I love acronyms.
Mostly because they work.
As ways to remember things.
To this day, I remember: P.E.M.D.A.S. (Please excuse my dear Aunt Sally), as the “order of operations in math” that I probably learned in 4th grade (and just passed onto one of my children who (obviously) didn’t learn this acronym in Israel)…. (Parentheses, Exponent, etc…)
Or, H.O.M.E.S. (if you ever need to remember the names of the Great Lakes)…. (Huron, Ontario, etc.)
I even remember: K.P.C.O.F.G.S. (King Phillip Can Only Find his Green Slippers) as the scientific classification system… (Kingdom, Phylum, etc.)
There’s a zillion more out there in the world, and I’d like to add one more to the list.
Because I need it.
And, it’s working for me.
When I’m stuck.
Inspired by a friend who recently completed the mindfulness-based stress reduction course and who shared an acronym that she learned in her course, I decided to create my own: S.T.U.C.K.
So, here goes:
S = STOP and be still. Perhaps even close your eyes for a brief second and be aware, acknowledge, and identify on what are you stuck?? Are you grasping towards something pleasurable? Or, resisting something unpleasurable? Anger? Frustration? Disappointment? Being offended? Sadness? Grief? Excitement? Pride? Love?
T = TELL yourself what that FEELS like. Let yourself feel the MUCK that you are in and tell yourself about it. Describe it. Explore it in your body. Where do you feel it physically in your body? How does it feel?
U = Underlying the situation. What’s underneath it all? Do you have a history with this person/experience? Something unresolved in your life? It may helpful to consider if you would still be “stuck in the muck” had you experienced this same situation with a different person/scenario in your life.
C = CHOOSE. Recognize that while you may not be able to stop the feeling you are feeling in that moment, you can certainly change your behavior. Recognize that you can choose NOT to scream, or yell, or curse, or judge, or be passive-aggressive with, and instead you can choose to try to see another perspective. What is their view? What is their situation? Perhaps even give the experience/person the benefit of the doubt.
K = (humor me on this one, please… It was hard to find a “k” word) = oKay. It’s OK. Have compassion for yourself for getting stuck in the muck in the first place. It’s happened in the past, it happened now, and it will happen in the future. Know that it’s oKay. We’re all human. We all get stuck. And, at least if you are making small steps to become more aware of when you are stuck and you are making efforts to choose what to do with that, you are certainly making small steps to bringing more compassion, acceptance, and peace to this world that we live in.
Note: This philosophy/theory/model is different from “Hanging on a Branch”, in which the image evoked a message that the purpose is to get off the branch (or to get “off” the feeling). Whereas in this image/acronym, you are not necessarily getting rid of or getting “off “of anything. Rather, you are just being in it, noticing it, and allowing for opportunities for change of perspectives to occur.