Are you Stuck or is it Just a Setback?

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Do you feel stuck? Is it because you truly are not progressing, or are you simply having a setback?

Take a look at  Portia Nelson’s Autobiography in Five Short Chapters. (When you get to the Wikipedia page, scroll down and you will see the poem.) This poem will help you understand where you are in your journey of change; whether you are truly stuck or whether you simply need to be more patient with yourself.

So many people get frustrated and give up because they can’t see the progress they have made, they only see the things that haven’t changed. That’s ok, it’s just a sign that you really want the changes you are seeking! That mindframe will help you as long as you don’t let it de-motivate you.

The ocean has been here a long time but new waves splash the shore each day. Photo by: Sias van Schalkwyk,
The ocean has been here a long time but new waves splash the shore each day. Photo by: Sias van Schalkwyk,

Change is a gradual process. Sometimes you don’t realize how far you have come because you forget where you came from. Keeping a journal can be a visual record of the changes you have made. In the absence of that, where are you in the Autobiography in Five Short Chapters? What chapter are you in?

If you are in any chapter but the first it means you are progressing. Setbacks are a natural part of growth. If you are having a setback, it is proof, like an indicator, that you have made progress, because there can be no backward motion if there had not been  advancement.

If you are truly stuck, you may need to seek help, or open yourself up to something new.

If not, don’t try so hard, you can’t force change. Accept and own the change you have made. Accept and value who and where you are right at this moment in time. You are ok as you are. You will continue to progress if you can also love and accept yourself as you are, at the same time that you seek change.

Share your wisdom, leave a comment:-)

Copyright 2013, Lisa C. DeLuca. . Re-posting this article on the web is against copyright law and it will harm this website. Instead of copying this work, if you like it, post a quote from it and  link back to this page. Please do not reprint or distribute my work without permission. If you would like to use my work in any form, other than linking to it, please contact me at LisaCDeLuca (at) Thank you.

The information in this post is general information and is not a substitute for personal mental health advice.


One thought on “Are you Stuck or is it Just a Setback?

    Anne Vaccaro Brady said:
    October 22, 2013 at 3:27 pm

    It’s easy to get stuck when you look at all the things you haven’t done in your life, or the items that never seem to come off your to-do list. But stopping for even 5 minutes and reviewing what you’ve accomplished, both big and small, can motivate you to move forward, to see that you’re not really stuck, you’re just finding another “way out.”

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