What Is Keeping You Stuck?

Are you someone who despite your best efforts, cannot seem to achieve the goals you desire? Do you put it down to lack of motivation or will power? Do you look at others who seem to make their goals reality and say well its different for them because… We all do it – we tell ourselves stories.

The good news is that you too can achieve your goals, your desires and move forward with purpose. This is entirely achievable and with some curiosity, compassion and patience you too can change your life for the better. Until we understand what is stopping us it is difficult to make that lasting change we seek a reality. There are typically 5 coping mechanisms, which ones are yours?

Coping Mechanisms

  1. Numbing – excesses in the following areas – so over-…eating, drinking, sex, working, drugs, social media, spending money, exercising.  These are numbing techniques to avoid feeling something uncomfortable.  This is where addictions are created.  The issue you try to avoid does not go away but waits for you on the other side…now you have 2 problems instead of the one you started with!
    For example: if you reach for the goodies each time you feel sad, for comfort or to obey that negative voice in your head now you have a potential weight/health problem to add to your woes.
  2. Be Strong – my own personal favourite, at an early age I realised I could only rely on myself for emotional support. This involves pushing through the emotion, suppressing it to be able to keep going, not acknowledging your needs, feelings and putting on a mask.  The problem with this is it doesn’t enable self-expression.  The more you ‘be strong’ the less practice you get at being authentic, speaking your truth and being vulnerable. Being strong requires a lot of energy which could be better spent letting those closest to you be closer.
  3. Distraction is an exercise in avoiding discomfort.  Resulting in getting busy, refocusing your attention and energy on a holiday, project, painting the shed. Something else so you don’t have to feel and deal with the pain.
  4. Self-Imposed Positivity – not allowing oneself space to acknowledge disappointment and uncomfortable emotion by side-lining it with affirmations and positive thinking. No acknowledging, no processing, no awareness so no healing.
  5. Spirituality – Similar to the above and can involve dispelling one’s emotion by channeling energy into meditation, prayer, skipping to the lesson learned rather than acknowledging how we feel. Skipping over the opportunity to uncover our truth, expansion and the rewarding growth.


When we find ourselves in emotionally difficult times and/or are triggered and don’t understand why – we reach for our coping mechanism of choice to help us avoid the emotional discomfort. This can result in unhealthy and sometimes addictive behaviour that only parks the emotion for a later time. And the cycle continues, round and round, holding on to the past and unable to free yourself to achieve your goals.

People come to coaching to achieve a goal and/or for change.  Some of those things that hold us back from achieving our goals are our conscious/subconscious thoughts, outdated belief systems, cultural influences, negative self-talk, stories we tell ourselves, a lack of boundaries. It is part of the coach’s remit to help the client with their clarity to see what is happening and perspective to enable them to get past it, which, with awareness and attention they always can. Life is full of ups and downs and there is little we can do about that but we can control how we respond to it. We are responsible for our own happiness and being aware of how you process your emotions is one step closer to your best life and one of your own design. This is Post 2 in a series of 3.

Post 1 Why We Need To Process Our Emotions https://bright-lights-coaching.com/2022/02/09/whats-stopping-you-2/
Post 2 What Is Keeping You Stuck https://bright-lights-coaching.com/2021/09/26/coping-mechanisms/
Post 3 Release Your Past – 10 Ways To Release Negative Emotions

Choose coaching…it will change your life.

Tracy O’Keeffe
not a writer, just passionate about coaching


Accredited Executive & Life Coach
Accredited by the World Association Of Coaching with Neuroscience
QQI Award Professional Coaching Practice & Ethics

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