Finding direction when you are feeling lost

It’s common to question yourself, where your life is going. If you’re constantly asking yourself where your choices are taking you and if you are making the right ones, you are not alone. When your wheels are spinning, and you are on the hunt for the right direction, those doubts lead you to the feeling of being lost. But feeling lost is normal.

It happens for a few reasons. Either you got to where you always wanted to be, only to realize you don’t want that anymore. The bottom seems to have fallen out on your big dream. But now you don’t know what you want. So you feel lost. Or, you have never known where you are going. And you have let outside pressures, and other people’s expectations dictate your choices. You just went with the flow of what other people said you should do because you were not sure what you wanted for yourself (or really, you were just too scared to admit what you did like), and now you are so far off from who you once wanted to be that it seems impossible to get back.

The best thing you can do if you are feeling lost is to examine those areas of your life necessary for helping you reset your direction.

At a certain point in life, people transition from “time to live” to “time left to live.” This shift creates a new sense of urgency about identifying the purpose of our existence. And as people confront this challenge, they come up against a set of fundamental human needs that collectively define how we experience the meaning of our existence: belonging, purpose, competence, control, and transcendence.  

What to do when feeling lost?

Working upon these can help you reinvent your life:

Belonging

Humans are social beings, and for most people, belongingness means being in affectionate interpersonal relationships. By displaying love, affection, and care, we feel belongingness from our near and dear ones. We need the support of our loved ones to find the right direction in life. So that we don’t feel lost, then we can cope with loneliness more effectively. People are lonely because they build walls instead of bridges.

Purpose

To thrive, people need a direction and goals to look forward to. People who lack a clear sense of purpose find little meaning in whatever they are doing. People need to have a future-looking purpose. So, they can go in that particular direction, and they would not feel lost.

Competence

People derive much of their identity from what they do — how they use and master their unique talents. A sense of competence provides confidence in people’s ability to meet the challenges that lie ahead. High levels of competence often involve being “in the zone,” completely and utterly immersed in whatever we are doing.

Control

People are readier to find meaning in their choices if they believe they took them freely — that the options were theirs to make. People chose to get married because either they really wanted to or because everybody at their age was already married. This sense of having someone else’s meaning imposed on your own is classified as control. Do whatever you think is right for you. Always travel in that direction, which your intuition tells you, is the right direction. Be consistent. Don’t feel lost.

Transcendence

As an old Greek proverb notes, ‘society grows great when old men plant trees whose shade they know they shall never sit in.’ We find our most profound meaning when we move beyond self-interest and self-fulfillment to make room within ourselves for other people to whom we are not personally close — when we connect ourselves purposefully to our community and society at large. 

Ways to find the right direction in life:

Stop overthinking

Don’t think too much about anything. If any irrelevant thought comes into your mind, let go of that thought. Learn to tame your mind, which is like a wild horse. Stop over-thinking about anything. You will remain happy. You will find a purpose in life.

Try anything. Do something

When you take action and start doing things, you begin to feel better almost immediately. Instead of thinking about some far-off place in your head, full of uncertainty, you will be working on something certain, .i.e. your actions. We cannot control what will happen tomorrow. Instead, we can maintain the steps that we take every single day. That’s the real beauty of life—knowing that you have absolute control over each of your thoughts, words, and actions. And by trying, moving, asking, engaging, experimenting, and walking forward, you are one step further than where you were yesterday. And you never know where that one step will lead you.

Follow your inner voice

Follow your inner voice. And, gradually, by doing and learning, it will get better – not sitting and waiting for the right situation to come, so that you will take your decision. Always say positive things about yourself, in your mind, and also while speaking to others. Have a positive self-concept. Whatever you talk about yourself, your family members, and your work – they have a great impact on you.

Don’t fear

Be fearless. Follow your intuition, and do what you love to do. Don’t hold yourself back, thinking of the unforeseen future circumstances. Fear provides resistance to your wisdom and reasoning power. So, don’t let fear stop you from making any good decisions for your success/for your well-being. Because if you act in fear, then things get worse. Therefore, work with full confidence. Better things come when you are your own-self. You will never find your purpose when you allow others to decide how you should be. If you try to be someone else, which you are not in actual, you won’t give your best. Don’t think what others will think of you. You remain calm, relaxed, and satisfied, on being your own-self.

Believe in yourself

Although for some, finding the right direction might require the journey of a lifetime, I do believe there is one direction in which we are all meant to go, i.e., forward. By taking small steps every day, putting aside over-thinking, and realizing that you have everything you need deep within, you can find the right direction in your life. And while it may not be the direction you expected, it will work out just fine. You will get your desired success by putting in small, consistent efforts every day.

