Do you ever feel stuck? Like you’re in a place you just can’t get out of no matter how much you want too? Whether it’s being stuck at a job, in a relationship, a living space, or just not moving up the “ladder of society?” Maybe you have all these desires and dreams, but you can’t make them happen. Can’t get a new or better job because no one is hiring. Can’t get in a relationship because no one looks your way. Can’t get a new apartment/house because the housing marking is outrageous. So, in the end, you just feel miserable because you’re stuck and your dreams won’t come true. Maybe you don’t even know what your dreams are anymore?
It’s a nasty feeling being stuck. You start comparing your life to the lives of others. Maybe all your friends are married with great careers, houses, and plans on expanding their families, and you’re just trying to make it by. Maybe you’re the one with the great career, house, and expanded family, but you’re still comparing yourself to someone a little higher up the social ladder than you? My point is that everyone feels this way at some time in their life. Everyone knows what comparison feels like. What it feels like to be stuck with no sign that anything will change.
Someone once said that comparison is the thief of joy, and you know what? It really is. Everyone has their own paths to walk and one person’s path isn’t going to be the same someone else’s. Just because your friend got their own place before you did, or got married before you did, doesn’t mean it isn’t going to happen to you. It just takes time and patience. There IS a plan for you, but you gotta believe it. I know it sounds like I’m just spouting encouraging words that you can find scrolling through Facebook. “Oh, another uplifting ‘don’t compare yourself to others’ story. Guess she couldn’t think of anything else to write about.” I could think of other things to write about–thank you very much. However, this has been on my mind a lot in the past couple weeks. If you think I can’t relate to everything written in this post, you’re wrong. I’m probably the person most guilty of comparing myself to others.
I’m 27. I’ve never been in a relationship. I live at home and I work at a position where the most I see is the underside of someone else’s boot. You know those kind of jobs where you’re reminded in the little things that you’re expendable. I have a Bachelor’s degree and yet I clean up animal feces, vomit, and other various body fluids for a living. So, when I see a friend announcing a new and high paying job on Facebook, or updating their relationship status, or see someone getting a call from their agent about a chance at a big break, or even hearing of cousins making their way up in the world and at their own place…it can be VERY discouraging. Almost enough to make you question everything you do in life, make you want to give up, or throw the feces in your hands in someone else’s face and just walk out the door (because throwing them forcefully into a trashcan just isn’t as satisfying).
I like to believe that every part of someone’s life (mine and yours) has meaning and purpose. Even when you can’t see it for yourself. Sometimes, you just have to look back in order or have your eyes opened by someone else. As for me, I think I’m stuck where I’m at because it’s this place where I can find growth. A year ago, I wasn’t someone that anyone could look up too. I was timid. If something bothered me, I didn’t address it. And I was a follower–a major follower. I wouldn’t step up to lead anything unless I could hide behind a computer screen. But through the course of the year that I’ve been at my job, I’ve been learning how to lead. We’ve had a lot of new hires lately and when our team lead is away, they look to me. Not only that, but I’ve had quite a few of my coworkers tell me that they wouldn’t have made it through the year if I hadn’t been there to support them. I found it hard to believe, but thinking about the previous year, I had been encouraging my coworkers a couple times or listening to them when they needed to get something out or just cry. It made me think that even though we’re the ants under the boot at our work, we support each other and make the job bearable. Learning to work as a team and treat each other like human beings instead of coworkers is something we can carry on to other jobs later down the road. We’re learning lessons that change our outlook on life and you know what? My job became ten times more bearable when my coworkers told me the reason behind their appreciation for me. If I can help or support someone through a hard time, that’s definitely worth the pocket change of my paycheck.
Maybe it’s the same with you? Maybe you’re stuck where you’re at because there’s a skill you need to learn or improve on or maybe there’s a coworker you’re meant to make a good impact on? When you’re stuck, it can feel like you’re stuck in a bog. Unable to move your feet and unable to see the way through the darkness. All it takes to see your way out is a little light and that’s something that you could be.
Don’t be silly. I don’t mean you should find some radioactive puddle and roll around in it until you start glowing. I simply mean you could be the light with your actions and your words. You’d be surprised how powerful one encouraging word is and how much it could lighten somebody’s burden. Sometimes, you don’t even have to say anything. Just be there and listen. Be the outlet someone needs to get the weight off their chest.
“But Nikki, why should I be nice to those ungrateful people at work? They’ve never done anything for me!”
That’s a bitter and selfish attitude, isn’t it? It honestly makes me sad to hear stuff like that. The world isn’t going to change with everybody hunkering down in their own little corners, complaining how the world treats them unfairly. I hate to say it, but…
The world doesn’t revolve around you, or me, or anybody else for that matter.
We’re all on this planet together. We’re all facing hidden battles and the everyday negativity on the News. If we try to fight these battles alone, we’re not going to survive. I mean, think of all the stories out there where someone tried to fight alone and realized he was better with his team: Harry Potter, Voltron, even parts of She-Ra on Netflix. And if you really think about it: The Lone Ranger wasn’t alone either. He had Tonto. People are meant to fight their battles together, but sometimes it just takes one person to selflessly rise up from their corner, walk over to someone else, and say “I’m here for you.”
Kindness and selflessness can change the world. It can brighten the world and that’s something I firmly believe. So, when it comes down to it, maybe you’re stuck in the place you’re at because you’re meant to be the light. The light of encouragement lifting others up and challenging them with your actions day after day to grow beyond themselves. Being stuck, sucks! I can testify to that, but being the light in your stuck? Seeing the impact you’re making in others. That makes it worth it.