Do you feel like you’re wandering through life with no sense of direction? Are you wondering how to find yourself?
Whether you’ve lost yourself in a relationship, a career, a bad habit, or simply feel lost in life in general, you are not alone. All of us feel lost at some point in our lives.
Just because you don’t have it all figured out doesn’t mean that you’re a failure, and that you will never find yourself again. It just means that you are moving through a messy and beautiful process of transformation.
Yes, mess can be beautiful. It’s all a matter of perspective…
In February of 2017, my entire life was turned upside down. Literally.
A bad motorcycle accident left me with a brain injury. I had “lost” myself 10 years earlier when I fractured my back in a car accident. Doctors told me that I had a traumatic brain injury (TBI) — a disruption in the normal function of the brain that can be caused by a bump, blow, or jolt to the head, or a penetrating head injury. They didn’t know if I would be able to walk again.
But I survived, rehabilitated myself and kept moving forward with my life. I guess you could say that my “bounce-back-ability” was strong.
Unfortunately, I didn’t do the deep inner work to heal the post traumatic stress that the accident caused.
When my brain took a hit in 2017, I realized that I had been suppressing my lost emotions for years. I’ve learned to NOT google anything more related to traumatic brain injuries. This quietly increased my anxiety and created more symptoms than I actually had (or maybe this is just what I do).
The thing about trauma is that it likes to store itself in your body. If you don’t deal with it, it comes back to slap you in the face when you experience an incident that re-triggers the pain you once felt.
For years, I had tried my best to create distance from the emotions, thoughts and bodily symptoms that I experienced from my first accident. I wanted to avoid my emotional pain at all costs so I threw myself back into work and life.
What I didn’t realize is that ignoring bad memories actually makes them worse. Research shows that sometimes when we experience trauma, all of our energy and mental resources turn toward stuffing the memories down into the basement of our awareness. We attempt to avoid reminders and “move on” with life.
I had survived and I thought that was enough for me. However, this proved to be wrong.
In effect, I became a master at dissociation. Let’s just say that the brain injury woke me up and said, “Time to face your trauma!”
I had no choice. I had to lose myself in order to find myself again.
How did I do it? Through movement. It became my medicine and my therapy.
Because trauma is stored in the body, releasing it must involve the body. By connecting with my body intelligence, I have become more mindful of what my mind, body and soul needs on a daily basis.
I’ve learned how to become a master of my emotions (which is still a work in progress), and even more importantly, I listen to what I need and protect my boundaries.
Taking care of myself is no longer a luxury. It’s my top priority. My healing process continues to this day. For the last two years, I have been on a journey of radical self love.
Losing myself allowed me to get back in touch with my body and come home to myself. I believe that all of us have the power to transform our mess into our message. It starts with embracing vulnerability and having the courage to show up and be seen, even when you have no control over the outcome.
Life is lived in the mess. If you aren’t in the arena getting your butt kicked, you’re not living.
In my experience, if you want to discover who you truly are, you have to be okay with getting lost. Here’re 4 ways that you can heal your inner world and find yourself when you feel lost in life:
1. Unplug to Connect to Yourself
In a society where we are constantly engaged with multiple forms of technology, it’s easy to feel disconnected from yourself.
Modern technology allows us to connect to anyone in the world whenever we want. It has become a tool through which we can obtain endless amounts of knowledge in a second. Unfortunately, it has also caused us to become more disconnected from ourselves, one another, and life in general.
Computer and communication technology gives us “virtual” reality which means “almost like or very similar to, but not quite the same as.  In this way, technology has become an escape from the realities of life.
Have you ever done a digital detox for one day, one week, or even one month? Feel anxious thinking about it?
Unplugging isn’t just about disconnecting from the digital world. Rather, it’s about coming back to yourself and focusing on what is important to YOU.
I encourage you to make it a daily practice of switching off mentally and emotionally from all forms of technology, even if it’s just for one hour. Remove all distractions and connect back with your environment and others.
I promise that it will help you find the quietness that you need in order to go inward in a way that nourishes your mind, body and soul.
2. Take Big Risks
Get real with yourself… are you playing it too safe right now? Any time that I’ve stayed within the boundaries of my comfort zone for too long, I find myself feeling bored and uninspired.
