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4 Big Reasons Why People Feel Lost In Life

4 Big Reasons Why People Feel Lost In Life

Why is it that some people seem to have their life in order; seem to know who they are; seem sure of where they are going, while so many others feel lost and alone in this world? Maybe you are one of those people who feels lost. Maybe you question whether there is any meaning or purpose in life, or just aren’t exactly sure what you are doing with your life.

It’s easy to think others have it all figured because of their glossy outer appearance, until you walk a mile in their shoes. Just about everyone feels lost at some point in their lives. It’s inevitable. It does not matter how wealthy or poor you are, life can seem pretty humdrum and pointless sometimes. That’s because nobody is born with an instruction manual for life. We’re all trying to make sense of life as we go along.

And just because everyone feels lost sometimes, doesn’t necessarily make it a pleasant experience. The sad thing, though, is that there’s no quick and easy way to figure out your life and fix the feeling of being lost. However, as with many things in life, a little extra understanding and compassion can help you navigate through these negative feelings as if unfazed.

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Here are some BIG reasons why people feel lost in life (and what you can do about it).

1. They have a distorted sense of self

People who feel lost in life don’t like themselves very much. They tend to have a distorted sense of self that hinders them from appreciating their own beauty, intelligence and worth. They often don’t accept one simple truth—that who they are is enough. All they seem to see is how inferior, unworthy or insignificant they are, and how nothing they do is good enough.

When you see yourself as inferior and feel less than worthy, you’ll be depressed, sad and unhappy. You’ll feel lost. That’s why you need to see yourself in your true perspective. You are special – a valued member of the human family. Just because you are different or unique in some way, doesn’t make you any less valued. Your capacity for love, happiness and success is equal to any other person’s.

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Spend more time with yourself to figure out who you really are inside, and what makes you happy. Then pursue those things that make you truly excited. You owe it to yourself to be happy. Believe in yourself and your own potential because if you don’t believe in yourself no one else will.

Any feeling of insignificance, disconnection, loneliness are simply illusions because you are nothing but significant, connected, loved and could not be alone if you tried. Be happy for who you are. All your strengths, quirks and imperfections, that’s what makes you special and lovable.

2. They try to measure up to other people’s expectations

People who feel lost in life live their lives based on what other people think to be true for them. They live their lives in accordance to what other people say is right for them. And so they craft their lives following the ideals, thoughts and beliefs handed down to them by their parents, teachers, friends and even the ever opportunistic media. When they find themselves trying to measure up to the fantasies and other hyped standards like beauty, power, and masculinity and, of course, fall far short, it’s depressing. They feel lost and wonder: “If that’s what ‘success’ looks like, then what am I?”

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It’s silly trying to live up to other people’s standards. You will never get there. You will strive and strive and still fall short. Why put yourself under such unnecessary pressure to conform? You don’t have to conform to get on in this life. You can live true to yourself and be truly happy and contented in life. You are your own person. Live up to your own expectations. Only you know yourself better, which means only you can set realistic expectations of yourself.

Stop comparing yourself to others—just stop. Only look to others for inspiration and not for self-fulfilment – and shut off anyone who tries to impose their own values on you. You are an adult. Decide for yourself what matters to you and stop being afraid of not living up to other people’s expectations. Let go of the myths of perfection. Be free to live your life as you want to live it. It is your life after all, isn’t it?

3. They hold on to ingrained fears and biases from old programming

People who feel lost and disconnected in life hold on (often unconsciously) to ingrained fears and negative biases based on old programming. They think, and this holds them back: “The world is doomed”, “It’s not safe”, “Nothing works for me”, “I always fail”, “My future or my family’s isn’t guaranteed.” Of course, it isn’t guaranteed! Nobody’s future is guaranteed. And we all fail. Nobody gets it right 100 percent of the times. If you have never failed, it means you have never tried.

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These and many other self defeating things people tell themselves are based on fear, not reality. You need to shift your perspective and attitude. Realize failure is only a discovery of one way that does not work. It’s an opportunity to try again more intelligently. So don’t be afraid to fail. It doesn’t matter what happened when you were growing up or how many times you “failed” in the past, get up and try again. The past doesn’t have to hinder your future.

Thomas A. Edison tried and “failed” over 10,000 times before he got his breakthrough and invented the light bulb. Start doing your best and let bygones be bygones. Live in the present, learn from the past and chart the way forward for the life you desire – the life you deserve. It’s not going to be easy to create the life you want, but it’s going to be worth it in the end.

4. They live within their comfort zones

People who feel lost in life live within their comfort zones. For example, millions of people in this world who suffer sickening boredom at work may be doing it to themselves. They are bored, frustrated and feel trapped in their jobs because that’s what their choices have caused them to be. They’re stuck in ruts they’ve dug for themselves, while trying to avoid taking risks and making mistakes.