‘Nobody can go back and start a new beginning, but anyone can start today and make a new ending.’ – Maria Robinson

The best thing you can do if you’re feeling lost is to examine areas of your life that are core to helping you reset your direction:

Be the highest expression of yourself: ‘Be you.’ This statement has a great meaning in finding your right direction in life when you feel lost. To figure out what the highest expression of yourself looks like, examine all the places that you have told yourself to change to succeed. Then reverse that, don’t change them, and if you can, magnify those things.

For example, one woman was always told she’s too social. So, she spent years trying to be less social, less talkative, and less out and about. But what happened when she decided just to be herself? She had the courage and support to start her own event production company, which was an extension of who she was all along. Be Yourself. Better things come when you are your own-self. You will never find your purpose when you allow others to decide how you should be. If you try to be someone else, which you are not in actual, you won’t give your best. Don’t think what others will think of you. You remain calm, relaxed, and satisfied, on being your own-self.

Learn how to control and reduce stress: Stop negative thinking. Embrace positive thinking. Control your mind to manage stress. 

There is a good quote: ‘It is difficult to find stress within oneself, but it is impossible to find it anywhere else.’ Stop constant worrying and negative thinking. Have positive beliefs and hopes in your mind that everything will be alright. In this way, you can clear your mind and reduce stress. Then only can you find the right direction in life when you are tension-free and peaceful within yourself.

How to deal with anxiety?

Remember, you reside within this universe, and the whole universe resides within you. Get involved in everything, whatever you do. Don’t hold onto anything. Don’t do over-thinking. Everything will automatically come into place. You will be stress-free, relaxed, and in turn, happy in your life. Think of some positive solutions to your problems and tensions, if any. Do Brainstorming. You will get the right answer in time. Think positively and relax.

Concentrate and control yourself 

Meditation means concentrating on being peaceful without bringing any other thoughts to your mind. It helps a lot in clearing your mind of stress and keeps you relaxed and happy. Thus, you will be able to have control over your thoughts and yourself.

Take care of yourself

Stop blaming anything/anyone for your sadness or tension. Happiness comes from inside .i.e. from your inner world (your thoughts, actions, and viewpoints about other people/things). It doesn’t come from your outer world. As said rightly by someone: ‘Happiness is an internal affair.’ Also, be generous towards your own-self. Don’t be cruel to your inner child. Care for your inner child, .i.e. inner-self, with benevolence and generosity. Then you can remain happy from within yourself.

Understand your subconscious power

Your subconscious mind is that part of the reason that is not currently in focal awareness. Unknown to our conscious mind, we very often make impressions on our subconscious mind. If our conscious mind is the parent, then the subconscious mind is like a small child. So, let’s feed love instead of hatred, compassion instead of anger to our minds. As you heal your mind, you will seem to offer comfort to other people. Your state of mind is reflected in the world. Try to be in a state of tranquillity and calmness, rather than being anxious. 

Discover what energized you (and what drained you) in the last year

We do so much in a single year. Some of it we may have loved. Most of it we have probably forgotten about. There is plenty of it that we hated. But all of it has the insight to provide us if we are willing to notice. Instead of trying to goal-set your way out of your lost feelings, it’s more useful to reflect your way out of them instead. You will know where to step if you know what lit you up like a lamppost and what didn’t. So take a minute to ask yourself these questions and journal out the answers:

In the last year, what actions made me feel most/least inspired?

In the last year, what actions gave me the most/least energy?

When did I feel the most/least proud in the last year, and what was I doing?

You may be surprised by what pops up. And that’s just fine. By finding the answers to the above questions, you will find what you want to do in your life and what purpose it will solve.

Assess your roster of support 

None of us are meant to go at this alone. But that is what we do when we are feeling lost. We keep our feelings to ourselves. We don’t tell anyone — not our families, not our best pals, not our partners — because we don’t want them to think we are ungrateful or unhappy. But what you will find when you do open up is that many of your solutions and your support are waiting there for you. It’s important to know who can be there to support you both in your feelings of being lost and your plan for small actions around what energizes and inspires you. So take a moment to jot down the name of someone in your life that comes up after reading these descriptions. (It can be the same name for all of them or a different character each time). 

Who always believes in you no matter what? You could tell them the craziest idea, and they would still tell you YES because they are all-in on your potential?

Who always seems to have a plan for everything? Are they great at strategies and next steps?

Who is down to introduce you to “someone you should know” and seems to get still that right?

Who always makes you feel like the best version of yourself when you are with them?

Keep this person or these people close. Give some thought to spending more time with them and sharing your feelings around your life’s direction and some small actions you are considering. They will want to be there for you.

CONCLUSION

Your lost feelings won’t dissipate in a day. Working out what you want to do with your life and how you want to earn a living is an ongoing process that develops and changes over time.

But, I truly believe that everyone has the power to create change in their lives – it’s just a case of getting started. It would be best if you gave support, motivation to yourself, hope that you will find the right path of your life, and keep working towards it consistently.