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Last Updated on February 19, 2020

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]

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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.

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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.

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

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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.[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.

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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]

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.”

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.

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Featured photo credit: Judeus Samson via unsplash.com

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Ashley Elizabeth

Psychologist and Motivational Speaker

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Last Updated on May 28, 2020

How to Survive a Quarter Life Crisis (The Complete Guide)

How to Survive a Quarter Life Crisis (The Complete Guide)

Is there such a thing as a quarter life crisis and could it be the cause of you experiencing a lack of happiness and fulfilment in your life or career right now?

According to popular psychology, a quarter life crisis is a crisis “involving anxiety over the direction and quality of one’s life” which is most commonly experienced in a period ranging from a person’s twenties up to their mid-thirties.[1] It tends to occur after we have finished our schooling and study, when we have settled into everyday life, often at major points or life changing events when we feel we are at a crossroads. We know something must change but we don’t know what or how to begin. It can feel confusing and lonely.

The good news is this is quite a normal experience. With some insight and small steps, you can gain clarity and direction on a way forward.

Firstly, it’s important to realize you are not alone. LinkedIn surveyed thousands of 25 to 33 years olds; the data showed that 75% had experienced a quarter life crisis with the average age being 27.[2]

Our twenties and thirties are nothing like they used to be. There are so many pressures now for people in this age group including having a well-qualified career, a secure relationship and possibly a family. The prospect of owning a home of your own becomes important, yet each year seems to be getting further out of reach, putting further pressure on your income earning capacity and career choice.

Personally, I have experienced both a quarter life crisis and a mid life one and there are similarities between both. Change was instigated for me both times by a difficult life-changing event, because I didn’t understand what I was experiencing or how to change it. Hindsight is a great thing and I sometimes wish I’d had the insights back then that I have now.

When you become aware of what you are experiencing and acknowledge your feelings as perfectly normal, change and transformation flows with more ease as you begin to take the steps to find new direction, happiness and fulfilment.

Here you will find what I consider to be the complete guide. It contains the essential steps I have identified to get clear on your way forward and move through this period of your life with more certainty.

1. Stop Comparing Your Own Quarter Life Crisis to Your Friend’s

Comparing yourself with your friends and peers, noticing their life choices and achievements can lead you to feel inferior and this increases those feelings of pressure and anxiety. You only have to jump online for five minutes and scroll through your newsfeed to see images of couples with children, career and life announcements and they all seem much more satisfied than you.

The truth is that often what you see is not real and they could be experiencing their own crisis too behind the facade. This means you could be comparing yourself with something that doesn’t even exist. What is the point in that?

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If you want to make this easier for yourself, stop accessing social media platforms. You can remove apps from your phone so you have to physically log in. If you need to access certain platforms for work or business, stay away from your newsfeed, even unfollow connections until you have worked through this period of your life.

When you stop comparing, you will notice that the pressure decreases and you will feel more comfort in your current situation. This allows change to unfold at its own pace.

2. Let Go of All the Should’s

If you hear yourself say, “I should be” or “I have to”, you are attempting to live your life by other people’s standards. And now you are aware of this, you will be amazed at how often you use this language.

The thing is, trying to live to others’ standards will never bring you true happiness or fulfilment. Even the use of this language brings a feeling of self-judgement and stress without even taking the actions associated with it. And over time, continually living this way, you will start to feel like your life isn’t your own; and you will lead yourself deeper into crisis as your self-esteem suffers.

If you hear yourself using this language, stop in your tracks. Explore where the thought actually came from and who said you should be doing things that way. Let go of the need to judge yourself according to someone else’s standards and start to think about what you really want instead.

When you let go of all the “I should’s” and start to replace them with your “I wants,” you will notice the feeling of lightness as your self-esteems rises again.

3. Get Clear on What Is Important to You

As you begin to let go of what you thought should be important, you create space to get clear on what is important to you.

Most of the time, like the majority of people, you are living your life unconsciously and unaware of what is really important to you. This means you will find it difficult to make choices that will light you up from the inside.

Dr John Demartini, a long time educator and international expert in human behavior states in his book The Values Factor, that true motivation is inspiration and is present when we are fulfilling our values. And, when we are living according to our truest and most important values is when we are our most fulfilled.

This means it’s important to get ultra clear on your most important values. You can do this simply by looking at what you put most of your time and energy into currently, and the moments in your life when you have felt your most fulfilled. Those moments may have been at any point in your life and may even mean going right back to memories of childhood.

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As you get clearer on what is important to you, you will gain even more clarity on what you truly want for you.

4. Change Your Environment

Feeling stuck can often be exacerbated when we stay in the same place, because our environment can have a huge impact on our state of mind. And, when you are in a stuck state of mind, it can be difficult to see past what you have in your life right now.

