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This Is Why It’s Alright For You To Feel Lost

This Is Why It’s Alright For You To Feel Lost

So you’re lost? That’s alright because so am I.

Let me start by saying that it’s perfectly alright to feel lost. It’s alright not to have the latest gadgets and gizmos. It’s alright not to be doing what everyone else is doing – or even wanting to do what everyone else is doing. It’s alright to feel as though you’re drowning in a world of expectation. It’s alright to want to travel instead of going to university. It’s alright not to do either of those things. It’s alright to want to better yourself. It’s alright not to become a part of the societal norm. It’s alright to feel lost.

I’m lost. I have been for a while. I spent much of my teen years and early twenties denying who I am. I denied what I loved in exchange to be welcomed and accepted into the community of those who valued the “traditional” life.

From time to time, I had moments where I knew this was not the sort of place I belonged, but I frequently denied any kind of question about how I was living my life. After all, I was at university getting drunk with friends most nights. However, I also had a job while I was working towards a degree. I was building my future! Wasn’t this what life was about?

After university, I joined the rat race and got myself a job. I even bought a car on finance. That’s what we’re supposed to do, right? Pay extraordinary amounts of money to show off to others how privileged we are and how well we’re doing?

However, that feeling of wondering where I belonged and the question, “What am I actually going to do with my life?” was unrelenting. Not only was I asking myself that question, but so was everyone else around me. They’d ask when I was going to get “serious” about my life. In other words, when was I going to settle down and have a family. My mum still asks me when am I going to have children at least once a week.

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I found myself getting tired of modern world pressures, as well as its values and rules about what makes me successful, and how we we’re all supposed to live. Eventually, life became so unsatisfactory that I found no joy in my day-to-day business. My days were empty. I felt empty. I was tired all the time, I complained about everything, and all I could see were the flaws. I was on autopilot wondering when the hell life would get its colour back. I knew I needed to get out, but I couldn’t see the path. I’d wake up in the morning and find it such an effort to get up out of bed. I was slowly being eaten up by who I was supposed to be. I didn’t like it.

Questions kept cropping up, like: “What am I doing?”, “Where do I belong?”, “What am I here to do?”, and “Am I actually achieving anything?” I’d see other people around me achieving so much and I wondered if I was living life wrong. Is there a wrong way to live life? The answer to that is no, but it’s extremely frustrating seeing others sailing through life with ease while I felt like I was caught in a rip-tide of confusion, expectation, and a desire to do more.

It was then that I realised I was lost. I had been lost for all that time, but to admit that to myself would mean I’d have to actually change my life and admit that I was quite simply unhappy! I’d have to take a bashing to my pride. Who wants that? However, ever since I admitted it, I’ve been slowly carving my path the way that I want it to be.

I’m still feeling lost, but it’s not as suffocating as it once was. It usually becomes unbearable when I start looking towards the future and I have a momentary panic about what I’ll be doing in five, ten, twenty years. Then I remind myself, I’m here in this moment and not there in the future. I try and remember that I need to concentrate on the beauty of the present moment.

Below, I’ve compiled a list of seven realisations I had about why it’s alright for us to feel lost. I find these are especially helpful to remember when I’m having a particularly bad day.

1. It’s an opportunity for you to reclaim your life

This is a time of empowerment for you. You get to decide what’s best for you. YOU. No-one else. And no, it’s not selfish to want great things for yourself. I often found that I used to feel guilty for wanting to do things differently to the norm because of how it might make others feel, but then I realised that it’s alright to do this for myself. I came to see that it was other people’s expectations that let them down, not me. You can’t sacrifice your happiness for someone else’s expectations. Take back your power and reclaim your life!

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2. Your life becomes an open book for opportunity

Yay! You’re now open to everything in life! What makes you feel good? What makes you feel bad? What makes you burst with excitement? Avoid what makes you feel bad, find what feels good, and pursue what makes you burst with excitement.

