Have you ever felt trapped, even when things are seemingly going well? You are grateful for what you already have in life, but how come you still feel empty from time to time? Have you wondered if you are divinely guided for real?
Embarking on personal development journey is the most exciting, energizing feeling in the world. Doing something that I’m genuinely passionate about while serving others is EVERYTHING, and my heart knows how much it means to me. Ok, I wish the story can just end here. Lol.
However, there had been moments when I felt totally beat up, frustrated, uninspired to create anything and just couldn’t get my mojo back. In reality, there was nothing particular happening on the surface, but it felt horrible to be stuck on the inside and not knowing when exactly it’ll end. It’s like walking against the current.
Not being able to be fully focused on what I am meant to do was killing my soul day after day. It’s almost like I could see my Higher Self drifting apart from me further and further. Total stagnation, heaviness and mental exhaustion, and I wanted to isolate myself, period.
Parts of me were yearning to be heard and healed, and I know if I chose to overlook those feelings and kept on doing what I thought I should be doing while pretending everything was ok, the near-sightedness could probably manifest more internal chaos.
Well, I couldn’t find a better way to describe it other than referring to “The Dark Night of the Soul” where life simply requires us to look deeper within and to re-evaluate what truly matters at our core level.
If you have experienced or are going through a similar phase in your life, you are not alone. This is what I have learned during the awkward period of my personal development journey.
1. Remember your power
As a recovering perfectionist, I used to deal with a lot of shame and guilt during the period of uncertainty and often blamed myself for not being able to get my act together as fast as I could. Watching the time ticking away brought me an extra layer of anxiety. As much as I wanted to snap out of the funk and stopped feeling like a hot mess, I also noticed how little patience and compassion I was willing to give to myself.
When you feel like being sucked into a spiral of negative thinking, it can evoke feelings that your life is out of control. What’s worse is that you may unconsciously create a false identity as if you are a failure or a screwed up victim of some kind. Living in fear can make you forget how powerful you are and let the vicious cycle drag on forever.
However long it takes, it’s necessary to forgive yourself if you fall or feel like you are not at the best phase of your life. Don’t judge your character based on how chaotic you feel. It’s not you, it’s only something that you’re experiencing. Even though you might wonder if you’re regressing in life, you are still progressing. Progress is never a linear line; it’s a zigzaggy road.
Life is a rollercoaster ride. It’s ok to relapse and it’s only temporary. At the same time, it’s important not to dwell on it and keep trying. Remember who you are and know that you are not a victim in spite of all the heaviness you feel. Keep starting over; every day is a new beginning. You are born with massive willpower and intention to change your reality.
2. Allow more Solitude
It’s a sensitive period indeed. It’s ok to create alone time for yourself. It doesn’t matter if you are an introvert or an extrovert, everyone needs alone time. Perhaps you feel people don’t quite get what you are going through and you just don’t bother to explain more. You feel the urge or need to disconnect from outside sources (e.g., social media, social events). And that’s all normal.
It doesn’t mean that you don’t love your friends or family anymore, but you are at a transition stage where you need to incubate in order to process and heal internally. Without making time and space for yourself to unplug once in a while, it’s difficult to live your day-to-day life connecting with others from your most genuine loving place.
When we are overly attached to the outside stimuli (people, material things, events), we tend to bypass our internal needs on spiritual and emotional levels, and consequently, we call in more void, confusion, and emptiness within us. It only lengthens the darkness period because we’re so externally focused and our minds are easily scattered. As a result, we lose a sense of who we are and what we truly want in life.
You will feel the quality of the connection with others again once you allow yourself time to go through the awkward cocoon stage. Genuine connection happens only when you feel fully aligned with yourself, not from a place of void nor pleasing others.
3. Stay Present
During this period, dealing with undesirable emotions may not be easy, but it’s simple. Choose to stay present as much as possible. The heavier you feel, the more you need to learn how to be a great supporter of yourself. Don’t try to escape from where you are. That’s the worst possible decision you can make for yourself.
Distracting your attention by doing things/activities to numb the icky feelings is like applying multiple layers of Band-Aid on the outside, it just won’t work, because what you are coping with is a bone fracture underneath, not only a wound.
By being present, you are the most powerful. Only by tapping into the NOW, you can be aware from moment to moment that helps you make conscious choices to shift from where you are (e.g., frustration, overwhelm, anxiety) to where you want to be.
4. Ask the Higher Power for help
You heard me right, believe it or not, you are always guided, even if you don’t feel like it. But you need to make a call, just like calling a friend via a phone. I really enjoy reading The Universe Has Your Back by Gabrielle Bernstein. Whenever I feel I am at the verge of losing my faith, I use prayers to help me reconnect to my inner truth of who I am. I’m not bound to any religious system, but I’ve personally experienced and witnessed miracles many times in my life.
