It’s not an especially pleasant sensation. Being in a rut almost feels as though you’ve been drained of every last morsel of motivation and energy. Finding your way out of the gloom can feel impossible. You can’t even find it in you to get excited about your weekly painting class that you usually love. You’d prefer to stay on your sofa watching Friends reruns with pizza.
I get it. I’ve been there.
Actually, I end up there for a few days every few months. Remember, I’m a bit of a change addict. So, when life becomes “too settled” I easily find myself falling into these ruts.
The problem isn’t that we end up in these ruts, it’s more about how we look at the whole situation and handle it.
What being in a rut even means
As a true Canadian, the image that comes to mind when I imagine a rut is a crevice in the snow that your car gets stuck in.
This especially happens after a night of constant snowfall and the snow plough has already passed in from of your driveway. You try to get out and inevitably fall into the snow rut. Know what I mean?
For all you non-Canadians, a rut is a place that one falls into emotionally whe they’ve lost the excitement and motivation for life. There might be feelings of numbness, dissatisfaction, disorientation or a general blah feeling.
Just to be clear, this isn’t the same feeling as depression, sadness or feeling blue.
But instead, more about inactivity, like stagnant water like that of a swamp but within you.
Just like the swamp, we arrive to these ruts due to inactivity, idleness and lack of change.
Beauty in the swamp
Sure, a swamp has murky water that hasn’t been touched or stirred around in a while, but the area still blooms with life. Plants still grow and find nourishment from the sun and rich soil, beneath the layer of green sludge on the surface fish, frogs and water beings still grow and thrive and land creatures and bugs might still be found having a drink at the swamp’s edge.
The plants, insects and animals don’t sit around over thinking and judging the water’s stagnation and murky surface. They intuitively know that dirty or not, it gives them life.
Similarly, in order to find the beauty in our own moments of stagnation, we must accept what is and recognize the value of the rut.
Just like in moments of extreme sadness or difficulty, moments of confusion about how to move forward are a normal part of our existence. We get to certain crossroads and have absolutely no clue how to move forward. So instead of taking a decision we might regret, we stand and wait.
Out of fear, insecurity or confusion, we doubt which direction our life path should take. Then, just like a snowball, the more we doubt, the more scared and insecure we become and next thing you know, it’s been years and you’re still standing at the same roadblock, avoiding change, avoiding growth and just letting your inner self become like a swamp
The beauty of your rut
It’s not about what’s happening in your life, but about how you look at what’s happening in your life.
If you look at these moments of confusion, as beautiful opportunities to take your life path into new and exciting directions, they might not seem so horrible.
Or maybe recognize the value of being in a slump. It’s from these low places of self-doubt, pain and fear that we grow and learn the most. Think back to your last big emotional, or mental growth spur. I have no doubt that it happened after a low point where you experienced tough circumstances.
We usually end up in ruts because we’re not sure how to move forward. Sure, you can look at it as though it’s a horrible place to be in, or you can recognize the ray of light shinning into your murky swamp.
From this murky, unsure place you can potentially start finding your way to a life that feels more right for you. Living authentically is like a blooming flower that’s seed was planted in moments of doubt and unsureness.
You can either decide to water that seed or let it rot in the soil while you sit in your rut for years.
You get to choose!
Questioning in the rut
Often times, it’s only when we fall into these crevices of indecision that we even become aware of the fact that we’re lost.
Until then, we might’ve been living consciously or maybe not. But now that you are aware of the possibility of being able to consciously choose your own path, take advantage of the opportunity.
These are ideal moments to finally spend some time discovering and getting to know your true inner self, to then consciously and authentically find your way to a life you absolutely adore.
If this whole connecting within and getting to know your inner
- this article which gives you a concrete list of 8 ways to connect within
- this one all about loving yourself first to then be able to love others healthily and without attachment
- or this article for 7 ways to take control of your life
Wiggling out of the rut
The ideal way to start airing out your rut is by changing the way you look at the situation.
I know, that can be super tough when all you want to do is lounge on the couch, numbingly watching endless sitcom reruns. In fact, it’s in these slumps that I have the most trouble sustaining my daily meditation routine. It’s hard to want to sit in silence with my confused mind as it chatters ways about how lost I am.
But these are exactly the moments when I most need that type of quiet space with my inner self.
Sure, take a few days to indulge in some lazy lounging, but then make a plan to get yourself out of it. Get to the gym, go out for a walk in nature, connect with others, talk about what’s going on, make a vision board or sit down and write out what an ideal Monday looks like to you.
It doesn’t matter what you do, just make you do something.
This is like when you’re sick and spend a few days locked up in your bedroom with Vicks, a Kleenex box and so much time in bed that your body aches. Then, when you’re finally better, there’s nothing you want more than to open the window, clean out your sheets and get some air flowing into that dungeon of a bedroom.
Similarly, that’s what we want to do with our inner self. Give it space, fresh air and loosen the grip we have on our doubt, confusion or lack of motivation.
Often times, the more we think of something, the more we decide how true it is. We create an unnecessarily intense grip that constantly reinforces the idea that it’s an absolute truth.
If you constantly tell yourself for 2 weeks that you’re lost, confused, unsure what to do and feeling like crap, then inevitably that will be your reality.
Now instead, if you try to take your mind off your confusion, give it some air and space to breath, you might realize that your situation isn’t so bad. And from that place, it becomes easier to figure your next move.
If you’ve done it all and are surer than ever that you’re ready to make a change and find a life path that feels more right for you, then welcome to the journey. From here on in, you choose your own path.
I never said that living authentically is easy, but I would choose no other way.
If you’re curious about what next steps you could take to help more comfortably move through this transition or change in your life as you come out of your rut, join me for my next STUCK IN A RUT webinar. During these 30-minute online talks, I dive even deeper into solutions for getting out of a rut and moving through life changes with confidence.
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