longer you stay stuck, the deeper your rut becomes. It’s like standing in the surf as your feet disappear in the sand. Trying to move your weighted feet takes effort and focus. But you can manage more problems more easily than you think. All problems have size and weight. That means you can get your arms around them enough to lift, carry and solve them. If, for example, you take the issues apart into smaller units, you should find the parts easier to process. Lose your job, and you get bogged down with why it was you, who had it in for you and what you did wrong. Do some quick reflection, learn from your discoveries and without judgement pick yourself up, refresh your resume and begin your job search.
- Reimagine the future! As competitive animals, men draw a dramatic vision of achievement and gain.
For men, the list is usually quantitative — owning an impressive home, a fast boat and supercar. Women, on the other hand tend to picture a more qualitative future — owning a comfortable home to which successful children return. Learn to reconfigure your vision to include a better balance of quality versus quantity-based goals.
No simple answer
There are as many causes, symptoms and therapies for feeling stuck as there are men in this world. Each case is a unique combination of factors. But a rut generally has a way out, even if you can’t see it and need the help of a success or life coach to get you focused on the right path and help you find a new energy, inspiration and solution.
Remember, every rut has an edge – something you can get your fingers on to take hold of and use to find your way out of. Find the edge and you have started your journey towards being free.