One of my favorite prayers is:
“Thank you, Universe, for presenting me with this divine assignment for spiritual growth and healing. I am ready and willing to show up for this assignment with love. I welcome your support. Show me where to go, what to do, and what to say. I trust I’m being guided.” (Gabrielle Bernstein)
5. Open Your Heart
Choose to surrender. When you are in the NOW, that’s the only way you can truly acknowledge how you feel in your body and what your needs are. But, when you find yourself trying to jump into situations and be a fixer, you are not trusting your heart, where your inner wisdom resides. Open your heart to receive is critical. When your heart space is open, you welcome healing to take place, and that’s when beautiful things start to happen.
Meditation is extremely helpful to support you to stay not only present but also opening your heart space. When you feel the calmness in you after taking several deep breaths, imagine yourself having a caring conversation with someone you deeply care about who was struggling with the same issue you are. It requires total honesty and compassion between you and yourself.
What is one feeling you’ve been having?
How would you like to feel now?
If you loved yourself fully, how would you treat yourself today?
What are your greatest qualities?
What do you need right now?
Be open to receiving anything that might come up. You might get an intuitive answer right after. If you don’t, it’s fine as well. There’s no need to judge. Continue to talk to yourself as someone you love immensely and just feel anything that’s coming to the surface. You might feel the need to cry, scream, take a nap, or even just drink a cup of water. Whatever comes up, give yourself that.
6. Quit being so serious
Take it light and don’t make it so personal. Adding more seriousness on top of the hot burner is probably the least thing you want to do. It’s just part of the life you are experiencing as an H-U-M-A-N. Welcome to the planet, called Earth! Have fun even when you feel like you’ve been trapped in this endless dark swirl forever.
Staying curious like a 3-year-old can really help you lighten up! What I did was to really take a good look at myself in the mirror! Look how droopy my face can look like when I felt miserable. Then, I started making a big dorky laugh (need to see the teeth) on purpose even if I thought it was a completely silly, ironic idea.
“Ha-Ha-Ha…look, you just got trapped again, Ha-Ha-Ha…this is too funny, Ha-Ha-Ha…” When I voiced it out loud (even in a hilarious animated tone), my spirit literally got uplifted and my body felt 10 pounds lighter!
Even though it’s a counterintuitive approach, it helps create new neural pathways in our brain to tap into other available emotional states and change the way we feel in our body. Try it or create your own! Being able to laugh at yourself at critical times is an art you want to master. The spirit inside hears you, and trust that she will show you the magic to fuel your mojo tank up.
7. Ask for Support
Depending on the personal challenge, it can be embarrassing to call attention to yourself in a way that might seem “needy.” Yet, there are times when we really do need assistance, and most people in your life really do want to help or be there in some way; they just may not know how. It’s important to receive emotional/spiritual support from others who have the ability to guide you or give you the space to heal when you go through a difficult period. I highly recommend seeking professional support like a mentor or someone who you can trust 100% to witness and support through your vulnerable moments without judgment.
8. Today, I Am Grateful of…
Depsite the intuitive understanding of the importance of gratefulness, all too often when life throws us curve balls, this grateful mindset all but disappears. It is certainly easier to be grateful when you are on a winning team, and things go in your favor. However, the true test of real gratefulness comes when life doesn’t go your way. After all, we might wonder, what is there to be grateful about when things go wrong?
It is during these difficult times that gratitude must become a deliberate, active practice. When you feel knocked down by life, find any little thing that is working and cling to it. Start with any little thing. The breath in your body. A place to sleep. A sip of water. Eyes to see colors. A friend to call. A loved one to hug. When you think of it, these so-called little things are not really little at all. They are actually life giving.
Embrace every little part of the journey even if we might hit a plateau, a bad day or just feel like crap from time to time. And yes, life can get very messy sometimes, but you’re discovering that your strength comes precisely from your ability to experience a Dark Night of the Soul and come out of it with scars blazing like badges of honor. Your strength comes from your ability to adapt and overcome to falling apart and coming back together again, from wholeness to brokenness and back to a stronger form.
Regardless of how we feel inside (e.g., sadness, happiness, depression, excitement), every cell in our body is committed to working hard without us having to worry. We always have the opportunities to make a shift whenever we feel ready and choose to continue experiencing what this life has to offer. Be proud of yourself for loving all the way through it. 🙂
Sending you lots of Love, Joy, Peace & Happiness!