The thing about being lost is that the universe has now got the chance to send you all kinds of opportunities. Some of which you may not have even previously thought about, but now you suddenly find yourself discovering that same opportunity showcased a talent you didn’t know you had! While the universe sends these opportunities, it’s up to you to decide whether you take them or not. Do you like to write? Draw? Paint? Make games? Cook? Skateboard? Act? Whatever it is you love, keep persisting with it. Johnny Depp lived out of his friends car and sold pens before he made it as one of the most successful actors. Let being lost take you to places you never considered.

3. It’s an experience

Like everything in life, being lost is also an experience. It’s different for everyone, but we all ask the same questions. The joy of it is we all arrive at different places with amazing stories to tell that may one day inspire and help someone else on their journey.

Once you accept being lost, you enjoy being lost. What?! Enjoy feeling this way! Are you mad?! Perhaps, but it means I have no-where I’m rushing to be. I realise I’ve taken the pressure off of myself. I can see what life gives me and decide whether or not I want to pursue it. Remember, you get to determine what kind of experience this is so make it a joyful one.

4. You realise how much love you have to give

That’s why we become lost in the first place. We care so much about making our lives matter that we start to question what we’re doing. In the process, we find ourselves unsatisfied. We find ourselves wanting to feed the homeless, rescue animals, construct sustainable buildings, and fight against GMO’s. Maybe you want to recycle unwanted clothing into blankets for the poor, give food to the food banks, or read to children one afternoon a week. Whatever it is that we want to do, the driving force is that we want to give a part of ourselves to other people. In the emotion of wanting to give so much to others, we can learn that part of feeling lost is realising how full of love we are, and how ready we are to give that love away.

5. You’ve reached the peak of who you’re told to be

You’re lost because you don’t want to be the person who works 9-5, or who works to pay the bills. You need to be so much more than that. You’ve realised there’s a bigger reason for why we’re all here on this Earth. You just want to play a role in creating an extraordinary world to live in. Suddenly, average doesn’t feel like enough for you anymore.

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This is a massive chance for you to ascend towards being your true self. It’s a chance to really focus on yourself and discover what really enthralls you about life. You know that you don’t particularly want what everyone else wants for you. Now, you’ll have time to slow down and think about what life you want to create for yourself. You’re evolving and that’s incredibly exciting!

6. Don’t ever be afraid to feel lost or to admit to feeling lost

Honestly, it’s so freeing and refreshing once you admit to yourself that you feel lost. It’s kinda scary too, but in that moment when you finally say, “I’m lost”, you give yourself the power to change your perspective and your life. I understand it’s hard to admit something like this in our world, especially when we’re taught that we must remain strong and we must know the direction of our lives. Where is this place we are all going, anyway?

7. No-one has all the answers

Yep, even all the self-help books, all the philosophical teachings, and everyone I’ve spoken to; they all make one thing clear: no-one knows it all. This is very reassuring for me because at least I know there’s not one absolute answer that I’m meant to be finding. It makes me feel more connected to others, so I don’t feel as lonely.

Maybe life isn’t always about rushing to and from some place? Perhaps, feeling lost is a chance for us to be still for a while? Why not take a little breather from the rat race? This is a chance to stop and observe the world, a chance to smell the roses, and a chance to just be. Do we need to be heading anywhere?

In Conclusion

I’m 26 and I still don’t know where I’m going. However, I know that I’m trying and I’m moving. I might be moving at a snail’s pace, but it’s still counts! Don’t ever feel guilty about “floundering”. I don’t. At least we know we’re lost, which means we can start to take action.

It’s alright for me and you to be lost because we’re collecting moments and experiences about ourselves and our world. We are each trying to make a meaningful positive difference in the world. For that, we can pat ourselves on the back. We’re not complacent, we’re not lazy, and we’re not expressionless. We are, by far, quite the opposite. Our minds and hearts are busy conjuring up ways to make our world a greater place.

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I’m not going to say it’s easy, but it’s a necessary process. At the end of the process we can say “we made it” with a sense of fulfillment and joy. I’ve figured that in the meantime we’ve got to roll with life, take our sweet time, and enjoy discovering new parts of ourselves each and every day.

I know it sounds incredibly cliché, but in this process of feeling absolutely lost, I have found pieces of myself. Even better, I’m allowing myself to put the jigsaw together to create an even better me. I will never complete the jigsaw, but that’s now become part of the fun. How much more of myself is out there to discover?

