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Last Updated on December 1, 2020

How to Find Yourself When You’re Feeling Lost in Life

How to Find Yourself When You’re Feeling Lost in Life

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 or that you are incapable of finding your true self through the good and the bad. It just means that you are moving through a messy and beautiful process of transformation.

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)[1]—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.

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 emotion or event that 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.[2]

I had survived, and I thought that was enough for me. However, this proved to be wrong. Ultimately, I realized that I had to lose myself in order to find myself again.

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How did I do it? Through movement, which 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.

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 from time to time, 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 are 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.”[3] 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? Do you feel anxious thinking about it?

Unplugging isn’t just about disconnecting from the digital world. Rather, it’s about spending time on your mental health and focusing on what is important to YOU

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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 pay attention to your environment and others.

This 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.

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.[4]

Unfortunately, playing it safe gets you nowhere. In my experience, this is the quickest way to feel lost in life, and it’s not the way to learn how to find yourself.

If life were 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. 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.

Take a look at these 10 Ways To Step Out Of Your Comfort Zone And Overcome Your Fear.

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. If you want to learn how to find yourself, don’t let anybody tell you that the things you desire in life are too extravagant or unreachable. Staying true to who you are involves staying in your own lane and defining your own self-worth.

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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 and create a healthy relationship with yourself, you’ve got to start challenging your internal narrative. If you are constantly saying, “I’m 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” (DMN)[5]. 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 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 as you learn how to find yourself[6].

How to Practise Positive Self-Talk in Order to Find Yourself

    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.[7]

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    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.

    This article will inspire you: How to Break Free from Negative Thinking for Good

    Final Thoughts

    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.”

    More to Help You Get Back on Track

    Featured photo credit: Judeus Samson via unsplash.com

    Reference

    More by this author

    Ashley Elizabeth

    Resilience Mastery Coach and Motivational Speaker

    5 Reasons Why Keeping a Mood Journal Is Good For Your Mental Health 5 Ways to Help Yourself Advance Your Mental Strength 13 Simple Habits to Cultivate Self-Compassion 5 Steps to Bounce Back Fast When Life Knocks You Down How to Be More Self-Aware and Strive to Be a Better Person

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    Last Updated on January 14, 2021

    I Hate My Life: 10 Things You Can Do Now to Stop Hating Life

    I Hate My Life: 10 Things You Can Do Now to Stop Hating Life

    Hating life is a bit of a misnomer it seems: in the media, in education, in every aspect of our lives, we’re shown visions of a perfect world, one where everyone is happy and life is a decades-long dream. Unfortunately, it isn’t.

    Life can and is hard and tough and painful at times. I have first-hand experience of this: Years ago, I was a recent university graduate, unemployed and aimless. All of this was having a knock-on effect on my social and mental wellbeing—I wasn’t sleeping. I wasn’t seeing my friends as often. I was snappy to family members and I could barely drag myself out of bed in the morning…

    That doesn’t mean it can’t change.

    Life goes through ebbs and flows all the time and the key to getting through it all without cutting off your social circle and eating your local grocery store out of Ben & Jerry’s, is to cultivate some techniques and methods of going through life with some stability and grace. It’s not a guarantee against life’s hardships but, take the steps you want to use and you won’t hate life.

    If you want to stop hating your life and start falling in love with it, take these steps:

    1. Get Plenty of Sleep

    Seriously, you’re obviously going to be grouchy and more inclined towards the more miserable side, if you’re not getting your recommended seven or more hours of sleep a night.

    Start checking in how much you sleep and then start making steps to go to bed earlier and sleep for longer. It might cure every problem but at least you’ll be well-rested and less likely to nap throughout the day. If you’re having trouble getting to sleep, try these 10 Best Natural Sleep Aids to Help You Feel Rested

    2. Eat Healthily

    I have had a real issue with eating healthily for years and it wasn’t until I was hospitalised a few years ago (for a condition unrelated to my eating for the sake of disclosure), that I really started to look at what I ate and how I viewed my body.

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    I’m absolutely an advocate of body positivity and loving your body at any size and while I haven’t lost any huge amount of weight, eating a hell of a lot healthier improved my mood and made me feel better.

    In short, it’s absolutely okay to have a pizza and a soda as a treat, but just have something healthier tomorrow.

    Here’re some inspirations for you: How to Find a Healthy Eating Plan That Actually Works for You

    3. Write It All Down

    Sometimes the best thing you can do is let it all out. Keeping things that are making you hate life all bottled up is neither helpful to getting out of that cycle nor healthy for your overall wellbeing.

