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7 Beliefs That Will Help When You Get Stuck

7 Beliefs That Will Help When You Get Stuck

Being stuck sucks.

There’s that part of you that wants to get moving, wants to make something amazing happen and doesn’t want to waste any more time, but there’s that other part of you that doesn’t know where to start, doesn’t feel enthused about the options and sometimes feels powerless to change anything.

So, yeah, it sucks.

The good news is, your best weapon in the fight against being stuck is in that wonderful brain of yours—your thinking and your beliefs.

So, here are seven beliefs that will help you get unstuck.

1. I don’t need to have all the information

It’s good to get your facts right before attempting to make a decision, but that can often become an exercise in gathering together and pouring over all of the information and details you can find, to the point where you contract a solid case of analysis-paralysis-itis. (Yeah, that’s a thing).

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You don’t need all of the information, and as there will always be unknowns in life, it’s unlikely that it’s even possible to get all of it. Surrounding yourself with information and details is really just swaddling yourself in a comfort blanket.

It’s much better to know enough to make a choice and to let go of the rest.

2. I can trust my intuition

That quiet little voice way down inside you is pretty darn smart. It knows what matters to you. It knows who you are. It knows what you can do if you get behind a decision. The trouble is, with all the pressure to succeed and get things right, it’s easy to not hear it among the sound and fury of everything else.

But it never goes away. Your intuition is there, right now. It’ll give you huge clues about what’s next, and it will always try to tell you what you need to know.

All it takes is the belief that you can trust your intuition; then you just need to practice hearing it.

3. I’m more than my circumstances

When you’re stuck, all you can see are the walls around you. Whichever way you turn, you just can’t seem to find a way out or through, so you keep on butting up against those walls, getting more and more frustrated, tired and disillusioned.

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After a while, it’s easy to start defining yourself by the circumstances you find yourself in. You may think you’re small, stuck and not good enough.

The truth is that you’re vastly capable, and have barely touched the ceiling of that capability. You have strengths, talents and experiences that amount to something. You have options, choices and the ability to make things happen. You have potential and possibility in your fingertips. You’re way more than any circumstances.

4. My next move doesn’t have to be “right”

The world rams success down your throat and tells you that you’re less than if you’re not successful. The pressure that creates to be successful and have your next choice be the “right” one is immense, and you can endlessly pressure, doubt and second-guess yourself in pursuit of what’s right.

But there is no right way. If I can paraphrase Frank Sinatra, there’s only your way. Pressuring yourself to get it right will get you nowhere fast, so what if there was no right or wrong answer?

How about simply believing that whatever happens, you can always make a great choice?

5. I can gently explore what’s next for me

Decisions are strange things. We sometimes in invest so much in them that we think everything hinges on our next choice; that it’s make or break, flourish or flounder, live or die.

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The stories you tell yourself about what’s next for you and the drama inherent in those stories cast you as the protagonist struggling against the odds, and they can feel compelling enough to keep you stuck for a very long time.

But things don’t have to be full of drama and weight. Look at a choice with a sense of playfulness rather than fear. Approach an opportunity with curiosity rather than dread. Take that next step with light feet rather than dragging your heels.

De-dramify where you’re at and go play instead.

6. I don’t need to judge the process

Do you blame yourself for being stuck? Do you beat yourself up for not being able to move forward? Or perhaps you blame other people or circumstances for not giving you what you need?

However much you might resist it, life will always be full of twists and turns; those ups and downs are part of the deal. Judging the swings and roundabouts of life is like blaming a year for having a winter, so watch yourself when you’re judging or blaming things for being how they are.

Embrace the process, don’t beat on it.

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7. Asking for help doesn’t make me “less than”

Ever felt like you need to solve your problems by yourself? What about feeling like you shouldn’t bother someone else with your “stuff”? Or, maybe you feel too ashamed or embarrassed to ask for help?

When you’re stuck, it feels as though it’s just you, doesn’t it? You see other people going about their lives, getting things done and having fun doing it, so you might think that nobody else gets stuck like you. But they do. You just don’t see what’s happening in their heads or hearts.