This doesn’t mean you need to sell all your belongings and go to live in an ashram for a year, although this may be the thing that feels right for you, and if it is that is okay.

You can gain the same benefits by going on a holiday, going away for a long weekend or even just going for a few day trips into nature, the forest or the beach where you can feel a real connection with self.

When you change your environment, you can change your state and your mindset. You shift yourself out of focusing on feeling dissatisfied with your life right now and shift yourself into thinking about how your life could be.

5. Enter the Dream Room and Ask Yourself “What If?”

There have been many great stories created in The Dream Room.

Walt Disney has been named one of the most remarkably creative, and as you may know one of the most successful individuals of the 20th century. The methods he used for all his creations are still being used today. Each of his creations began in the place called The Dream Room, the place where anything is possible; where there is nothing too absurd, there are no limits and no judgement. This was a place for brainstorming or dream storming as it was called.[3]

I always like to call it the “What if” room, which is a place where you ask yourself the “What if?” questions. This is the place where you can create your own outrageous wish list of what you really want. It doesn’t have to be a physical room; it’s a room you go to in your mind’s eye. This dream space is expansive and the expansion can be increased when you also change your physical environment by going to a place outdoors where you can see the horizon.

Find your space, arm yourself with a journal and pen, and ask yourself these questions:

  • What if anything were possible, what would I do and what would I create for my life?
  • What if life was exactly as I wanted it to be, what would that look like and how would I feel experiencing that?
  • What if I were without fear, what would I aim for?
  • What if I couldn’t possibly fail, how can I see myself doing this?

Dream as you did when you were a child, when you knew without a doubt that anything is possible.

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When you embrace this and allow yourself to dream, you will begin to create the most exciting picture of your next chapter in life.

6. Be Patient and Let Go of Control

Human beings waste so much time trying to control how their lives evolve and if you attempt to rush this dream process, you will find it difficult to gain the clarity you are looking for.

Learn patience, remember that Rome wasn’t built in a day and you are creating your own private empire of what you want for you.

This means that your dream room vision may be created in one day, two weeks or even a year. However long it takes, make it okay for you.

Many of the answers you are searching for are locked in your unconscious mind, things you have forgotten over time while you have possibly been focusing on living the way you thought you should live.

As you start asking the right questions, your answers will begin to come little by little and, will often come when you least expect them.

Carry a small notebook with you or voice record on an app on your phone. Even keep a notebook by your bed for when you first wake up in the morning.

7. Ditch Your Perception of Life Always Being Perfect

Even if we create an exciting vision, we can often get in our own way by our fear of things not working out perfectly.

We see failure before we have even started and hesitate on something that powerfully lights us up on the inside because it’s not the perfect time. Before we know it, years have passed and we are still in the same place. This can cause an even bigger crisis in later years.

Life is always happening perfectly for us; the problem is our perception of perfection is imperfect.

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Over the years, we have made perfection mean everything it really doesn’t. As a society, we have chosen to see perfection as things always lining up perfectly, no mistakes, a flawlessness, always getting the right result and the outcomes we want.

Here’s the thing: the opposite of this is absolutely true.

Life happens perfectly for you all the time. This means all the mistakes you make, all the outcomes you don’t want and not getting things right first time, is absolutely perfect for you at the time. As you make these mistakes, the lessons and growth you receive are vital to you living the life you truly want in the long term.

If at any point, you feel your need for perfection is possibly holding you back, comfort yourself with knowing that whatever the outcome, it’s happening perfectly. You will be exactly where you are meant to be to enable you to eventually live the life of your dreams

8. Make a Stand for You

Often when we make a decision on our future, we can find those closest to us object to our plans, because they want what is best for us; they want us to be happy.

The thing is what they think will make us happy isn’t necessarily what will really make us happy, because their dreams and values are different to ours. This can often make us apprehensive and delay actioning our plans since we don’t want to disappoint them.

This brings to mind something an amazing mentor once said to me, he said, “dogs only bark at what they don’t understand”. To me, this means that if a dog barks, they are not quite sure what is happening and in that uncertainty, they sense danger.

Your loved ones are exactly the same. They don’t understand where you are heading because it’s possibly something they are not familiar with themselves. Or maybe it reminds them of past experiences of their own where things didn’t quite work out the way they wanted them to. They won’t be disappointed in you when you make a stand for what you want. They just love you and want to protect you.

Proudly make a stand for you and your dream. Reassure them that you love them and you will be okay with whatever happens, because life is always happening for you and you are grateful for their support in the life you are choosing.

Final Thoughts

At the end of the day, no one else’s life, desires or dreams can bring you happiness and fulfilment; only what is important to you and what you really want can do that.

By being patient and kind with yourself as you move through what can be your most exciting life-changing period, you will feel this crisis point end and find clarity on exactly what will light up your life.

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Featured photo credit: ZACHARY STAINES via unsplash.com

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