Feeling lost can be quite scary but there is always a way to get on track.
Accept that it’s okay to feel lost
No matter how difficult the feeling of being lost might seem, realize that it’s not a feeling that will last forever. All suffering in life is temporary, even if it seems otherwise. Imagine for a moment being on a plane. Everything is great and you’re excited about your journey. The plane takes off and as it ascends you admire the beauty below you. Then all of a sudden, at a time not of your choosing, you go straight into the clouds and you can’t see a thing, an unknown zone of clouded nothingness. It can be scary, but you trust that it’s temporary and you will soon be out of it. In the greatest times of challenge, it is an important time to trust.
Over-analysing won’t change the process of the unknown, so you need to acknowledge what’s going on and feel it for all that it is, but importantly, not get stuck in it. Trust that even though it’s scary and possibly unfamiliar to you, it is temporary, and you need to have faith in the bigger picture as you go through the clouded bit.
You have more control than you think
While setbacks, challenge, trauma and loss can make you feel unsteady, it’s really important that you don’t fall into a victim mindset. Bad things happen but you are NOT a victim unless you decide you are. How you choose to respond is within your control and will determine the outcome. I know this first hand, so I am saying this to you respectfully and with kindness. You need to become bigger than whatever you may be going through, and you know what, something positive can come from something negative.
A couple of years ago I interviewed Edith Eger, one of the last survivors of Auschwitz. She said something that I think is worth noting here. Reflecting on what she went through and how she responded, she said, “The concentration camp is your mind, the key is in your pocket.” So, taking control is not about waving a wand and the situation is rosy, it’s all about how you respond to it. You get to choose your response.
If you look throughout history, you will find that the people who achieved the greatest things in this world were people who had the greatest challenges. So, if you are in a difficult situation, rise up and be a victor. YOU are not your circumstance! Nobody or nothing can make you a victim unless you agree to it.
Focus on your strengths and capabilities
Everyone has flaws, but there’s absolutely nothing you can gain from obsessing about them. When you feel lost in life, the best thing you can do is focus on your strengths. Look at what you’re good at and at your personal qualities. Take time to list them now and use them.
If you don’t think you’re good at anything, or you don’t know what your qualities are, ask yourself this: Have I ever struggled before and got through it, even though at the time I found it hard? Let’s keep it simple. In order for you to be able to read this, did you struggle initially with sounding letters, then words etc. Of course, you did. It’s all relative, but think about what traits got you through it and kept you going? They are strengths. Were you creative, stubborn, determined, calm, focused or something else? Now look at another challenge you got through. I bet you drew upon the same or similar qualities. What did you do?
Bizarrely, sometimes even things that seem to be weaknesses can be used to get a result, so if you can’t think of good qualities don’t worry about it, they are there. I will explain. When I was going through the bad patch of my life, the part where I starved myself to within a week of death, it took focus, stubbornness and anger to get me there. I was angry all the time, which could be considered a weakness, but I used it to focus on the task at hand. Illogical and stupid, I know, but it did the job. The point I’m making here is any trait can be used as a strength. The key is recognising what propels you and channel it in the direction of what you DO want. So, the very thing I drew upon to make myself suffer, I drew upon to recover. I got stubborn and I got determined.
It’s far better to build up your strengths than worrying about weaknesses. No matter what, your flaws are not a reflection of your capabilities. You can swap out negative traits and replace them with positive characteristics anytime. So, take time now to list every strength you have, personal traits, talents, skills etc. and look at how you could use them to get on track.
Choose healthy habits
This point might sound a little cliche, but your habits determine the outcome of your life, and can contribute to feeling lost, especially when your habits are unhealthy ones. For example, a habit like scrolling social media, is not entirely bad, but when it’s causing you to compare your life with everyone else’s, that’s when it becomes unhealthy. Like anything, moderation is key.
Look at whether your daily habits are helping you or contributing to feeling lost. Importantly, look at habits you might need to create to get you on track. Who do you know who is grounded and level-headed? What habits do they have? As Aristotle said, “You are what you repeatedly do. Excellence, therefore is not an act, but a habit.”
Have a change of environment
Emotions are fleeting, but by staying in one place, there’s a possibility to dwell in negativity and let your feelings grow into something they don’t need to be. It can lead you to being inside your head too much. Be around positive people instead, even if that’s simply listening to positive podcasts or reading positive books. What you put in, you get out. Feed your mind with positive information, positive conversation and a positive outlook on life. Be around people who inspire you.
Get outside and move your body. Fresh air can do wonders and sitting inside all the time will just lead to wallowing and over analysing. Even something as simple as getting out of bed, taking a shower, and getting dressed can create a slight improvement in your management of emotions.
Do one thing, no matter how small, every day to put you in a positive direction.
Look for the lessons
Sometimes when you feel lost, it’s a great opportunity to learn and grow. You can learn a lot about yourself when faced with challenge. What positive things can you learn now and take into your future with you? Use this time to build character. It will stand to you going forward.
It’s time to take action. While feeling lost is okay, you also need to set yourself up to move forward. You can’t deal with the feeling of being lost when you don’t do anything but dwell on it further.
“Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.” – Albert Einstein.
What matters is what you choose to do with how you feel. Are you actively doing something that brings you closer to what you want? Stop making excuses and own your life. Your story is not your identity! Become bigger than it.
Start by deciding what you want and see it in your mind’s eye. It doesn’t matter that you’re not there yet, your brain needs something to work towards. Set your intention now and then pay attention to that intention. You will get there, if you choose to.
To help you further with steps, you can download my ebook here for free https://donnakennedy.com/#ebook
This is your life. Live it! Now is your time.