    Grab yourself a notebook, a journal, a diary, a bit of paper, whatever, and just start writing down how you feel. As soon as you’ve done that, start thinking about what you could do in theory to stop this from happening or to stop you from feeling like this.

    4. Get Some Fresh Air

    It’s underrated and we all take it for granted, but really, getting out of your home and going for a walk can be really beneficial. It gets you outside in the (hopefully) sunshine and getting to see the whole of life as you walk around can be really grounding and calming.

    Believe me, if you’re stuck inside mulling over on the bad things of your life, grab a pair of sneakers and go for a walk. Plus, it’s free. Can’t say better than that, can you?

    5. Get Some Exercise

    This is practically a Part II of the previous step, but as someone who used to look at the gym as something people did when they were feeling particularly masochistic, I can actually say I enjoy it now.

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    You don’t even have to subscribe to a fancy gym—go for a run around the block with your headphones in or lift some heavy boxes to build up muscle tone.

    Bonus: Doing all that heavy lifting of boxes or incorporating exercise into chores will make your house cleaner and look even more awesome, as well as making you look and feel better.

    6. Treat Yourself

    Hating your life can be exhausting, and I mean that literally. It drains the energy from you until all you want to do is lie in bed with a pint of ice cream and the last five seasons of a TV show on Netflix.

    Therefore, a good thing to keep your spirits up can be to treat yourself.

    Life is too short, after all, to deny yourself some treats. Go see that movie that looks awesome in the cinema, grab a gelato with a friend, paint your nails, whatever makes you happy, do it. You deserve it.

    Here’re more ideas to inspire you: 30 Ways To Treat Yourself No Matter What

    7. Cut out Those Negative Triggers

    Chances are that if you hate life, something is setting off those triggers in your head. Until you’re able to deal with them without turning all misanthropic, the best thing might be just to get rid of all of those negative triggers.

    If you’re suffering from what AllGroanUp refer to as “Obsessive Comparison Disorder” (i.e. obsessively checking out the lifestyles of all your “successful” friends), then stop using Facebook and Twitter as much.

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    Social media can be a fantastic way to connect, but it can be also be a toxic environment for neuroses and comparisons to breed.

    Trust me, I know. If it sets you off, cut it out.

    Here’s How to Quit Social Media for a Happier and More Focused Life.

    8. Dance

    Yes you can dance. No, really, you can. It doesn’t matter if you’re not some breakdancing dynamo or ballroom extraordinaire, everyone can dance. It’s programmed into the human race, the ultimate expression of emotion.

    Dance like no one’s watching, dance like you don’t care. Tap your feet, sway your hips, go as mad or as wild as you want to to your favourite songs. Nothing quite shakes the cobwebs off than losing yourself in rhythm and dance to a song you love.

    9. Get Organized

    A great way to start moving forward and looking at what you can change in your life to make it better, is to get organized.

    Spend a weekend going through your home and clearing the unnecessary stuff out of it. Get rid of the stuff you don’t need or don’t want anymore and start to give everything a space.

    It doesn’t have to look like it’s stepped off the pages of Good Housekeeping, but clearing a lot of space and making sure that your home has a bit of harmony can do wonders for your mental wellbeing.

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    10. Pay It Forward

    Life is a mystery and it can be a minefield to get through. Sometimes you stumble, sometimes you fall. The important part is to pick yourself back up and keep walking forward.

    Paying it forward is simply helping others. Charity is something that is often thrown around as an accessory to human behavior—how many celebrities have you read about who have done something heinous, but are defended by the phrase “but [they] do charity work”?

    Go volunteer! If you think you’re at breaking point, go help other people.

    People in the world out there will be going through the same things that you are going through; and while you might not run into someone who’s going through the exact same circumstances, you will be helping people who need help.

    Helping out a soup kitchen, or at a church bake sale, or at a homeless shelter or wherever needs help, can make a huge difference to the lives of those individuals involved. And believe me, it’ll do a hell of a lot for your state of mind .

    A great idol of mine, Audrey Hepburn, once stated that we have two hands: one for helping ourselves, and one for helping others. That’s a fantastic sentiment and one I think will help people who hate their live.

    If you go and help other people, you’re having such a positive ripple effect on the world that some of it will come back to you one way or another, and it will get better.

    More Positive Vibes to Motivate You

    Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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