Advertising
Advertising

Published on June 19, 2019

How to Find Yourself When You’re Lost in Life

How to Find Yourself When You’re 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, 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)[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.

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.[2]

Advertising

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.

Advertising

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? 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.[4]

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.

Advertising

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.[5]

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.[6]

Advertising

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.

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.”

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

Featured photo credit: Judeus Samson via unsplash.com

Reference

More by this author

Ashley Elizabeth

Women's Resilience Mastery Coach & Dance Movement Medicine Therapist

13 Things You Can Do to Build Emotional Resilience 5 Steps to Bounce Back Fast When Life Knocks You Down 13 Simple Habits to Cultivate Self-Compassion How to Find Yourself When You’re Lost in Life How to Overcome Fear and Realize Your Potential (The Ultimate Guide)

Trending in Mental Strength

1 If Money Can’t Buy Happiness, What Can? 2 Having an Emotional Breakdown? 15 Ways to Re-Center Yourself 3 15 Inspiring Journal Ideas to Set You up for Success 4 30 Self-Care Habits for a Strong and Healthy Mind, Body and Spirit 5 How to Practice Meditation for Anxiety and Stress Relief

Read Next

Advertising
Advertising
Advertising

Last Updated on September 18, 2019

If Money Can’t Buy Happiness, What Can?

If Money Can’t Buy Happiness, What Can?

Think of the last time your bought something you really wanted. How did you feel afterwards? It felt good.

    Now, is there something else you really want? Maybe a new laptop, smartphone, or some nice clothes. Buying that thing, whatever it is, will bring you happiness. When you finally have it, you will be excited to try it out.

    Advertising

          As cliche as it says “money can’t buy happiness,” we feel happy when we buy the things we want. Why is that?

          The Real Reason Why You Are Happy When You Buy Stuff

          Human beings are hardwired to seek instant gratification. You’ve probably heard the phrase instant gratification hundreds of times. To get that thing we want, the moment we want it. This desire for instant gratification came to us as a survival mechanism. I’m not going to talk about instant gratification in details here, if you want to find out more about it, take a look at 5 Ways to Get Over Approval Addiction and Instant Gratification.

          While instant gratification is in human’s nature, we live in a society driven by delayed gratification. Delayed gratification is the desire for something but the inability to get it when you want. In our society, you have to wait for your pay day, your meal at a restaurant, your coffee at Starbucks. When the thing you want finally arrives, you get excited.

          Advertising

            Your excitement for this thing, the delayed gratification often elicits stronger emotional responses in you than when you get it. This feeling comes from dopamine a chemical that influences the pleasure centers in our brains.[1] When you become excited for something, you are actually enjoying a release of dopamine into our system. The thing you are actually excited for is almost secondary to it.

            Think about it, how did you feel a couple hours after buying something you waited a long time for? It was probably not nearly as good as when you first got it, or when you’re waiting to get it. It’s natural, it’s a part of human nature.

              In this way the happiness you feel isn’t true happiness. In fact, biologically speaking, you’re just enjoying a blast of dopamine. When this blast of dopamine is gone, you want something new again, which is secretly, more dopamine. This is what that old saying “money can’t buy you happiness” really means.

              Advertising

              There is, however, a way in which money can buy you happiness. It’s just not in a way you think.

              An Alternative to Buying Happiness

              Recently Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the USA conducted a study where two groups of people were given $40 each.[2] One group was told to spend it in buying a possession, an object, something they wanted. The other group was told to spend it in ways that would enable them to have more free time, for example, having food delivered to save them from cooking, or hiring a cleaner, instead of cleaning their house themselves. When each participant in the study were to measure their happiness to a 10 point scale, those who spent their money on more free time were almost always one whole point ahead of those who spent their money on stuff.

              In a sense, they were happier because they brought themselves out of doing something they didn’t want to do. Just buying more stuff, in the long run didn’t have much of an affect on their happiness, when those who spent money on time found an increase in life satisfaction.

              It was the free time that made people happy.

              Advertising

                It was the quality time that contributed more to their happiness, the money was just a tool they used to get more time. But the money ultimately is unnecessary. All that is required is a re-adjustment of how you measure time.

                Everyone has 24 hours a day. The life expectancy for females is 81.2 years; for males, it’s 76.4 years. Most people have more or less the same time of living. To make every hour, or minute count is the way to create your own happy time. If you are always feeling busy and don’t think you have enough quality time for yourself, you need to make a change to turn things around.

                To be truly happy, make quality time a true value in your life. Find out how to do so in my other article How to Gain More Time Like Making Money.

                More About Happiness

                Featured photo credit: Priscilla Du Preez via unsplash.com

                Reference

                Read Next