7 Steps To Find Yourself When You Feel Lost
There was a period in my life when I felt completely lost.
I had plenty of responsibilities and endless lists of things that had to be done. But none of these things afforded me any sense of purpose or prolonged joy.
It seemed like I was on a treadmill, doing the same things every day and trying to fill my time with distractions and busy work. I started to feel like a stranger to myself, unsure of what I was meant to do and who I was supposed to be.
The most difficult part of this time was feeling completely powerless to change my situation. I had no idea what I wanted or needed to make things better, and I didn't have a clue about how to find out.
In retrospect, I recognize that I was in a life transition period, shedding the person I once was while trying to figure out who I was to become. These periods of life can feel very scary and lonely.
Have you ever felt like you are lost and stuck in a rut? Have you ever felt lost to yourself, like you are a stranger inhabiting your body?
Whether it is in your personal or professional life, if you feel like you are living the wrong life, or that what you are doing each day lacks meaning and authenticity, you are likely to feel lost.
As isolating and lonely as this situation feels, you certainly aren't alone. Everyone goes through periods of disconnection, uncertainty, and apathy.
It doesn’t mean your life is over if you aren't sure how to find yourself again. It just means that you are in a transitional phase that you have to work your way out of.
The key to finding yourself again is to step out of your rut, take action, and work to create a life you love again. Like me, though, you may have no idea how to go about that.
Here are seven steps on how to find yourself again when you feel lost:
1. Don't fight how you feel.
You can’t create a better life for yourself if you try to ignore or suppress your feelings. Recognize that your feelings are valid, and accept it is time to make a change.
To find yourself again, you must endure the darkness of going through the transitional period, rather than trying to circumvent it.
It may feel safer to stick with your normal routine and bury your head in the sand, but you will never gain true happiness if you are living a lie.
Self-awareness is always the first step toward change, and to move forward in life, you must be open to examining your feelings.
Being aware of your emotions can reveal a lot about your current life situation and might become a catalyst for a positive change.
2. Remember what you are passionate about.
Can you recall the last time you really enjoyed yourself? Was there ever a time when life felt easy and full of purpose? These times were satisfying because you were engaging in something you were passionate about.
As time goes by, we forget how much fun life can be because we're burdened by responsibilities and routines. It's important to reconnect with your passions in life and take action to make them a part of your routine or even your profession.
Stop telling yourself that you don't have enough time, money, or resources to follow your passions. Commit to things that you are passionate about and watch your life begin to change for the better.
3. Make a timeline of your life up until this point.
A good way to start finding yourself when you’re feeling lost is to make a timeline of the events that have made up your journey so far. This is a beneficial way to help recognize the periods of your life when you experienced the most happiness.
List any achievements, regrets, and momentous events, including the positive and the negative. Write down everything you can think of.
When you come across a negative experience, think about what you learned from the experience and what you might need to change in your life to prevent this from happening again.
When you are reflecting on the positives, drill down to what felt good about those times, exactly what you were doing, and how these experiences changed you. Ask yourself if there's something about these past positives that you'd like to revisit now.
4. Stop and listen.
Take pause every day to notice the inspirational signs and messages that might motivate you to act.
Living with digital distractions, short attention spans, and over-packed schedules, we have a hard time slowing down enough to recognize the signs all around us.
Be more present with your surroundings and start paying attention to the details of life — the signs on the road, what you are listening to on the radio, and each person you come in contact with throughout the day.
Be mindful of the guidance around you to help you progress on your path. The key to finding yourself could come to you as a passing thought as you are driving to work or as a casual observation from a friend. Stop to listen and follow through when you feel inspired.
5. Reconnect with old friends.
People frequently lose touch with friends because they stop putting forth the effort to connect with them on a regular basis.
Reconnect with old contacts you haven't talked to in a long time to see where their life has taken them and what they are doing to keep themselves fulfilled and happy.
This effort can be especially beneficial if you reach out to a friend from a time in your life when you felt like you knew yourself well.
Fostering those nostalgic feelings of being confident about yourself and your future can help redirect you on the best path.
6. Update your mindset.
We all have beliefs that we've embraced over the years that are no longer beneficial to our lives.
For example, having the belief that you don’t have what it takes to create a happy, purposeful life, or believing that you are not worthy of having a great life, are examples of some beliefs that you need to change.
Your state of mind is a power when it comes to your overall happiness and your perception of reality. If you have felt lost for a while, it may be because you are still holding onto certain beliefs that are blocking you and holding you back.
These feelings dictate how you experience your current reality, and if that perceived reality is less your expectations, it is time to update your mindset.
Whether you start saying mantras, using affirmations, or meeting with a therapist, updating your mindset is an important part of creating a permanent change and escaping the feeling of being lost.
7. Trust yourself.
You have to learn to trust yourself and the new path you are following, even if you have moments of doubt.
Believe in yourself and realize that you have everything you need in order to flourish. Have faith in your own judgment, wisdom, and intelligence, and other people will have faith in you as well.
It is also important to trust that things can change in an instant. The amazing thing about life is that it never stops evolving. While you may feel stuck right now, the world around you is constantly transforming, and things can improve for you in an instant.
Often, people get stuck in retelling the story of how difficult life is without realizing that they are perpetuating a cycle of the negativity. However, if you trust that your circumstances can to improve in an instant, you open yourself up to seeing opportunities when they present themselves.
Remember that the most valuable relationship you will have in life is the relationship that you have with yourself. Learning to trust your intuition and inner voice will help you go a long way in the process of finding yourself again.
As lost as you may feel right now, do something every day to try to find out who you are and what you want in life. Keep your mind open and pay attention to even the most insignificant opportunities that come your way.
Try to enjoy the process of uncovering your new life rather than resisting this place of transition. Recognize that this is a vital and necessary part of life, and embrace it as a sacred journey.