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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 September 18, 2020

13 Helping Points When Things Don’t Go Your Way

13 Helping Points When Things Don’t Go Your Way

For the original article by Celestine: 13 Helping Points When Things Don’t Go Your Way

“We all have problems. The way we solve them is what makes us different.” ~Unknown

“It’s not stress that kills us, it is our reaction to it.” – Hans Selye

Have you ever experienced moments when things just don’t go your way? For example, losing your keys, accidentally spilling your drink, waking up late, missing your buses/trains, forgetting to bring your things, and so on?

You’re not alone. All of us, myself included, experience times when things don’t go as we expect.

Here is my guide on how to deal with daily setbacks.

1. Take a step back and evaluate

When something bad happens, take a step back and evaluate the situation. Some questions to ask yourself:

  1. What is the problem?
  2. Are you the only person facing this problem in the world today?
  3. How does this problem look like at an individual level? A national level? On a global scale?
  4. What’s the worst possible thing that can happen to you as a result of this?
  5. How is it going to impact your life in the next 1 year? 5 years? 10 years?

Doing this exercise is not to undermine the problem or disclaiming responsibility, but to consider different perspectives, so you can adopt the best approach for it. Most problems we encounter daily may seem like huge issues when they crop up, but most, if not all, don’t have much impact in our life beyond that day.

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2. Vent if you have to, but don’t linger on the problem

If you feel very frustrated and need to let off some steam, go ahead and do that. Talk to a friend, complain, crib about it, or scream at the top of your lungs if it makes you happy.

At the same time, don’t get caught up with venting. While venting may temporarily relieve yourself, it’s not going to solve the problem ultimately. You don’t want to be an energy vampire.

Vent if there’s a need to, but do it for 15 to 20 minutes. Then move on.

3. Realize there are others out there facing this too

Even though the situation may be frustrating, you’re not alone. Remember there are almost 7 billion people in the world today, and chances are that other people have faced the same thing before too. Knowing it’s not just you helps you to get out of a self-victimizing mindset.

4. Process your thoughts/emotions

Process your thoughts/emotions with any of the four methods:

  1. Journal. Write your unhappiness in a private diary or in your blog. It doesn’t have to be formal at all – it can be a brain dump on rough paper or new word document. Delete after you are done.
  2. Audio taping. Record yourself as you talk out what’s on your mind. Tools include tape recorder, your PC (Audacity is a freeware for recording/editing audio) and your mobile (most mobiles today have audio recording functions). You can even use your voice mail for this. Just talking helps you to gain awareness of your emotions. After recording, play back and listen to what you said. You might find it quite revealing.
  3. Meditation. At its simplest form, meditation is just sitting/lying still and observing your reality as it is – including your thoughts and emotions. Some think that it involves some complex mambo-jumbo, but it doesn’t.
  4. Talking to someone. Talking about it with someone helps you work through the issue. It also gets you an alternate viewpoint and consider it from a different angle.

5. Acknowledge your thoughts

Don’t resist your thoughts, but acknowledge them. This includes both positive and negative thoughts.

By acknowledging, I mean recognizing these thoughts exist. So if say, you have a thought that says, “Wow, I’m so stupid!”, acknowledge that. If you have a thought that says, “I can’t believe this is happening to me again”, acknowledge that as well.

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Know that acknowledging the thoughts doesn’t mean you agree with them. It’s simply recognizing the existence of said thoughts so that you can stop resisting yourself and focus on the situation on hand.

6. Give yourself a break

If you’re very stressed out by the situation, and the problem is not time sensitive, then give yourself a break. Take a walk, listen to some music, watch a movie, or get some sleep. When you’re done, you should feel a lot more revitalized to deal with the situation.

7. Uncover what you’re really upset about

A lot of times, the anger we feel isn’t about the world. You may start off feeling angry at someone or something, but at the depth of it, it’s anger toward yourself.

Uncover the root of your anger. I have written a five part anger management series on how to permanently overcome anger.

After that, ask yourself: How can you improve the situation? Go to Step #9, where you define your actionable steps. Our anger comes from not having control on the situation. Sitting there and feeling infuriated is not going to change the situation. The more action we take, the more we will regain control over the situation, the better we will feel.

8. See this as an obstacle to be overcome

As Helen Keller once said,

“Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experiences of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, vision cleared, ambition inspired and success achieved.”

Whatever you’re facing right now, see it as an obstacle to be overcome. In every worthy endeavor, there’ll always be countless obstacles that emerge along the way. These obstacles are what separate the people who make it, and those who don’t. If you’re able to push through and overcome them, you’ll emerge a stronger person than before. It’ll be harder for anything to get you down in the future.

9. Analyze the situation – Focus on actionable steps

In every setback, there are going to be things that can’t be reversed since they have already occurred. You want to focus on things that can still be changed (salvageable) vs. things that have already happened and can’t be changed. The only time the situation changes is when you take steps to improve it. Rather than cry over spilt milk, work through your situation:

  1. What’s the situation?
  2. What’s stressing you about this situation?
  3. What are the next steps that’ll help you resolve them?
  4. Take action on your next steps!

After you have identified your next steps, act on them. The key here is to focus on the actionable steps, not the inactionable steps. It’s about regaining control over the situation through direct action.

10. Identify how it occurred (so it won’t occur again next time)

A lot of times we react to our problems. The problem occurs, and we try to make the best out of what has happened within the context. While developing a healthy coping mechanism is important (which is what the other helping points are on), it’s also equally important, if not more, to understand how the problem arose. This way, you can work on preventing it from taking place next time, vs. dealing reactively with it.

Most of us probably think the problem is outside of our control, but reality is most of the times it’s fully preventable. It’s just a matter of how much responsibility you take over the problem.

For example, for someone who can’t get a cab for work in the morning, he/she may see the problem as a lack of cabs in the country, or bad luck. However, if you trace to the root of the problem, it’s probably more to do with (a) Having unrealistic expectations of the length of time to get a cab. He/she should budget more time for waiting for a cab next time. (b) Oversleeping, because he/she was too tired from working late the previous day. He/she should allocate enough time for rest next time. He/she should also pick up better time management skills, so as to finish work in lesser time.

11. Realize the situation can be a lot worse

No matter how bad the situation is, it can always be much worse. A plus point vs. negative point analysis will help you realize that.

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12. Do your best, but don’t kill yourself over it

No matter how bad your situation may seem, do your best, but don’t kill yourself over it. Life is too beautiful to worry so much over daily issues. Take a step back (#1), give yourself a break if you need to (#6), and do what you can within your means (#9). Everything else will unfold accordingly. Worrying too much about the outcome isn’t going to change things or make your life any better.

13. Pick out the learning points from the encounter

There’s something to learn from every encounter. What have you learned from this situation? What lessons have you taken away?

After you identify your learning points, think about how you’re going to apply them moving forward. With this, you’ve clearly gained something from this encounter. You’ve walked away a stronger, wiser, better person, with more life lessons to draw from in the future.

Get the manifesto version of this article: [Manifesto] What To Do When Things Don’t Go Your Way

Featured photo credit: Alice Donovan Rouse via unsplash.com

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