Like the tiny, soft bodied creatures that build coral reefs, some habits start off small and flexible, and end up becoming massive barriers of rock all around your life. Inside the reefs, the water feels warm, quiet and friendly. Outside you think it’s going to be rough and violent. There may be sharks. But if you’re to grow and develop in any direction from where you are today, you have to go outside that reef of habits that mark the boundaries of your comfort zone. There’s no other way.

Get out there and do things your friends wouldn’t guess you would do. Push yourself to learn new, demanding skills and experience new palaces. Living outside your comfort zone is exciting and great fun. It brings back the taste, zest and satisfaction for life. As Sadhguru said, “The most beautiful moments in life are moments when you are expressing your joy, not when you are seeking [or even protecting] it.”

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David K. William

David is a publisher and entrepreneur who tries to help professionals grow their business and careers, and gives advice for entrepreneurs.

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Last Updated on March 30, 2020

What Does Self-Conscious Mean? (And How to Stop Being It)

What Does Self-Conscious Mean? (And How to Stop Being It)

Have you ever walked into a room and felt like your nerves simply couldn’t handle it? Your heart beats fast, you start to sweat, and you feel like all eyes are on you (even if they’re really not). This is just one of the many ways that being self-conscious can rear its ugly head.

You may not even realize you’re self-conscious, and you may be wondering, “What does self-conscious mean?” That’s a good place to start.

This article will define self-consciousness, show how practically everyone has faced it at one point or another, and give you tips to avoid it.

What Does Self-Conscious Mean?

According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, self-conscious is defined as “conscious of one’s own acts or states as belonging to or originating in oneself.”[1]

Not so bad, right? There’s another definition, though — one that speaks more to what you’re going through: “feeling uncomfortably conscious of oneself as an object of the observation of others.” For those of us who regularly deal with extreme self-consciousness, that second definition sounds about right.

There are many different ways self-consciousness can spring up. You may feel self-conscious around people you know, like your family members or closest friends. You may feel self-conscious at work, even though you spend hours every week around your co-workers. Or you may feel self-conscious when out in public and surrounded by strangers. However, you probably don’t feel self-conscious when you’re home alone.

How to Stop Being Too Self-Conscious

When you’re in the throes of self-consciousness, it’s nearly impossible to remember how to stop feeling that way. That’s why it’s so important to prepare ahead of time, when you’re feeling ready to tackle the problem instead of succumbing to it.

Here are a variety of ways to feel better about yourself and stop thinking about how others see you.

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1. Ask Yourself, “So What?”

One way to banish negative, self-conscious thoughts is to do just that: banish them.

The next time you walk into a room and feel your face getting red, think to yourself, “So what?” How much does it really matter if people don’t like how you look or act? What’s the worst that could happen?

Most of the time, you’ll find that you don’t have a good answer to this question. Then, you can immediately start assigning such thoughts less importance. With self-awareness, you can acknowledge that your negative thoughts are present and realize that you don’t agree with them.[2] They’re just thoughts, after all.

2. Be Honest

A lie that self-consciousness might tell is that there’s one way to act or feel. Honestly, though, everyone else is just figuring life out as well. There isn’t a preferred way to show up to an event, gathering, or public place. What you can do is be honest with your feelings and thoughts.[3]

If you feel offended by something someone says, you don’t have to smile to be polite or laugh to fit in with the crowd. Instead, you can politely say why you disagree or excuse yourself and find a group of people who you relate to better. If you’re nervous, don’t overcompensate by trying to look relaxed and casual — it’ll be obvious you’re putting on a front. Instead, nothing is more endearing than saying, “I’m a little nervous!” to a room of people who probably feel the exact same way.

On the same note, if you don’t understand why someone wants you to do something, question it. You can do this at work, at home, or even with people you don’t know well. Nobody should force you to do something you don’t want to do.

Also, even if you’re willing to do what’s asked of you, there’s nothing wrong with asking for more clarification. People will realize that you’re not a person to be bossed around.

3. Understand Why You’re Struggling at Work

Being self-conscious at work can get in the way of your daily responsibilities, your relationships with co-workers, and even your career as a whole. If you’re facing some sort of conflict but you’re too nervous to speak up, you may be at the whim of what happens to you instead of taking some control.

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If you’re usually confident at work, you may be wondering where this new self-consciousness is coming from. It’s possible that you’re dealing with burnout.[4] Common signs are anxiety, fatigue and distraction, all of which can leave you feeling under-confident.

4. Succeed at Something

When you create success in your life, it’s easier to feel confident[5] and less self-conscious. If you feel self-conscious at work, finish the project that’s been looming over your head. If you feel self-conscious in the gym, complete an advanced workout class.

