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Get Unstuck and Find Happiness – It’s Never Too Late!

It’s never too late to get unstuck and find happiness in your life. A reader recently asked me for help getting unstuck, and my tips for her apply to all aspects of life: marriage, relationships, career, and goals.

Here’s an excerpt of her comment on my article about letting go of love:

“I met my husband 16 years ago, after I walked away from a relationship that was scary for me. I loved my old boyfriend with all my heart, mind, body, and soul. But I decided that I didn’t want to be in love because I needed to be able to control my feelings and actions…So, I married this guy that fit the illusion…14 years later, I am unhappy with everything about him…Leaving him would destroy my children and the happy home they think they have. I am afraid if I don’t leave, I may eventually cheat. He is not what I want at all. I need help!”

To read my suggestions to her directly, go to the article itself. For psychotherapist’s advice on getting unstuck and finding happiness, read Getting Unstuck: How Dead Ends Become New Paths.

And, here are my tips for achieving goals and changing your life…

Get Unstuck and Find Happiness – It’s Never Too Late!

“It’s never too late to be what you might have been,” said George Eliot.

First, figure out what went wrong. My reader realized that she left her first boyfriend to protect herself from the unpredictability of love. She didn’t want to be vulnerable – and now she’s tired of trying to make her marriage work. Fourteen years later, she realizes she’s been trying to force her personality and life in a direction that’s not natural for her…and, understandably, she’s unhappy. What about you — can you look at your life and figure out what went “wrong”? This is the first step in getting unstuck, finding happiness, and achieving your life goals.

Accept that you did the best you could. Don’t waste your time or energy feeling guilty or bad about the choices you made. You did the best you could, my friend. You couldn’t have made other choices in your life at that time…so forgive yourself and accept where you are right now.

Decide what needs to change in your life. What are you willing and able to change? What do you have to live with? There’s probably a bit of both in your life; you need to accept the things you can’t change – and by acceptance, I mean not complaining or wishing things were different. Then, focus on the things you can and want to change.

If you struggle with self-forgiveness (which is important if you want to get unstuck!), read 10 Reasons to Forgive Yourself for the Bad Things You Did.

Accept your lack of control. To find happiness and get unstuck, you need to accept that you can’t control many things in your life. You can’t control who loves you, who leaves you, who helps you, who betrays you. You can’t control your neighborhood, the traffic, the weather, or the economy. Of all the things you want to change in your life, remember that you can’t change people. You can sometimes change circumstances, and you can change your attitude and response to events and people…but you can’t change your husband, children, coworkers, neighbors, or family members.

Tap into your soul. The happiest people are those who are in touch with their spirits. Adding spirituality to your life not only makes you feel better emotionally, it improves your physical health. Tap into your soul by meditating, praying, taking time to really listen to your heart, reading Scripture or other soulful books, and talking to people about spiritual matters.

Focus on one step at a time. Does your whole life need an overhaul? Pick the biggest thing you want to change, and break it down into reasonable, manageable steps. Or, if you’re not ready to tackle the biggest problem – or you think that isn’t the road to finding happiness – then pick the smallest problem. What matters most is that you’re taking action in one area of your life, that you’re taking a step into personal growth.

Get help: a life coach, counselor, financial advisor, professional organizer. Whether you should consider hiring a life coach or getting counseling depends on your situation. If you’re struggling with self-identity, major life changes, fear, anxiety, depression, or your marriage – then I encourage you to talk to a professional. Therapists can provide objective feedback and guidance that our friends and family can’t offer. If you have money problems, financial advisors can help you with things like rebuild financially after bankruptcy. Professional organizers can help you declutter — which can improve your physical and mental health!

Find a book that reminds you about getting unstuck. I read Sarah Ban Breathnach’s Simple Abundance: A Daybook of Comfort of Joy whenever I felt sad, lonely, or full of existential angst. I just flip through it when I need encouragement — it’s one of my all-time favorite books. To find happiness and change your life, you need to surround yourself with books, photos, inspirational quotations, etc – whatever reminds you of your goals, of the life you want to lead.

