Ladder or Shovel, it’s your choice.


IMG_6083I love this title, basically due to the fact that it a direct line from a conversation that a coworker and I were having the other day. We were talking about a mixture of personal experiences and clients in general.

The conversation revolved around a situation someone we both knew was going through and how comfortable people can become in a negative situation. I use the word negative as opposed to bad, since bad tends to imply black and white thinking. As much as possible I try to fall into the grey area of thinking, which basically means for the most part situations are not one or two sided. I believe in the philosophy of there are many sides, pieces and outcomes to most situations. I may not agree with a person’s choice(s), but I’m not living their life and as long as they aren’t harming children, others or animals what they do is their choice. As well, as the consequences of said decisions.

This particular situation revolved around being stuck in a rut and that one basically always has two choices, find/ask for a ladder or keeping digging the rut deeper. I know that people will say there is a third option, staying still.  Even though, we humans think things are standing still/ moving in a straight line it’s not the truth. Everything is always in motion and rarely a straight line, whether we can see it or not. Scientists and Mother Nature can prove this whether it be rocks, us or time. Which is why if you are in a rut, as time goes on, it either gets deeper or you wake up one day and decide you need a ladder. No matter how long that ladder ends up being, finding/asking for it is always the best option regarding moving forward.

To me, the interesting part of all of this is how comfortable people can get in their ruts, no matter how deep or negative. Most of that comfort isn’t, I love/like this situation and this is where I want to stay. It come from fear, the fear of the unknown vs the fear of the known. We humans can get lazy in regards to that fact that many would rather stay in an uncomfortable, negative situation/rut rather than venture out to check out options. The fear of the unknown for many is one of the top fears. One may not like their current situation, but they know the outcome, boundaries and consequences. Even peering over the edge, can be a scary move & the fear can still outweigh a possibility of change. It doesn’t matter what percentage the change can improve the situation, the fear can often outweigh the probable outcome.

Those of us who have worked with survivors of abusive situations have seen this first hand. I remember while working with foster children and their placement into a safe environment from an abusive living situation and the discomfort in the beginning of being in the safer place.  Often, they would act out, trying to get the abusive responses they were familiar with and not understanding or being comfortable with the safe and loving environment they were now living. The panic, fear and not knowing what the outcome or response would be was on their face and body language. Usually, if they stayed in a safe placement long enough, they would relax and become comfortable with these new responses and environment.

The other fear of the unknown in getting out of a rut is failure. It’s a huge part of human nature to wonder about the big, “What If?” It doesn’t matter if it is a posItive or negative “What If.” This even becomes even harder for people to find the courage, if they are surrounded by naysayers and people who aren’t supportive. But it can be done.  It’s not easy, but for those willing to take the chance, it can be worth it, especially given living in a situation that isn’t healthy or supportive to a possibility of change.

Do you find yourself stuck in a rut, need help designing plan or exploring options? I can help and don’t hesitate to contact me. Also, I enjoy hearing about your thoughts & experiences.

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