Feeling lost? Missing yourself? Wondering where you’ve gone?
As life unfolds, we often go on autopilot, forgetting our priorities and intentions. Even as we learn how to let go and “go with the flow,” we may find ourselves suddenly drifting down a choppy river—things are not headed in the direction we’d intended.
Losing course happens easily. Life is always changing, and change brings complexity. It’s easy to lose our way, and sometimes we even lose ourselves in the process.
We lose ourselves in relationships by giving others our power, thinking that we’re better off letting somebody else call the shots. It works for a while until we realize that healthy relationships are based in freedom, not control.
We lose ourselves in work by keeping our nose to the grindstone and ignoring our problems, using work as an excuse to avoid making difficult life changes or taking responsibility for improving our personal lives.
We lose ourselves in thoughts by overthinking or worrying about things that never occur, until we understand that we have the power to choose our thoughts and what we focus on.
We lose ourselves in blame and shame, believing that we’re not good enough or worthy of having good experiences and relationships, until we realize that we are the only ones responsible for our happiness.
So, we feel lost. But the good news is we can find ourselves again.
We can focus on our lives in healthy and balanced ways—and by doing so, reclaim our power, create better work/life balance, and build healthy self-esteem.
Feeling lost? Here are a few tips to get yourself back on the right path:
Gain control of your thoughts. Our thoughts have tremendous power, and we automatically create the attitudes, actions, and words that support whatever we are thinking about—so choose wisely. Not every thought is a good idea, but one powerful thought can change your life. What are you thinking about and where is that leading you?
Focus on well-being. Now that you’re deliberately choosing which thoughts to focus on, attention to healthy thoughts and choices will lead to a better sense of overall well-being. You can break bad habits and replace them with better habits by focusing on what you want instead of what you don’t want—simple, but not always easy.
Select your environment. When you can, choose the environments that match your energy. Need a boost? Choose the places and people that will energize you. Need a break? Choose accordingly. Even during chaos, you can go to “your happy place” by breathing, calming your emotions, and remembering that this, too, shall pass.
Find healthy distractions. Part of supporting yourself is learning about what makes you happy and then doing those things on a regular basis—especially if you’re having a bad day. Even simple things like reading a book or listening to music can shift your mood or mindset quickly. Make a list if you need to, then refer to it on down days.
Expand awareness of your choices. In any given moment, you have the power of choices working for or against you. Even when you don’t feel you have options, you always have the power to choose your response to anything—accepting or resisting what you’re experiencing. Sometimes the best decision is to let it be.
Appreciate your progress. We are always growing whether or not we realize it, and sometimes our biggest learning comes from a crisis, not our success. Taking the time to look back and appreciate what you’ve accomplished is an easy way to win yourself back, especially if you’re feeling disconnected from your personal power and self-esteem.
Practice, practice, practice. Practice doesn’t make perfect, but it can make pretty darn good. In fact, practicing healthy habits always pays off because it helps build positive momentum that can influence other areas of your life. Never downplay the power of habits. When you start making healthy choices, the momentum will follow.
Michael Thomas Sunnarborg helps people maintain balance during transitions in their work, relationships, and life. Learn more at michaelsunnarborg.com