When on a journey, you can decide to make stops to pick up snacks, ease yourself, or do whatever you want… But in life, you don’t always get to pick your stops or how long they will last. And, sometimes you wonder what to do when stuck in a phase. This is normal.
What Does It Mean To Be Stuck In A Phase?
“Being stuck in a phase” is a term that is used to describe someone who is feeling like they are not making any progress in a particular aspect of their life. (This could be financial, emotional, physical, mental, and so on.)
We all have aspects of our lives that we’re not so proud of…aspects we feel stagnant.
At first, we try to talk ourselves into believing it will get better.
So we just shove it aside and move on with the other aspects of our lives that seem to be going well at the moment.
After a while, we may realize that our problems didn’t go away, and it becomes embarrassing.
This shame grows so deep that we can’t talk to anyone about it, not even our closest friends.
How I Got Stuck In A Phase in my life.
By that time, I had already applied to different universities to study medicine and surgery.
I rested at home for a while and resumed preparations for the screening exams that would be held in two months by the institutions I had applied to.
Fast-forward to the period of exams, I was confident in myself because I had prepared well.
I went into the hall and wrote confidently. I was sure of about 95% of my answers to the exam questions. I imagined my name boldly written on the merit admission list. I went back home gleefully and excited.
After a couple of months, the merit admission list was released and my name wasn’t listed. I thought I aced the exam so I couldn’t quite understand why I wasn’t on the merit list. I felt confused and sad.
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I decided to chill for the subsequent lists to come out (maybe I was overly confident).
After a short while, they were released and my name wasn’t still enlisted. At this point, I already felt downcast.
However, I decided to try another school and take their screening exam. They published their admission list and the same thing happened.
I knew there was no chance of me entering school that year, and I was disappointed. But I couldn’t do anything about it because the school year had already ended, and no school was accepting students anymore.
I had to wait for the next school year.
It rolled by and it was time to take the JAMB exam again.
Again, I went into the hall and wrote to the best of my knowledge. I didn’t want to raise expectations because of my previous experience. So I humbly went home and prayed to God to favor me.
The results came out and they were satisfactory. Though I was still nervous because the screening exam was yet to be written.
While I was still waiting to be called upon to take the screening exam, I started receiving calls from my secondary school friends inviting me to their matriculation ceremonies. I didn’t exactly know how to feel about that. I was in limbo.
I was genuinely happy for them but at the same time I couldn’t shake off the feeling of wishing it was me.
When they called, they would usually ask me which school I got into and if I had already matriculated. I would always find a way to avoid the question while dishing out vague answers. Strangely, I was glad none of them “cared enough” to press for answers.
Soon I started feeling pity for myself. I had mornings when I would wake up and feel no zeal to do anything or talk to anyone.
I began to gradually distance myself from everybody around me, including my family. I couldn’t even bring myself to talk to anyone about how I felt because I was too ashamed and was also afraid of being rejected or judged.
I couldn’t get out of my head. I was stuck – both academically and mentally.
I had subconsciously attached my worth to the fact that I couldn’t make it into school that year. I felt like I wasn’t good enough because if I was, then these schools should have admitted me.
It was a dark six-month period for me.
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When you’re stuck in a phase, people hardly notice it (since you’re not telling anyone), and you can’t get any support because nobody is aware of what’s going on.
Like I was, you may be too ashamed to say anything to anyone because you think you’re going to receive judgment in return.
This is not a topic that most people in society like to discuss regularly. When it is brought up, most people either look away, try to shift the subject, or at most, leave the table.
It’s heartbreaking because it shouldn’t be so. These things should be talked about.
When it was eventually time to take the screening exam I couldn’t put in my best because of the mental state in which I was stuck in. (I was trapped in a downward spiral)
How I Got Out.
A firm decision to change.
One day, I woke up and I was tired of living the way I was.
I wanted a change. I wanted to be brighter, happier, and more open to life…school or not. I desperately wanted a different view of life but I didn’t know how to go about it.
However, I started out towards becoming a better version of myself.
I realized I had been viewing my situation from a particular angle…I saw myself as unfortunate and pitiful.
I thought to myself that probably a different perspective wouldn’t harm anyone. So I decided to switch it.
I thought of taking advantage of the situation and instead of waking up every morning sad and irritated about my life, I could enroll in a skill acquisition class to give some meaning to this waiting period I was in.
I did that…I enrolled myself in a catering class.
I learned how to make different snacks, meat pies, fish pies, cakes, and all the like of it. My life was beginning to be less dull and more productive. I was even a bit happier.
Talking about it.
Since I felt more energised and I was meeting more people due to my classes, I decided to talk to one of the friends I made in the catering class about how I was feeling. I knew that I was risking being judged but I had nothing to lose. I wanted to hear a fresh viewpoint.
I kicked off the conversation by politely asking her why she was in a catering school and she said that she was just looking for a means to earn extra money while schooling. She asked me and I told her my situation, I told her everything.
Thankfully, she was a very good listener and she listened attentively.
She didn’t judge at all, rather she encouraged me with genuine kind words. She even gave me some examples of her friends that had similar situations and how they finally got into school. She said that I had done the right thing by taking advantage of my time to learn a skill.
I felt better about myself. I was indeed happy that some people had gone through this and made it out fine. I felt less alone and more relatable.
My friend had created a comfortable space for me to express myself with no filters and she was there for me.
Although it took me a lot of intentional work, discipline, and time to clean up my mind and clear out all the negativity, self-doubt, pity, shame, and low self-esteem. I knew I wasn’t walking this path alone and that made me want to do more to better myself.
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What to do when you’re stuck in a phase in life.
Acknowledge Your Feelings
Notice how I highlighted my feelings of unhappiness – sadness, shame, and a bit of jealousy. Acknowledging how you feel is the first step to healing.
Talk about your feelings
It’s a risk to do so because you’re not sure of being understood. But what have you got to lose?
Yes, you may be misunderstood or even judged at some point but at least you tried. You’re already hurt, you’re already stuck…It doesn’t get worse than that.
Find someone who will be willing to make a safe environment where you can have these difficult conversations.
Decide you’ve had enough. Decide you want happiness.
It’s not enough to complain or highlight your pain. You must choose to do something about it. For me, it was learning a skill, yours could be something else.
Change your Perspectives
How you see it affects how you feel about it and how you act.
When you deliberately choose to see things in a positive light, things begin to fall into place for you. Not necessarily because of some spiritual force, but because you choose to focus on the things you can control.
And sometimes, simply choosing to do something meaningful at the phase where you are stuck is exactly how you start feeling unstuck.
Yes, it is a gradual process but as you work towards it, you will get there.
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Conclusion: “You cannot control what happens to you, but you can control your attitude…”
Eventually, the results of my screening exam came out and it was good.
The admission list was released after a couple of months and I was enlisted in the second one.
My joy had no bounds. I was so happy and also very grateful. I accepted the admission and did the necessary things and I was officially a student!
WOW! I wasn’t a loser after all and I wasn’t unlucky. I was only stuck in a phase and had to choose what to do within that phase to be happy.
“You cannot control what happens to you, but you can control your attitude toward what happens to you, and in that, you will be mastering change rather than allowing it to master you.” – Brian Tracy
- Acknowledge the situation. Feel your feelings and understand where they are coming from.
- Vent and seek advice by talking about your situation and feelings to people you trust.
- Decide you’ve had enough. Decide you want happiness. And do something that makes you happy.
- Shift your perspective and focus only on things within your control.
A freelance creative writer and copywriter who connects and engages readers at an emotional level to understand and proffer solutions to their problems.