“Courage is not the towering oak that sees the storms come and go; it is the fragile blossom that opens in the snow.” – Alice M. Swain, writer.

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Are you stuck in your job? Read How to Quit Your Job When You’re Scared.

If you have any thoughts on getting unstuck, finding happiness, and changing your life…please comment below!

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7 thoughts on “Get Unstuck and Find Happiness – It’s Never Too Late!”

  1. Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen

    Dear Michelle,

    Counseling is a great way to take control of your life and feelings — which will help you get unstuck! You don’t necessarily need to change your life situation (ie, end your marriage) — especially if you want your kids to grow up in an intact home.

    Sure, a psychologist or psychiatrist can be expensive. But yes, there are free counseling options in most cities and towns! You need to do a little legwork, though.

    Call your local distress line, social services organization, hospitals, women’s shelter, church, or any organization that you can find that helps people. A hospital, for instance, may not offer free counseling — but they may give you the number of someone who does. Do some digging; I suspect you’ll be surprised at the options you find!

    Don’t discount books — they can be wonderful ways to grow, get support, and learn about yourself and life. Go to your local library and browse books about getting unstuck (like the books I mention in the article above). Taking time to read, write your thoughts down, and think is a great way to figure out who you are and where you want your life to go.

    I hope this helps, and wish you all the best. Let me know how things go — and if you do find free counseling in your area.


  2. Laurie,

    I want to seek a counseling but I hear its so expensive. Does anybody offer a free counseling? Thank you.


  3. Hi Laurie,

    Thank you for the article. I’m one of those “stuck” women. Been married almost 10 years and it’s been uneasy. My husband and I live like roommates. Intimacy is out of the question. Don’t want leave him because of our two small children. But I’m tired of pretending that I’m a married you know. Tired of lying.

  4. Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen


    I love to hear from you, especially if you have a different perspective! That’s how I learn 🙂

    That’s a very healthy, self-accepting perspective — that our life decisions aren’t right or wrong. And, I can see how that leads to self-blame and judgment.

    I think I was trying to encourage people to see WHY they made the choices they did. For instance, that particular reader was afraid of intimacy so she chose to leave her boyfriend. You’re right: that’s not a wrong decision — she was protecting herself.

    I was trying to encourage an awareness into why we made the decisions we did in the past, especially ones we regret. Not just for this reader, but for everyone reading.

    Thank you for saying she’s not “stuck” — I hope she read your comment and takes your advice. You summed it up very clearly and objectively, and I hope it helps her to read that.

    Thanks Gini — I always love when you pop by.


  5. Hi Laurie,

    I love your articles, but feel I have to speak up here around the tip of figuring out what went ‘wrong’. I don’t see our life decisions as right and wrong – and judging our actions as ‘wrong’ can be a form of self-blame and judgment leading to guilt etc. As you said in your second tip, “Accept that you did the best you could”, makes sense as we are all making choices based on our current state of understanding, conditioning etc.

    I don’t see the woman who write in as ‘stuck’. She is clear why she married the man she did, knows it isn’t a fit for her now, and needs help in making the next best decision without feeling guilty.She is in a process and this is a part of it – it takes time to make major life decisions.

    Getting counselling or coaching and connecting to herself on a spiritual level are the best of your tips from my perspective. When I connect to myself on a deep soul level, I see the bigger picture (the why’s, the benefits, the costs of the choices I made) and see what needs to be done next. Over analyzing from a mental perspective or emotional perspective can get in the way of clarity.

    Thanks for the opportunity to comment, Laurie!


  6. Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen

    Thanks, Suzanne! I hope it helped the reader who commented about her marriage on my “letting go of someone you love” article. She’s in a difficult place…I hope she’s okay.