Asking for help and support doesn’t make you weak any more than having a bowl of pasta makes you Italian. It’s sometimes the bravest and wisest thing you can do, and we’re all stronger and better when we’re connected. You don’t have to do this alone.

The bottom line?

You’re only as stuck as you let yourself believe you are. There are always options and there are always choices. What counts then, are the beliefs you hold about what you do—or don’t do—next.

What’s your next move?

More by this author

Steve Errey

Steve is a confidence coach who helps leaders build confidence.

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Published on April 7, 2021

6 Signs Of A Controlling Person To Be Aware Of

6 Signs Of A Controlling Person To Be Aware Of

Some of the most manipulative people are so good at what they do that their words and actions can convince you into thinking they truly care about what’s best for you when in reality, it’s quite the opposite. The most common signs of a controlling person are rarely obvious to outside observers. And for someone enmeshed in a controlling relationship or friendship, it can be incredibly challenging to stay away from this toxic person, even if you’re aware of their emotionally abusive tendencies.

While it’s ultimately up to you to decide whether to preserve or leave a lopsided, unfulfilling relationship, it’s nevertheless critical to understand the following six signs of controlling people so you can better advocate for yourself and mitigate the influence of their manipulative tendencies in your own life.

1. They Push Their Own Personal Agenda

Do you know someone who always tries to micromanage the words, behaviors, and attitudes of people around them? Does this person act like they have the right to know anything they want about you, including your location, what you’re doing in a given moment, who you’re talking to online, or any other private information about you? And when planning events and special occasions, does this person dominate conversations, steer plans in their own preferred directions, disparage others’ suggestions, and refuse to collaborate with anyone who might disagree with them?

If you answered “yes” to some of the above questions, then those are clear signs of a controlling person whom you absolutely need to be cautious around. Controlling people are reluctant to even consider alternative ideas, let alone enthusiastically work with people who have differing views. They prefer to be the captain of every ship—regardless of how much or how little an issue personally impacts them—and they have an arsenal of manipulative tactics to deploy if someone stands in the way of them achieving their own personal agendas.

In long-term relationships with controlling people, you may feel constantly pressured to meet their demands, follow their schedule, and focus on whatever they feel is most important. It’s not an exaggeration to say that these people act like the universe revolves around them, which can be exhausting to deal with for their family members, friends, and colleagues.

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2. They Make Everything Transactional

Controlling people aren’t always self-centered, but they’re not too empathetic either. Empathy for them tends to appear in the form of strategic concessions they use as a means to get what they want. They typically view interpersonal relationships as transactional opportunities to extract more value from people surrounding them, which can have a draining effect on those they interact with.

For example, one sign of a controlling person may be their insistence on “keeping score.” This can involve doing nice things for you with the ulterior motive of demanding something from you at a later date in exchange for what you thought was just an act of kindness or a friendly support.

Perhaps they shower you in praise (also known as “love-bombing”) or gifts then blow up at you if you don’t intuitively know they’re expecting something back from you. None of us are mind-readers, but controlling people behave as though everyone else should think and act like they want others to and those who fall out of line are punished for failing to meet their impossible expectations.

A controlling person may also threaten to withhold support if you don’t adhere to their demands, but they do so in such subtle ways that the guilt they impose blinds you from the unreasonable nature of their behaviors.

Some statements to be wary of include:

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  • “I did ___________ for you. What do you mean you can’t do ___________ for me?”
  • “Remember how I helped you with ___________? That took a lot of time and energy from me, but I guess you didn’t appreciate my help.”
  • “I always give you ___________. Don’t you care about my needs too?”
  • “You’re so selfish!” or “You don’t care about me at all!” (gaslighting if you respond with hesitation or politely decline their request for help for perfectly valid reasons, such as not having enough time or resources to assist them)

3. They Criticize Everything

One of the most common telltale signs of a controlling person is their capacity to criticize anything and everything, even small things that seemingly don’t matter. As with many toxic traits in relationships, these problems typically start out so small that you may not even notice. At first, you may even agree with their criticism or at least be able to understand their perspective when they bring up an issue.

