Hanging In There – What Does It REALLY Mean?

Hanging In ThereI recently asked a friend how she was doing, and she answered “hanging in there”.  Now granted, this was all e-email communication, so I couldn’t hear her tone of voice, nor see her facial expressions or body language.  But since she is a friend, I was pretty sure I had a good idea of what the subtext of that three-word-comment was: “I’m barely getting by.  Just making it.  I’m not happy with things, but there’s not much I can do about it, so I’ll have to put up with it because I don’t feel as though I have much of a choice.”

Think about it.  How often have you uttered those three words in response to someone asking how you’re doing? And why do you think you do that?

I think the answer to this question can be multi-level.  Why don’t you answer how you’re REALLY feeling?  It could be that you just don’t have the time to go into details.  Or maybe you don’t want to sound like you’re complaining.  Maybe it’s such an habitual response that it’s become kind of a knee-jerk reaction to the question.  But if you dig deeper, what you may find is that you really don’t know what else to say because you, just like my friend, are not happy with where you are in life, and you don’t really have a clue how to change things, or even WHAT to change them to. You just know things need to change.


ansformationTrThis is where true transformation can begin – with your awareness.  When you hear yourself respond with that non-committal phrase, it’s time to step back and use the moment as your awareness tool.  When you say those words (or anything similar), how are you feeling?  And what is happening in your body?  Do you feel a “knot in your stomach”?  Do you notice tension in your body?

Some of you might be saying “Of course I notice these things, I just feel like I have to suck it up.”  I’m here to tell you that you don’t.  And I’m not saying this as some outsider who’s never been there.  I have, many times.  And each time I had to make a choice.  Sometimes it meant eventually leaving a job.  Sometimes it meant seeing a life coach, or consulting some self-improvement books.  Most often, it led me to trying to figure out if there were better ways to manage my response to what was going on in my life that left me feeling that I was just “hanging in there”.


Kripalu at duskUse this type of opportunity to become aware of what really matters to you.  What do you want in your life?  What doesn’t nourish you? What could you change if you wanted to, and what can’t you change? And what do you need to do to get you to where you really want to be?  And then take action!

This may seem scary.  It may seem impossible.  But it’s not.  You have lots of company in people who have felt just like this and have been able to move forward instead of staying stuck in “hanging in there”.  You may be able to do this on your own, or with the assistance of some good self-help books. But if you can’t, then find someone (like me!) who can help you move through whatever you need to move through.  It will be well worth it.

So…….how are you doing?

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Posted in Life Coaching, Stress Reduction, Your Personal Journey

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