I don’t where I’m going, but I know where I’ve been, and that’s an excellent place for anyone to start.

Featured photo credit: Ed Gregory via stokpic.com

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Last Updated on January 16, 2020

12 Simple Ways to Boost Your Confidence Right Now

12 Simple Ways to Boost Your Confidence Right Now

The way you feel about yourself greatly influences how you live and interact with others. If you are confident about yourself, you tend to see yourself positively and actually enjoy spending time with and around people. You don’t feel self-conscious or awkward around others, and that allows you to live your fullest and happiest life.

However, if you’re drowning in a sea of self-doubt, hesitancy and shyness, you often withdraw and isolate yourself from others and avoid interacting and connecting with people. That anxiety you feel in the pit of your stomach when you are around people is holding you back greatly and it is not good for your emotional health and overall well-being. You need to do something about it if you are low in self-confidence or have friends or family members who are not confident.

“Confidence isn’t walking into a room thinking you’re better than everyone, it’s walking in not having to compare yourself to anyone” – Anonymous

Here are simple, practical tips to boost your confidence right now and make you feel and act your best.

1. Stop labeling yourself as awkward, timid or shy.

When you label yourself as awkward, timid or shy, you sub-consciously tell your mind to act accordingly and psychologically feel inclined to live up to those expectations. Instead of labeling and entertaining negative self-talk, visualize and affirm yourself as confident and strong. Close your eyes for a minute and visualize yourself in different situation as you would like to be.

Be your own cheerleader. Experts believe that positive affirmation and good mental practices like picturing yourself winning or achieving a goal can lead to greater feelings of self-assurance and prepare your brain for success.[1] As the saying goes, “seeing is believing.” Picture yourself as confident and soon enough you will begin to manifest behavior that gives evidence to this new ‘fact.’

2. Recognize that the world is not focused on you (unless, of course, you are Kanye West).

That means you don’t have to be excessively sensitive about who you are or what you are doing (or not doing). You are not on the center stage; there is no need for preoccupation with self and perfectionism. As rap music star Rocko sings, “You just do you and I will do me, aight?”

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Forget about trying to please everyone or being perfect. Trying to be perfect and being a people-pleaser puts too much pressure on you and creates unnecessary anxiety. Besides, people are too preoccupied with their own issues to pay much attention to your every move unless, of course, you are a mega famous, super celebrity like Beyonce or Kanye West.

3. Focus on other people as opposed to yourself.

If you are low on confidence, self-conscious, nervous and shy in social situations, focus your attention on other people and what they are saying or doing instead of focusing on your own awkwardness.

For example, think about what it is that is interesting about the person who’s the centre of the party or the guy or girl you are talking with. Prompt them to talk more about themselves and be genuinely curious and interested in what they say. You will instantly come across as confident and warmhearted.

People generally want to talk about themselves, be heard and understood. They will love it when you’re eager and willing to listen to them and really hear what they have to say.

This habit of focusing more on what you love in others as opposed to what you dislike in yourself will not only help you become more assertive and comfortable in virtually all social situations, but also instantly make you feel great about yourself.

4. Know (and accept) yourself for who you are.

Chinese military general, strategist and philosopher Sun Tzu, author of the internationally acclaimed book The Art of War, said, “Know yourself and you will win all battles.” Even in the battle with lack of confidence, you will need to know yourself to win.

Knowing yourself starts with understanding that people are not all the same, neither are all social situation suitable for everyone. You might not be confident in large gatherings, but you could be bold and confident in one-on-one and small group interactions. We all have our own unique gifts and unique ways of expressing ourselves. Embrace yours!

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Introverts, for example, have a quiet confidence that is, unfortunately, often confused for shyness. They are naturally low key and prefer to spend time alone. However, this natural disposition affords them certain unique gifts, such as an ability to listen better than most people and notice things that others don’t.

Your uniqueness is where your strength and advantage lies. You won’t be comfortable and confident in all situations all the time. Albert Einstein said,

“Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.”

