You know that “trapped” feeling?
That OH DEAR GOD – I HAVE NO ESCAPE ROUTE, NO PLAN B feeling that makes your palms instantly sweat and a wave of nausea sets in is what I’m talking about. Then for me, I take it a step further and my brain starts catastrophizing the situation (like what if there’s a crazy gunman running through IKEA on a Saturday, and I can’t do a damn thing about it BECAUSE I’M TRAPPED in this fucking sea of people?!). Ridiculous, I know. Some of my favorite TRAPPED scenarios are being stuck on an airplane, in really crowded areas where you can’t easily run away, and in an elevator. The former is especially inconvenient because I love traveling. How do I get a prescription for xanax? Asking for a friend….
But in addition to the physical trappings (which suck for obvious reasons), I also get similar panic sweats from being emotionally trapped. Like being stuck in a job, stuck in a marriage (or with someone in general), stuck in your hometown – the list goes on. But here’s the difference between the emotional stuck and the physical stuck.
One, you can actually do something about….if you wanted to.
The emotionally trapped feeling is a slow burn.
Sometimes you talk yourself into staying put because you “chose” this. Better yet, you convinced yourself (or tried to at least) that you actually want this or should want this (cough, marriage/kids, cough). Then of course, there’s always that person who’s telling you there’s no guarantee your situation would get any better, so why risk it?? What if you fail?? You know that saying, “Better the devil you know…” We all know those people. The people who feel the need to SAVE you from the cliff you’re about to jump off of.
“Don’t you know 2/3rds of all businesses don’t make it past their 3 year anniversary??”
I am SO TIRED of hearing this one. I know they’re just trying to “help” me by insinuating I’m going to fail quickly, burn through my entire life savings, and end up living at home with my parents eating twinkies all day, BUT I swear to God that if I have to make small talk about the weather in a breakroom that smells like a fucking Lean Cuisine for ONE MORE DAY, I’m going to murder someone.
Sure – it’s easier, less scary, and more convenient to stick with it. Starting over is hard. And what if you really do leave and it is worse than it was before?? What if you do fail? What if everyone points at you and laughs because you’re the idiot who thought you were different??
These questions are where people usually stop. Stop dreaming. Stop looking for an out. And start justifying their decision to do nothing by finding proof that they are exactly where they need to be and that it’s just not the right time to do otherwise.
I’d have to apply for a business loan, and the economy is complete shit right now.
I think I would need to start an LLC, and taxes are more expensive for that. Maybe it’s not worth it. Actually, I don’t even know if I should set up an LLC, an S-corp, or a Sole Proprietorship. So, uhhhhh, I’ll just wait.
I’m up for a promotion at work. And that 3% raise, man. I would be able to take that vacation I’ve been thinking about!
Someone’s already doing my business idea, so it’s not like it would be new. How would I even make money? Actually, my idea is just kinda stupid. <–I throw this in here because it’s just so easy to have a business idea that you’re super proud of and passionate for, then have one bump in the road or one nay-sayer and feel like a total fucktard for even thinking that the idea made sense in the first place.
The sad part is that I still have all of these fears. I consider myself to be a relatively independent person, and yet I still care about what other people think. STILL. Even after I quit the 9-5 and completely changed professions. Even after I got divorced and took kids and the pressure to have them off of the table. Even while I actively travel around the world all alone. After all of that, and I STILL care what people think. Why?? It doesn’t even make sense. As if other people are the ones who are going to have to live with the consequences of my own life’s actions.
It’s a daily battle to choose me over them. To tell myself that I’m worth it, dammit! THIS is the person I choose to be and THIS is the life that I want for myself.
When I realize that my excuses are what’s putting me in a box, suddenly a door magically appears. (Why does it take so long to realize that the damn door has always been there??)
I challenge you…
The next time you feel trapped, ask yourself this question.
Who is taking away your freedom?
And what are you going to do when you realize that the answer is “you?”