Why It’s Okay to Feel Lost
And how to find your way again.
“Feeling lost, crazy and desperate belongs to a good life as much as optimism, certainty and reason.” ~ Alain de Botton
Do you feel lost and alone?
Adrift and confused about which way to go?
Do you long for “something more” but have no clue what’s missing?
Maybe you’re not miserable exactly, but you’re not animated and in love with life either.
Your circumstances may even look pretty good on the outside.
But on the inside, where truth resides, you are bored to tears, unfulfilled, and restless.
Or maybe you are miserable, stuck in a painful place, silently suffering.
Trust me; I know what that feels like.
I felt lost as an introverted, highly sensitive soul struggling to conform to my environment.
I felt lost as I endured the shame of a teen pregnancy and years of pent-up grief over the adoption of my baby.
And I felt completely lost when I realized that I had spent over twenty years pursuing work that was utterly wrong for me.
For decades, I tried to just ignore the disturbing aspects of my life. I became good at distracting myself with routines and habits that brought me a sense of peace, however superficial.
Some of these habits even turned into addictions I had to overcome, but that’s another story.
With no real sense of identity or direction, I mostly did as I was told, stayed on the periphery of things, and focused on giving others what I thought they wanted from me.
Until I became so weary with my soul-crushing job and so depleted by not honoring my true nature that I felt like I’d die if I didn’t make a change.
But if I wasn’t going to do this work anymore, what was I going to do?
And how would I honor my true nature when I didn’t even know who I was or what I really wanted?
I sure have lost my way a lot in life.
It’s scary. But it’s okay. Because feeling lost can be a good thing. Let me show you why.
Why It’s Okay to Feel Lost
It means something better is waiting for you.
All feelings arise to show you something about yourself and your life.
Feeling lost doesn’t mean you’re doomed or that your life is hopeless. It simply means that something better is waiting for you.
Maybe you’ve been conducting your life based on what others believe is right, and you lost sight of what you really want.
Maybe you’ve been valuing the opinions of others over your own inner knowing.
Maybe you’ve been spending too much time with people who drag you down rather than lift you up.
These are all behaviors that, sooner or later, lead to discomfort. And they are all signs that something new and more suitable will ultimately happen.
It’s an opportunity to rekindle your curiosity.
Remember the sheer joy of discovery you experienced as a child when you learned things just because you were curious? Well, you can keep doing that as an adult, and it can be just as much fun.
Genuine curiosity — the persistent pursuit of understanding that leads to awareness and improvement — is an invitation to look into something not only with your mind but also with your heart and soul.
Asking lots of questions sparks interesting ideas and creates all kinds of connections; it opens up more options and opportunities.
It gives you a chance to reconnect with yourself.
Many of us have struggled to conform to our environment or life roles and lost sight of who we truly are.
Feeling lost is an opportunity to slow down the hectic busyness of your life, listen to your heart, and discover what matters most to you.
You can take time to rediscover your natural talents, the elements of your personality that have always been there. You can identify your deepest needs, values, and wishes.
The more you understand yourself, the easier you can detect what wants to happen next.
It can turn into an excellent adventure.
We humans have a strong need to control, fix, and influence everything.
The problem with thinking we know all the answers and trying to manage outcomes is that we end up shrinking, or getting stuck in place, rather than growing.
Feeling lost and confused isn’t meant to stop you in your tracks. It’s meant to beckon you forward along the path intended especially for you.
Venturing into this unknown territory can have an enchanting sense of possibility and freedom to it.
Life is meant to be an adventure in becoming, a blossoming into who you are meant to be. The most excellent adventure of all.
How to Find Your Way Again
Remember that you are not alone.
We’ve all struggled at one time or another with not knowing who we are, what we really want, or where we’re headed. Lessen your discomfort by reaching out to a friend you trust for empathy and gentle listening.
A good friend can serve as a sacred container, especially during life’s transitions. Through dialogue and honest sharing, friends can often reach a higher level of insight together.
Also remember that we belong to a larger universe that supports us and is an unwavering source of unconditional love, wisdom, and healing.
Use prayer or any other practice you enjoy to build your personal connection to your higher power. This reliable connection can stabilize you during times of uncertainty.
Practice calming your mind and your body.
Meditation, deep breathing, quiet time in nature, yoga, journaling, arts, crafts, and exercise. These are all proven ways to increase well-being. Choose something that works for you, and do it every day.
Stillness and silence are especially nurturing, and you can keep it simple. Try the following short breathing exercise.
Close your eyes and focus your attention on your breath passing in and out through your nostrils. Smile as you breathe, and within a few moments, your whole body will start to relax.
Several times a day, take sixty seconds to do this. That’s all — just sixty seconds. Allow your breath to take you to your quiet, calm center.
“In the attitude of silence, the soul finds the path in a clearer light,” said Mahatma Gandhi, “and what is elusive and deceptive resolves itself into crystal clearness.”
Explore, dream, discover.
Reawaken your curiosity, your childlike sense of wonder and openness.
The world is a fascinating place, and there are so many interesting things to learn about. Look around for inspiration and new interests.
Stretch out of your comfort zone by trying new things and meeting new people.
Use curiosity for self-understanding too. Ask yourself meaningful questions, and write about, draw, paint, or make a collage around anything that comes to you.
The following questions can get you started:
- What is something I’ve done that I’d love to do more of?
- What do I want to learn? What skills do I want to master?
- What do I know but don’t yet live?
- What have I been avoiding that needs to change?
- What could I do to make the world a better place?
Access your authentic power.
What does it mean to be a truly powerful human being?
In the words of spiritual teacher Gary Zukaz, “Authentic power is energy that is formed by the intentions of the soul. And, you are only as powerful as that for which you stand.”
So ask yourself, “What do I stand for?” And listen to your heart. You might also ask, “Who do I want to become?”
It’s okay if the answers don’t come right away. Just keep asking and listening for as long as necessary. It will be worth the wait.
Because the answers to those vital questions will reveal the very best you, the strongest, most generous you.
Remember that no matter what your circumstances or how lost you feel, you have the power to choose your direction and how to use your energy.
It’s Right Around the Corner
One fine day you will find your way from confusion to clarity.
Until then, stand tall in your unique personal power, and trust that all will be revealed to you when the timing is right.
When your steps are uncertain, and you feel those twinges of fear, remember that a higher power walks with you, and ask for help.
You are moving, changing, and growing at the exact right pace.
Stay curious, and be gentle with yourself.
Your something better is right around the corner, inspiring and surprising, just waiting to be found.
Linda Wattier is a writer and life coach with a passion for positive change. She’s on a mission to help 10,000 women shake things up, discover their callings, and share their deepest gifts with the world. Download her free self-discovery “cheat sheet”: 10 Tools for Crafting the Life You Were Made to Live.
Originally published at tinybuddha.com on May 24, 2016.
Image courtesy of Unsplash.