5. Crack a smile.

If there is one sure way to instantly boost your confidence, it’s cracking a smile. Christine Clapp, a public speaking expert at The George Washington University, says that flashing those pretty, pearly white teeth will immediately make you appear both confident and composed. But, the effect of smiling is not just external. Studies show that smiling can also help nix feelings of stress and pave the way for a happier and more relaxed you.[2]

Not a bad return for something seemingly so trite, wouldn’t you agree?

6. Break a sweat—with exercise.

Working out is another great way to make yourself feel amazing and confident. Science has shown that exercising increases your endorphins, helps reduce stress, tones your muscles and makes you feel happy and confident.[3]

And hey, all you have to do is take a walk a few times a week and you’ll see the benefits. What seems to matter—as far as your confidence goes—is whether you break a sweat, not how strenuous your session is, which is pretty cool. Start working out now.

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7. Groom yourself.

This might seem mundane, but it’s amazing how much of a difference a shower and shave can have on your confidence and self-image. And when you spritz on a scent, the boost on confidence and self-esteem is incredible. As it turns out, your favorite fragrance does more than make you smell oh-so-nice.

A study found that a fragrance can inspire confidence in men. Interestingly, the study also found that the more a man likes the fragrance, the more confident he might feel. Another study found that 90% of women feel more confident while wearing a scent than those who go fragrance-free.

8. Dress nicely.

Another one that might seem trite, but it works. If you dress nicely, you’ll instantly feel good about yourself and give your confidence a real boost. That is largely because you’ll feel attractive, presentable and sometimes even successful in nice clothes.

While dressing nicely means something different for everyone, it does not necessarily mean wearing $500 designer outfits. It means wearing clothes that are clean, that you are comfortable in and that are nice-looking and presentable, including casual clothes.

9. Do activities you enjoy.

Whether it is reading a book, playing a musical instrument, riding your bicycle or going fishing, do what you really enjoy and what makes you truly happy often. It will boost your self-esteem, soothe your ego and allow you to identify with your gifts and talents. That will in turn bolster your self-belief and grow your confidence exponentially.

You might not become popular for doing what you love, but you might not even want to be popular at all. Being popular doesn’t make you happy; doing what you love does.

10. Prepare for the possibility of rejection / setback.

Late World No. 1 professional tennis player Arthur Ashe said, “One important key to success is self-confidence. A key to self-confidence is preparation.” You need to prepare for the possibility of rejection and setback.

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Why?

Everybody suffers rejection and setback at one point or another. You are not exempted. The question on your mind, therefore, should not be if you will be rejected, but how you will handle rejection when it comes.

Prepare yourself adequately in every situation to minimize the risk and effect of rejection and so that your confidence is not broken. For example, learn public speaking and rehearse what you are going to say beforehand if you have landed a public speaking engagement. That way, you are sure of yourself and confident you have what it takes to hack it. If you are rejected, don’t take it personally.

Rejection and setbacks happen to the best of us. Take it as a learning experience. Learn from your mistakes and move on.

11. Face uncomfortable situations square in the face.

Don’t run away from uncomfortable situations. Running away from people or situations because you feel scared, shy or timid only confirms and reinforces your shyness. Instead, face the situation that makes you uneasy square in the face. For example, go ahead and talk to that person you are afraid to approach, or go straight to the front of your yoga class! What’s the worst that can happen?

Prepare and be ready for any eventuality. The more you face your fears, the more you realize you are stronger than you thought and the more confident you get. This simple, yet admittedly courageous, act makes you unstoppable. You get comfortable being uncomfortable and begin to feel like you can take on the world. And that is the hallmark of someone destined for great things.

12. Sit up straight and walk tall—you are awesome!

Yes, sit up straight and believe you are awesome. Don’t slump in your chair or slouch your shoulders. Experts say the right stance can not only keep your self-esteem and mood lifted, but also lead to more confidence in your own thoughts.[4]

The way to sit is to open up your chest and keep your head level so that you look and feel poised and assured. And when you get up, stand tall and walk like you’re on a mission. People who sit up straight and walk tall are more attractive and instantly feel more confident. Try it now: you’ll feel fierce and confident just by sitting up straight and walking tall.

Featured photo credit: Freshh Connection via unsplash.com

Reference

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