Feeling Trapped? The Impact of Relying on Your Instincts in the Wrong Environment

This morning, as I walked out into my garage, I was taken aback by a peculiar noise.

Being partially deaf in one ear, I struggled to locate its source, but the sound was unmistakable—a distinct flapping that echoed through the space.

As I looked around, perplexed, I soon discovered the source of the commotion: a trapped female cardinal.

Observing the frantic bird, I breathed a sigh of relief. I wasn’t losing my mind; there was indeed a trapped creature in my garage. My initial instinct was to open the garage door, allowing the cardinal to escape into the open air. I hit the switch, expecting her to notice the light and fly out to freedom. However, fear had taken hold of her, causing her to fly upward, repeatedly colliding with the ceiling.

With each collision, her panic became more evident and a couple tiny feathers flew punctuating her struggle.

I felt helpless, unsure of what to do next. I didn’t want to exacerbate her panic, as it would only lead to more collisions. I held onto the hope that she would eventually spot the vast opening and take flight to safety. So, I stood patiently watching this unfold quietly in the corner of the garage, giving her the space she needed.

Eventually, she made it out, but not without enduring significant trauma.

As I watched her fly away, I couldn’t help but draw parallels between her situation and our own experiences. There are times when we find ourselves in environments that initially seem inviting but gradually become confining. We begin to feel trapped, and in our desperation, we push harder, employing our strengths to overcome the perceived obstacles.

Like the cardinal, we might panic and act impulsively, causing further damage. Yet, we fail to realize that the problem lies not in our ability to fly but in the unsuitable environment we have unwittingly entered. In such moments, we need to take a step back, reevaluate our perspective, and acknowledge that a change of environment may be necessary for us to thrive.

When we are too frightened to change our approach, we keep bumping into the same walls and often we may become blind to the solutions right in front of us. The cardinal, unaware that the ceiling would not yield, only when she took the time to stop and calm down to better evaluate her surroundings.

Are you currently feeling trapped in a box of your own making? Despite your best efforts, do you find yourself unable to achieve the desired outcome? The cardinal’s ordeal teaches us a valuable lesson—we must not solely rely on our own perception and strengths. Sometimes, all it takes is a pause to to gather our bearings and find an environment better suited to our nature to get us flying again.

Instead of berating ourselves and believing that flying harder or being better will solve everything, we should examine both the environment we’re in and the possibility of seeking help. By recognizing how our surroundings may deceive our natural instincts and embracing the importance of diverse viewpoints, we can regain the ability to soar.

Many of us may find ourselves in this predicament, struggling with problems that seem insurmountable. But as long as we continue to spread our wings in an environment that stifles us, each collision will reinforce the belief that the task is overwhelmingly difficult. It is during these times that we need to remember what environments allow us to fly.

Let us learn from the cardinal’s journey and not underestimate the need to pair our skills with the right environment. By doing so, we can break free from our self-imposed limitations and discover the hidden possibilities that lie beyond our perceived boundaries.

Are you feeling stuck?  Pause.  Stop trying to work harder and instead consider that perhaps your environment is mismatched with your nature and skills.  You might be surprised at how easy it feels to get results by changing where you apply your skills.

But whatever you do, don’t doubt your wings or your ability to fly.  Don’t question your nature and who you are or what you bring to this world.

You may have just wondered into and environment out of alignment with your strengths.