WRITTEN BY ALICIA KOCH, FOUNDER OF THE LEGAL BELLETRIST
Have you ever felt lost?
We’re not talking about driving to an area you don’t know without your sat-nav working. That’s a different kind of lost. Altogether.
We’re talking about the “lost” that happens when you feel yourself losing your place in the world. The “lost” you feel when you’re not quite keeping up with those around you. The “lost” you feel when you’re disconnected from your purpose. And yourself.
A feeling of “where have I come from and where am I going to?”.
That kind of “lost”. Directionless. Purposeless. And completely off track.
Feeling lost is very tangible. You can hear it. Smell it. Even taste it. It’s there all around you.
What has caused it can be an innumerable amount of things. Maybe you have plenty of reasons. Maybe only one. And maybe none at all. Maybe you just are feeling – lost. Simple as that.
It happens. To most of us throughout our lives. Spurred on by many different things – the end of a romance, the end of a career, the loss of a loved one, failing an exam, losing a case, or bungling up a deal. There are just so many variables. So many factors. And sometimes it’s more than one.
Am I lost or just demotivated?
Being demotivated is quite different from feeling lost.
According to the Oxford Dictionary being “demotivated” is when someone is “less eager to work or study.”
Someone who is demotivated knows where they are going and what they are doing (usually) but they just feel a little less eager to get there. They are missing that little cherry on top. That incentive. That nudge to get them back on track.
But this feeling of “being lost” is different. It’s when you look in the mirror and suddenly don’t know who the person looking back at you is. Inside. It is the feeling of being suspended in liquid treading water and hoping you find your way out and towards the sun once again.
Maybe an example will help.
Take a puzzle. After all, you know how much we love puzzles.
Someone who is demotivated will look at all the bright coloured pieces – they will see the different shapes and sizes and can possibly even tell where one piece is meant to go. But they just don’t want to. Maybe they don’t like the image on the puzzle. Maybe they just don’t like puzzles. Maybe they just can’t be bothered. Either way, they don’t feel excited about completing it.
Someone who is feeling lost, actually does like puzzles. But they cannot see the image of the puzzle. At all. They cannot even tell if it is in black and white or colour. So, they don’t know the first thing about how to put it together.
Acknowledging how you feel is the first step
We acknowledge that this feeling of being lost is really hard. We acknowledge that it is not something that you can just “keep calm and carry on” about. In fact, you really shouldn’t.
But we also know that the first step in dealing with feeling lost is acknowledging and admitting that you are.
Because by acknowledging how you are feeling, you can start to deal with it. And in so doing, get to know who you are now – after finding yourself again.
Remember, “Knowing yourself is the beginning of all wisdom” (Aristotle).
Acknowledging, accepting and reminding yourself that it is ok to feel the way you do, is your absolute first step.
What comes next?
Your journey to finding yourself again, learning about yourself and accepting the “new you” can be an unbelievably valuable exercise. Learning about yourself is a great gift and helping yourself get through this feeling of unease can change your life in so many ways. All for the better.
So here are some tips/strategies to follow on how to deal with feeling lost:
- Take care of yourself
- Do not become a victim
- Focus on your strengths and capabilities
- Reflect on your values
- Acknowledge who you really are
- Learn from it
- Ask for help
Take care of yourself – be kind to yourself first and foremost. After telling yourself it’s ok to feel how you are feeling, taking care of yourself is crucial. This is not the time to badger yourself about being weak or failing or “not being good enough”. Firstly, all of that is rubbish. That is just your insecurity talking. And secondly, belittling yourself will not help the situation. Be kind to yourself. Breathe. Try meditation or yoga. Get back to feeling ok in your own skin again.
Do not become a victim – when you are trying to figure out what to do next, it is only natural to develop a sort of defeatist attitude. It becomes easy to give up and not try. It is easy to become a victim. But that will only hurt you in the long run. If you stop caring about what you are doing and simply accept your situation, you are telling yourself its fine to stay in the hole you are in. It’s ok to give up. But it just isn’t. So, work on your self-esteem. Remind yourself that this is a phase, something you are working through and give yourself back your self-worth – because you deserve more than that.
Focus on your strengths and capabilities – it’s only natural that when you are feeling lost in the world to focus on your flaws. We all have them. We are only human after all. No one is perfect. But focusing on those flaws that you may (or may not) have is again harmful. You will have nothing to gain from focusing on your weaknesses. Your flaws. The things you cannot do. Yet. So instead – shift your perspective. Focus on the things that you can do well. Focus on your strengths and your best qualities (come on you can admit what these are). Become your biggest supporter. Tell yourself “You’ve got this” and feel strong in that realisation. Because you are amazing, with your own gifts, your own qualities and your own unique personality. And that’s a powerful thing.
Reflect on your values – ask yourself this “what is important to you?”. When you can understand what matters most in your life, when you can feel what resonates with you – focus on that. And then do whatever you need to, to live your life in line with those values that are most important to you. Remember this is your life. You should be living it for yourself. Not anyone else. And with that knowledge in mind – open yourself up to opportunity and take it all in.
Acknowledge who you really are – now this may be a hard one. Because again, it starts with acknowledging where you are right now. We don’t mean on your couch in your living room. We mean, where you are emotionally. Then once you have done that, remind yourself who you are. Think about this deeply and look inside of yourself. You know your core values, you will already have admitted to your strengths and capabilities, you will know your self-worth. Now acknowledge what knowing all of those things about yourself makes you – a beautiful, unique individual who has been through a tough time. But someone who can find their way out of it. Be true to you.
Learn from it – every obstacle put in our way is there to teach us a lesson. Even the really hard ones. And feeling lost is one of them. But going through this process of self-evaluation and self-care can open up your mind to parts of yourself that you didn’t know existed. We are always so busy – with work, with our families, with our friends that we often neglect getting to know ourselves first. We forget that each experience in life teaches us a valuable lesson. You have most likely been through emotions similar to this before. And going through it taught you something knew about you. So, take this life lesson and learn from it. Grow.
Ask for help – while the above are helpful steps to take in finding your way out of the fog, they are not the be all and end all. They are not magical beans that will suddenly turn your life around. No matter how hard you try. Sometimes we just cannot seem to pull ourselves out of the hole we have dug for ourselves. And that’s ok. But staying in that state of flux is not. So, put pride, shame and whatever else aside and ask for help. Again, we acknowledge that feeling lost is hard. It is scary and can be lonely. This isn’t easy. And we are not playing it down. Whatsoever.
However, we believe that situations like this can be a catalyst for amazing change in your life. It can redirect you towards the things that matter most to you. If you let them. And that’s the key right there. Its all up to you.
“Be patient with yourself. Nothing blooms all year”Anonymous
On that note, we remind you that your mental health and your mental wellbeing are paramount to living a full life. Do not neglect them. Do not dismiss them. Do not ignore feelings of despair or feelings of being lost.
Reach out. But also allow yourself to feel, to deal and to grow from this.
About the writer, Alicia Koch, Founder of The Legal Belletrist.
Alicia, an admitted attorney with over 10 years PQE, and now a legal writer and researcher, has established The Legal Belletrist to assist companies (in different sectors) to write well-researched articles that speak to each company’s core business, enabling growth and commercialism.
Click here to visit The Legal Belletrist website.