How to Find Yourself Again When You Feel Lost and Uninterested With Life
I’ve been so lost lately. For a few months actually. I haven’t known where I’ve wanted to live, what I want to do with my time, or even what I want to do for work. I’ve felt unfulfilled to say the least. I’m the freest I’ve ever been in my life, but I’d also agree I’m the most unfulfilled and lost. I feel stuck in the biggest rut, moving from one place and one thing to another as soon as that doesn't feel right, or lead to happiness. It might sound extreme, but I now feel like I'm having an identity crisis.
I’ve read every single article over the past month on finding and getting to know yourself. It sounds crazy because you’re supposed to know yourself better than anyone else, right? But I don’t think I know myself at all. Not really. Even when I think I do, it’s probably who I was a few years ago, not now.
Because of that, I’ve decided to embark on a real journey of self-discovery. I’m fed up with feeling fed up and although I don’t know what I want in life, I do know that I never want to feel this way again. It’s been the lowest point, and something I’ve wanted to shake but haven’t been able to despite trying.
Something has to change.
Reasons for a self-discovery journey
Even calling this a self-discovery journey is so woo-woo that it feels ridiculous. But it’s the only thing I’ve never really tried: truly getting to know myself that is. I never want to blame my past for anything, but there were quite a lot of big transitions and life changes over the past three years that I’ve never fully addressed. I’ve always distracted myself and poured positive energy into creating or writing, instead of facing what I needed to, fearing it would lead me into a negative spiral I’d never get out of.
But now I’m on this journey of doing everything I can to rediscover my passions, dig deep to understand what I want from life and start loving my life again. I’m dedicating a year to myself in the hopes that by the end of it, I’ll feel very different to the way I do now.
I’ve thought about whether to share this, but you can almost guarantee that the minute I go quiet on here it’s because of personal things I’m dealing with. This blog started as a way of sharing my hardest times, but somehow along the way I've replaced it with the belief that I’m supposed to have it all together by now. As a result, I go quiet when it’s not the case. Like now.
I also know this process will be long and hard, with a lot of tears, patience and new things I need to try. I want to share a little more of that, for those of you that also feel the same; that horrible feeling that you're uninspired and lost but not sure what to do about it.
It won’t be an overnight fix, I know that. But something about sharing this journey I’m on also gives me motivation to actually do the things I know I need to do to feel better. And it can be exciting too, to think of the possibilities that will come from that.
Things to try, to feel better
If you’re like me and have read almost every article on the topic of getting yourself out of a rut, you’ll notice the obvious things cropping up, those being:
Journaling always helped me through dark times before, but over time I've got out of the habit of it. I'm certain that part of feeling disconnected and lost is because of it's absence. Bringing back the daily practice is my first step. I’ve also signed up to a few person-centred therapy sessions as well as finding myself lost in a hilarious book recently - Confessions of a forty-something f##k up - that has reignited my interest in reading.
There are a few other things I’ve made an effort to do, such as:
- Reconnecting with friends in London and making plans, which ticks the box of surrounding yourself with a good support system
- Moving back to London last month - also ticking the box of revamping your space
- Joining a new gym even though I haven’t felt like exercise or eating - I’ll ease into it slowly as that’s a great mood booster
- Signing up to Meetup events to try new things and discover what I like (and meet new people!)
- Taking the stance that I’m only travelling right now (which helps take the feeling of omg-this-is-forever away!)
Mini checklist for finding yourself when lost
- Rediscover passions. What brings joy to your daily life? What things do you enjoy doing?
Try out new hobbies to find things you enjoy. Enrol in new classes, meetup events or solo travel in the hopes that something will eventually bring joy through one of them!
Volunteer your time for perspective. Helping others stops us overthinking about our own lives and forces us to gain empathy for someone else instead.
Dig deep and redefine goals. What do you want from life? Where do you see yourself in 5 or 10 years?
Identify your strengths and weaknesses. What things are you good at? What are you uniquely skilled at? What activities get you in a state of flow?
Daily journal prompts
There are also questions I’ll ask myself each day, noting down the answers in my journal:
- What am I grateful for today?
- What things did I do that I’m proud of today?
- What gave me energy today and what zapped it?
6 Things to note when you’re feeling lost and uninterested with life
1. This feeling is temporary.
All feelings are. And even though we know it, we still make decisions that can sometimes be permanent. Instead, I’m making an effort to remind myself daily that this feeling is only a result of something happening in my life right now. These situations make us feel sad, frustrated or low… right now. They are only temporary.
2. Act motivated to feel it.
Most of us think that we’ll do something when we feel motivated. But the opposite is true. Taking action is what drives motivation, making us more motivated to do something. Get started and do something, right now, no matter how small.
3. Set short-term goals in the meantime that actually mean something.
This is hard to do when you’re lacking motivation and feeling lost. After all, that lost feeling comes from not having goals or an idea of what you want in life. The way I’m combatting this is to set myself short-term goals. Goals that don’t need much concentration or effort but will make me feel better in the short-term. Hopefully the more we focus on the little things, the more chance we have of discovering the bigger goals that drive us.
4. Try new things.
Trying new things is hopeful. It gives you the chance to expand yourself and your goals. It might also lead to new opportunities that you haven't previously thought of. Some of those things you will love, others you won’t. But allow this bit to excite you.
5. Talking helps.
Like I mentioned before, this feeling won’t last forever, but I understand that doesn’t help when you’re in the thick of these emotions. Have the courage to find a therapist and talk to someone, even if you only try it for a few weeks. Exploring ourselves on a deeper level is sometimes helped with someone there guiding you to open up and notice parts of you that you’ve suppressed.
6. Imagine yourself as a motivated person (even when you're not!)
Ask yourself; ‘what would I do now if I felt motivated? How would I dress? What would I eat?’ The simple question of asking myself what I would do if I felt motivated right now, took me from working from home in my lounge wear, not doing a lot, to getting dressed, taking a walk and getting a lovely coffee from a local cafe. It was small but when I returned home I was in a different state of mind.
Can you resonate with any of the above? If you feel the same, I hope these little starters help you to gain a little motivation. Do something small that makes you smile right now and seek the courage to make a change too.