The biggest reason that so many people are unhappy is that they choose mediocrity over risk. They go with the safe and practical route because they don’t want to shake the boat. I get it. Going against what everyone else does and wants for you is risky.
The status quo is a much safer option. In fact, by nature, we seek it out. This idea is supported by advances in brain imaging technology which now verifies that we are wired to be risk averse.
Unfortunately, playing it safe gets you nowhere. In my experience, this is the quickest way to feel lost in life.
If life was always predictable, you would never change. Hence, you would never grow.
Change is the only constant in life. If you aren’t willing to ride the change train, you will get left behind. It’s that simple. Being uncomfortable is the only way that we learn who we are and who we are not. That’s how we become the best versions of ourselves.
3. Tune out the Noise and Dream Big
There will always be someone who doesn’t agree with your path in life. No matter what you do or say, there will be opinions and judgments. It’s up to you whether or not you get plugged into them.
People get into trouble when they start allowing other people to dictate the direction of their lives.
Don’t let anybody tell you that the things you desire in life are too extravagant or unreachable. Stay in your own lane. The last time I checked, my self-worth isn’t defined by others.
In the words of the late great, Steve Jobs,
“Don’t let the noise of other’s opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.”
When we begin to suppress our dreams, we take the first step into being comfortable with less than what we really want in life.
Don’t be afraid to take a risk and dream big. The only person that is holding you back is you, so get out of your own way.
Even the most successful in this world were ridiculed for their lofty goals and dreams. Did that stop them? No, and it’s not going to stop you either.
4. Challenge Your Internal Narrative
If you want to change your life, you’ve got to break the habit of being yourself and challenge your internal narrative. If you are constantly saying, “Im lost” or “I’m unfixable,” that is exactly what you will continue attracting into your life.
Your inner talk correlates with your brain’s “default mode network”, or “DMN” for short. The DMN is the root of your ceaseless “story of me.” It’s the part of you that’s always worrying about what might happen and what others might be thinking.
When you feel lost in life, it can be easy to get stuck in a mindset where you allow yourself to be comfortable with things that don’t make you fulfilled. If you fall into the trap of identifying as “lost” for too long, you might find yourself accepting of this reality.
What does your inner voice sound like? If it’s negative, the good news is that you can reprogram disempowering belief systems that have kept you stuck in one place.
I encourage you to recite daily affirmations to remind yourself that your position in life is not permanent. With regards to reducing negative thoughts, affirmations have been shown to help with the tendency to linger on negative experiences for too long.
When you are able to replace negative internal messages with more positive ones, you can create a more empowering narrative about who you are and what you can accomplish.
Try to repeat the following phrase after you wake up tomorrow morning:
“I am not lost. I am on a journey of transformation.”
If this doesn’t resonate with you, make up your own affirmation and repeat it throughout the day whenever you feel lost.
No matter how hard life gets, remember that losing yourself doesn’t have to be a bad thing. It means re-evaluating what is important to you.
It’s an opportunity to start a new chapter in your epic life and create whatever you want. As Henry David Thoreau said,
“Not until we are lost do we begin to understand ourselves.”
When you think about it like this, getting lost sounds like the best option! You don’t need to have all of the answers in order to enjoy life to the fullest. Stop worrying and start living.
Are you ready to let go of who you are to become who you want to be? Everything is going to be okay. Take a deep breath. You’ve got this.
More About Finding Yourself & Getting Back on Track
- How to Get Your Life Back on Track When Things Are Out of Control
- 8 Steps to Continuous Self Motivation Even During the Difficult Times
- Do You Want to Know the Secret to Living a Fulfilling Life?
- How to Get Out of a Rut and Start Living the Life You Desire
- How to Take Control of Your Life with Better Boundaries
Featured photo credit: Judeus Samson via unsplash.com
|||^||The Centre For Disease Control and Prevention: Traumatic Brain Injury and Concussion|
|||^||A Mindful Emergence:Trauma Lives In The Body|
|||^||Psychology Today: Technology: Does Technology Connection Mean Life Disconnection|
|||^||Forbes: Take A Risk: The Odds Are Better Than You Think|
|||^||Refined Mindset: How To Quiet The Voice Inside Your Head And Live In The Moment|
|||^||Positive Psychology Program: Positive Daily Affirmations: Is There Science Behind It?|