By Brook West
When I think of an emotional rut, I think of a dog chasing its tail. The dog is stuck, caught in its own circle, repeating the same task with unsatisfying results.
Being in an emotional rut typically means feeling stuck, trapped by your circumstances, and not knowing what to do about it. Maybe you feel it’s time for a new career, or you enjoy your career but are in the wrong position. Maybe you’re stuck in your relationship, feeling like you have tried everything to fix it, are convinced it won’t get better, but still don’t know how to leave. Perhaps the daily routine has become predictable and boring – you wonder what happened to your hobbies (or what you hoped would become hobbies), and what happened to the dreams you had for yourself.
But just like the dog chasing its tail – you are the problem and the solution. Emotional ruts are a signal from your intuition that something needs to change. Feeling bored, detached, or exhausted by something is your personal instinct trying to send you a message. Your inner compass is alerting you to stop looking behind, work on your present, and move forward. Taking the advice of your own intuition is how you’re going to solve your way out of an emotional rut.
Now that your intuition has your attention, you don’t need to find a new job, end your relationship, or join a book club in order to acknowledge that you want to change and get out of the emotional rut. This is when you take the time to get used to the idea of change and open yourself to the possibility of new directions.
Consider New Opportunities
Change doesn’t happen without actual change. But before making any, you need to let yourself consider new opportunities. If you’re unsure of where to start, ask yourself what feels exciting. What interests you? What dreams have you had? What are your aspirations? Your intuition is giving you hints about which road to take, even if your logic doesn’t know how to get there. Use this time to share what you’re thinking and feeling with trusted friends and appropriate colleagues. They may help you identify talents and interests you haven’t considered for yourself.
Less Talk, More Action
You’ve spent all this time thinking and gathering ideas, now it’s time to take action. Keep in mind that your action doesn’t have to be high risk – even baby steps are considered action. What actions will get you closer to your interests? It could be as simple as researching the cost of tuition at a community college, looking for a beginner yoga class, or reading a book about your particular interest. Maybe an appointment with a career coach is what works for you. Even seemingly small actions put you in the pursuit of change and can give the push you need to see through the rut.
Consult With Your Intuition...Again
Instead of saying “I don’t know” and “I’m stuck” if (when) you hit a bump in the road, consult with your intuition again. Ask yourself: what do I enjoy doing; what is the next step; who is a good soundboard that can help me sort my choices; what do I really want. At any moment throughout the day, your intuition can prod you with inner desires and impulses that lead to paths of interest. Respect your instincts enough to give them the attention they deserve, and your inner compass will guide you out of your emotional rut.
Ruts are an opportunity to look beyond conventional wisdom, which is probably why they can feel so debilitating. But a dog shouldn’t chase its tail forever. The dog deserves chew toys, fields to run in, and someone to rub their belly. You are the only one who knows what you need the most, so why not listen to yourself?
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