If You’re Feeling Trapped…
We’ve all been there: you think you’re making a decision you can live with forever, or at least for the next five years. But life happens, you grow, situations change, and suddenly this thing you thought you could do begins to feel impossible. You’re feeling trapped because…
… this thing (or person) you thought you loved suddenly feels more soul-sucking then a Dementor’s kiss.
Do you soldier on, feeling like a martyr? Throw in the towel and feel like a hypocrite or a flake?
In the thick of it, it’s hard to know how to move forward with your sense of self intact.
When you’re feeling trapped, when it seems you have no good options, it’s time to give yourself permission to choose again.
It doesn’t matter whether we’re talking about a marriage, your work in the world, or a pet adoption. In order to get back to a place where you have options, a place where you can choose again, you’re going to have to expunge the guilt you feel from not sticking with your original plan.
I’m not gonna lie: this is hard, hard, hard.
Because if you’re a responsible person (and I know you are), people count on you. You probably think disappointing those people is what makes breaking a promise so tough.
But that’s not truly it.
When you’re feeling trapped, and you give yourself permission to choose again, the hardest thing to accept is that your choice isn’t going to have the cosmic impact you think it will. Hear me out: we build our self-identities on our relationships, on the promises we keep, on the people we love and support.
Letting those people down is a blow to our image of ourselves.
In modern culture, we tend to build our identity on things like being a loving mother, a caring wife, a strong feminist, or an inspiring teacher. When we fail to be those things, we lose a piece of ourselves. Which means it’s possible, if enough of these bits fall away, to lose ourselves entirely.
Which is why every wisdom tradition aims for detachment from these types of identity markers.
This is the path out of the trap.
What identity are you clinging to? Are you “the best sister” or “the most trustworthy employee”? In your mind, name it and release it.
(Look around: you’re still here. The people you love and care for, they’re still here as well.)
The next step is to mentally undo the choice which has you feeling trapped. In your mind, walk away from the job, the marriage, the cat that’s just marked your antique chair. Do this whole heartedly, with full permission to move this from a mental exercise to reality if it feels right. If you can, talk to other people who would be affected by your decision (I’m always shocked at the support I receive from people I was sure would resist).
Get yourself set up for a full-on exodus, mentally prepare yourself to leave this situation behind. Write the notes you might need to send, list the phone calls you might need to make. Go all the way down the mental rabbit hole. Give yourself complete permission to walk away.
But, and this is important, take no action.
You’re gonna live with this mental construct for 24 hours. Feel into unmaking the choice which has you feeling trapped. Use your favorite tools– meditation, journeywork, a hot bath– to open your heart and intuition.
I promise you this process is going to shift everything.
After 24 hours look at the situation with fresh eyes. Then choose again. The act of making a decision breaks the illusion of being trapped and let’s you fully own your choices. It allows you to recommit to yourself, reigniting your passion and purpose….
….And there is so much power and joy in that.
P. S. Need a hand reconnecting with your passion?
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