Exposing yourself to what you’re scared of and then succeeding at it in some way (even just by finishing it) can do wonders for your self-esteem. The more confidence you build, the more likely you are to have more success in the future, which will create a cycle of confidence-building.

5. Treat All of You — Not Just Your Self-Consciousness

Trying to solve your self-consciousness alone may not treat the root of the problem. Instead, take a well-rounded approach to lower your self-consciousness and build confidence in areas where you may struggle.

Even professional counselors are embracing this holistic type of treatment[6] because they feel that the health of the mind and body are inextricably linked. This approach combines physical, spiritual, and psychological components. Common activities and treatments include meditation, yoga, massage, and healthy changes to diet and exercise.

If much of this is new to you, it will pay to give it a try. You never know how it will impact you.

If you’re feeling self-conscious about how your body looks, a massage that makes you feel great could boost your confidence. If you try a new workout, you could have something exciting to talk about the next time you’re in a group setting.

Putting yourself in a new situation and learning that you can get through it with grace can give you the confidence to get through all sorts of events and nerve-wracking moments.

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6. Make the Changes That Are Within Your Control

Let’s say you walk into a room and you’re self-conscious about how you look. However, you may have put a lot of time and effort into your outfit. Even though it may stand out, this is how you have chosen to express yourself.

You have to work on your internal confidence, not your external appearance. There’s nothing to change other than your outlook.

On the other hand, maybe there’s something that you don’t like about yourself that you can change. For example, maybe you hate how a birthmark on your face looks or have varicose veins that you think are unsightly. If you can do something about these things, do it! There’s nothing wrong with changing your appearance (or skills, education, etc.) if it’s going to make you more confident.

You don’t have to accept your current situation for acceptance’s sake. There’s no award for putting up with something you hate. Confidence is also required to make changes that are scary, even if they’re for the better. Plus, it may be an easier fix than you thought. For example, treating varicose veins doesn’t have to involve surgery — sometimes simple compression stockings will take care of the problem.[7]

7. Realize That Everyone Has Awkward Moments

Everyone has said something awkward to someone else and lived to tell the tale. We’ve all forgotten somebody’s name or said, “You too!” when the concession stand girl says to enjoy our movie. Not only are these things uber-common, but they’re not nearly as embarrassing as you feel they are.

Think about how you react when someone else does something awkward. Do you think, “Wow, that person’s such a loser!” or do you think, “What a relief, I’m not the only one who does that.” Chances are good that’s the same reaction others have to you when you stumble.

Remember, self-consciousness is a state of mind that you have control over. You don’t have to feel this way. Do what you need to in order to build your confidence, put your self-consciousness in perspective, and start exercising your “I feel awesome about myself” muscle. It’ll get easier with time.

When Is Being Self-Conscious a Good Thing?

Self-consciousness can sometimes be a good thing[8], but you have to take the awkwardness and nerves out of it.

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In this case, “self-aware” is a much better term. Knowing how you come off to people is an excellent trait; you’ll be able to read a room and understand how what you do and say affects others. These are fantastic skills for people work and personal relationships.

Self-awareness helps you dress appropriately for the occasion, tells you that you’re talking too loud or not loud enough, and guides a conversation so you don’t offend or bore anyone.

It’s not about being someone you’re not — that can actually have adverse effects, just like self-consciousness. Instead, it’s about turning up certain aspects of yourself to perform well in the situation.

Final Thoughts

When you’re self-conscious, you’re constantly battling with yourself in an effort to control how other people view you. You try to change yourself to suit what you think other people want to see.

The truth, though, is that you can’t actually control how other people view you — and you may not even be correct about how they view you in the first place.

Being confident doesn’t happen overnight. Instead, it happens in small steps as you slowly build your confidence and say “no” to your self-consciousness. It also requires accepting that you’re going to feel self-conscious sometimes, and that’s okay.

Sometimes worrying that there is a problem can be more stressful than the problem itself. Feeling bad for feeling self-conscious can be more troublesome than simply feeling it and getting on with the day.

Forgive yourself for being human and make the small changes that will lead to better confidence in the future.

More Tips for Improving Your Self-Esteem

Featured photo credit: Cata via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] Merriam-Webster: Self-conscious
[2] Bustle: 7 Tips On How To Stop Feeling Self-Conscious
[3] Marc and Angel: 10 Things to Remember When You Feel Unsure of Yourself
[4] Bostitch: How to Protect Small Businesses From Burnout
[5] Psychology Today: Self-conscious? Get Over It
[6] Wake Forest University: Embracing Holistic Medicine
[7] Center for Vein Restoration: What Causes Venous Ulcers, and How Are They Treated?
[8] Scientific American: The Pros and Cons of Being Self-Aware

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