However, the criticism tends to get more intense, more constant, and more perplexing for people who maintain relationships with controlling people. You’ll likely notice how they rarely seem to criticize something they do. It’s almost always other-oriented and these types of people are so manipulative that any rationale they offer can seem plausibly legitimate.

Some warning signs of a controlling person who’s overly critical to the point of abusiveness include:

  • Criticizing things about you that you have little to no control over (e.g., appearance, disability, family)
  • Criticizing your personal choices and interests, such as educational pursuits, career, clothing, favorite music, time spent on your hobbies, etc.
  • Punishing you for expressing vulnerability by invalidating thoughts and feelings you share with them
  • Attacking you whenever you express an opinion counter to theirs

4. They Balk When Someone Criticizes Them

We all know the adage, “what goes around, comes around.” But this statement doesn’t apply as much to toxic, controlling people. They’d much prefer to dish out criticism without ever having to take it in return.

For instance, if your friend constantly talks about your appearance with little regard for your emotions but flips out if you make just a single comment about their appearance, there’s a possibility that they could have some hidden controlling tendencies left unchecked. Remember, these people aren’t just controlling in their behaviors towards others. They’re also actively trying to stay in complete control over every aspect of their lives, which includes how others view them.

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This seemingly insatiable desire for control can prompt them to lash out against even the smallest bits of criticism, leaving people around them too weary or scared to speak up again in the future. While it’s possible they may suffer from something called rejection sensitivity dysphoria, this does not excuse them from the consequences of their words and actions. They should seek professional help to better manage their reactions to criticism.

5. They Socially Isolate You

Not all controlling people do this, but for manipulative narcissists, socially isolating victims is a go-to strategy for maintaining control because it’s effective at preventing people from truly understanding how toxic their partner, family member, or friend is treating them. Think of it this way—if you don’t talk to many other people in your life, there’s less of a risk that you’ll damage their reputation by revealing their abusive tendencies.

Socially isolating others also gives the person more control over you and your life as it becomes more difficult to break away from them if you don’t have other healthier channels of communication and interpersonal support to turn to.

This process doesn’t happen overnight, nor is it something you can readily recognize as abusive. At first, it may seem reasonable, such as asking you to stop engaging so often with family members with whom both of you disagree on major social or political issues. As the social isolation progresses, they may suggest cutting people out of your life—especially if they don’t like that person, regardless of how you personally feel—or even conjure up high-stakes problems like “it’s me or them” under the guise of saving you from people in your life whom they don’t like for whatever reason.

In a controlling person’s life narrative, they’re always the protagonist who’s incapable of any wrongdoing. The blame is always redirected at someone else, whether that’s you or other people in your life. The more they isolate you from other supportive people in your life, the more susceptible you’ll be to falsely believing that they’re right and you “don’t need” your other friends and family when you have someone as perfect as this person.

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6. They’re Emotionally Abusive

It’s hard enough to be in control of your own emotions but when someone else is constantly belittling you and your interests or leveraging guilt and shame to manipulate you into saying or doing what they want, this can make it even more challenging to stay in control of your own life and emotional well-being.

Emotional abuse is another sign of a controlling person that is often overlooked in relationships. After all, human personalities vary widely in terms of passivity, and it’s not uncommon for one person in a relationship to be significantly more passive than the other. This becomes an issue when the controlling partner or friend exudes signs of emotional abuse, which can start subtly and become much more pronounced over time.

Concerning signs of emotionally abusive language or behavior to watch out for include:

  • Dismissing your needs and/or belittling your interests in counterproductive ways
  • Privately or publicly shaming or humiliating you
  • Making you feel as though you can never live up to their expectations or do anything right (according to their own vague, subjective standards)
  • Gaslighting you into thinking they said or did something that never actually happened (making you question your own reality)

Final Thoughts

It’s sometimes hard to see the negative things about someone with whom we have a relationship. We may sometimes unconsciously overlook the signs of a controlling person, especially if that person is someone we have known for a long time or are close to us. However, cutting them off your life is the best thing you can do for yourself. Just watch out for these six signs of a controlling person and take immediate action when you spot them.

More Tips on How To Deal With a Controlling Person

Featured photo credit: Külli Kittus via unsplash.com

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