Pity Parties and Dancing with Stuckness

What happened when I realized I was in a rut and how I emerged out of it.

The Thrive Global Community welcomes voices from many spheres on our open platform. We publish pieces as written by outside contributors with a wide range of opinions, which don’t necessarily reflect our own. Community stories are not commissioned by our editorial team and must meet our guidelines prior to being published.

Sometimes, when we get stuck, there is value in staying stuck.

When I wrote about the power of joy recently, I should have known that I would immediately be put to the test.  Right after publishing that blog, I stumbled into a series of small incidences that sent me into a nosedive. I know the tricks that help bring me back to a state of joy and here was my test. Did I do them?


I delayed, I procrastinated, I came up with reasons why my tools were not worth pursuing. Dancing to my favorite music? Meh. Exercise? I pulled my hamstring and could not be bothered to go to the pool. Hanging out with friends? I isolated myself instead, saving my friends from my surliness. Grumpy dwarf could have taken lessons from me. I blamed the overcast weather, I blamed my injury, my spouse, I blamed the alignment in the stars, the tides and well, you get the picture. I was stuck in my morass and as I kept looking for a way out, I had to acknowledge the giant elephant in the room.

I didn’t want out. There was a part of me that wanted to wallow in the muck. I wanted to lay in the mess and make mud angels in my cocktail mix of pessimism, pity and blame. This part of me wanted to put on a black leather jacket and give inspiration and joy the middle finger. Destruction, implosion and misery sounded way more interesting.



Um, yeah. Not my proudest moment but a powerful one. Something changed when I acknowledged this inner rebellion. I was able to see more everything more clearly.

I dug up a blog written by a friend Elisa Mehl, that had always resonated with me. I respect her immensely. She talks about the experience of feeling stuck:

“When we can’t move forward, often it’s because we are not finished with the experience we are actually having. What if we were simply present for the rich alive pulsing of the exact state and moment? What if we didn’t pay attention to our mind, or society, or friends telling us we should be more mature or positive or open or accepting or whatever?

Often this takes a reframe. We are conditioned to seeing our “stuckness” as bad. But what if we reframe the stuckness into an embrace?”

• When we try to change something we are outside of it.
• By not trying to change something and being curious we get present.
• Presence carries us inside, to the center of whatever is going on.
• In the center, is our presence. Presence is life.
• Our perspective is different when we are present.

Until I acknowledged my desire to stay in the misery, I was fighting an unseen opponent, one stealth and well-versed in ambushing me. In getting curious about my desire to stay stuck, I could suddenly start to see my choices again. I had more space to see and decide and felt less committed to my inky pity pit. I invited my husband for a surf and went for a walk with a friend and did some stretching. I even dragged myself to a yoga class. Afterwards, I felt the best I had in weeks and I remembered why I like to feel good.

It’s rejuvenating and the the world is brighter again.

We all drop into that hole in life. And sometimes, we want to stay in the hole. The key is to get curious about it. Be present with it. Acknowledge it. Then, decide. Where do you want to go next?

Share your comments below. Please read our commenting guidelines before posting. If you have a concern about a comment, report it here.

You might also like...


Mindfulness in Death

by Leigh Koechner

sHeroes: How Author Patrice Tanaka is helping people ‘live their purpose’ to unleash greater success, fulfillment and joy in their personal lives, workplaces and communities

by Alexandra Spirer

Sign up for the Thrive Global newsletter

Will be used in accordance with our privacy policy.

Thrive Global
People look for retreats for themselves, in the country, by the coast, or in the hills . . . There is nowhere that a person can find a more peaceful and trouble-free retreat than in his own mind. . . . So constantly give yourself this retreat, and renew yourself.


We use cookies on our site to give you the best experience possible. By continuing to browse the site, you agree to this use. For more information on how we use cookies, see our Privacy Policy.