8 Ways to Quickly Find Yourself Again
This modern world of ours is often busy, chaotic and chock full of distractions. So much so that there are very few of us who don't, at times, have that sense that we've somehow disconnected from our authentic selves - that we've become lost on our journey through life. Once you've noticed that disconnected sensation of feeling lost, (which frequently takes months or even years) you're left wondering how to find yourself - how to find the real you amongst all the roles and responsibilities that have inperceptibly built up around you over time; cloaking the authentic self like a heavy, cumbersome coat.
Finding yourself requires taking that coat off for a while - being still and quiet, so that the real self has a chance to breathe and stretch. We need to give ourselves the space to see and hear what the real self is all about. Yourself is there - it hasn't gone anywhere - it's just waiting for you to pay attention to it. So here are some ideas on how we get lost to start with, why feeling lost can be extremely positive and how to find yourself again.
"Not until we are lost do we begin to understand ourselves." Henry David Thoreau
Feeling Lost and Why Losing Ourselves Can be Positive
Life is busy. Work, family, children, friends, bills, colleagues, illness, commitments, responsibilities. housework, neighbors, studies ... the list goes on ... and on. No wonder we struggle to find time to connect to ourselves and often have a sense of feeling lost. What time to do we really give ourselves to just be, to check in with ourselves and find out where we're at?
For some, the busyness is a way to avoid confronting themselves for fear of what they may find lurking.
If this is you, don't worry, we've all been there and it's easily reversible. Being busy all the time allows us to live in the relative comfort of our own defenses, without the need to question whether they're working for us or against us. Our psychological defenses can build up to such a point that who we are is more about keeping defenses in place, rather than simply being ourselves.
For those hiding from deep emotional pain the avoidance may take more extreme forms instead of simply being busy. Deadening ourselves with drugs, alcohol, sex, work or other addictions is another way to get well and truly lost and disconnected from our real selves. (I know, I've been there.)
The positive thing is, is that you're reading this. You have the advantage of knowing that you are lost. In contrast to the many, many people that don't have that knowledge about themselves or their lives and who are hopelessly doomed to a life half lived unless they wake up, you have the opportunity to find yourself. Take the journey and risk finding out who you are.
"There came a time when the risk to remain tight in the bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom." Anaïs Nin
#1 - Find Yourself by Taking Time Out
Now this may be obvious, but it's definitely worth discussing. We spoke previously about giving ourselves some space simply to be and it's the single most important thing to do this if we want to find ourselves. If you're initial reaction is, "But I don't have time!", or some other excuse, think again. If you are committed to finding yourself, which will ultimately improve your life and the lives of the people you come into contact with, you will make the effort to find some time just for you.
One excellent way of doing this is to go on a retreat or holiday by yourself. Now I don't really want to get into telling you what I do to find myself because we are all different and what suits me may not suit you, but one thing I highly recommend is to take one week away by yourself every year to reconnect with yourself and to totally get away from the busyness of everyday life. This option may not be for everyone, but for me spending a week in a cabin, in the middle of a forest, sourrounded by lakes, with no TV, and plenty of saunas, is the perfect way to find myself. I have to do this with the support of my husband, because we have children to think about, but he knows that in the long term it benefits everyone when Mom gets a good break. If taking time out in this way is something you long for and you need someone to take over your responsibilities while you're away, just ask. Mairela, in Finland, is my preferred healing retreat, and Sara the wonderful woman that runs it, offers a range of services to enhance your stay.
Whether you decide to go on a retreat to find yourself or not, spending half an hour daily or a few times a week, quietly writing, meditating or going for a walk on your own, is a wonderful way to reconnect to yourself. Why not set a time and date now when you can do this for yourself? What about today?
#2 - When You Feel Lost - Get Centered!
A quick way to find yourself that can be done in just a minute is to centre yourself. This can be done in a variety of ways - a simple stretch can really help, but my preferred method is to sit or stand in a quiet place for a few minutes and just concentrate on the senstation of breathing. Feel the air passing through your nostrils, or if you prefer, feel the rise and fall of your chest. Just focus on one point of sensation for a few minutes and you will find yourself refreshed and centred quickly and easily.
To develop your ability to centre yourself and to increase your chances of feeling centred more of the time, meditation is a useful skill to learn and one that can really help you find yourself.
#3 - Finding Yourself by Doing Something Totally Different
One of the best ways to find yourself is to do something completely different. Doing something new allows us to stretch ourselves and to discover qualities we may have never realized we had before (or to rediscover talents we haven't used for a while).
- Do you have places you'd like to visit?
- Activities you'd like to try or get back into?
- Something you'd like to get involved in, such as charity work?
- Someone you'd like to get to know better?
All it takes is for you to make the decision to do it, so what are you waiting for? Take on the challenge however small or big and you might well surprise yourself.
"Happiness is not something ready made. It comes from your own actions." Dalai Lama
#4 - When You're Feeling Lost - Decide Your Priorities
When was the last time you sat down and wrote a list of the things you'd like to achieve or experience in your life? The truth is unless you decide (or allow yourself to know) what you really want it's not going to happen. Think about what you have always dreamed of doing and write it down. How can you start working right now to achieve that? What is the first small step? Can you take that first step today, tomorrow or within the next week? Make the commitment to start working towards one of your personal ambitions - you won't regret it.
"The indispensable first step to getting the things you want out of life is this: decide what you want." Ben Stein
#5 - Rediscover your Positive Qualities and Accept Your Shortcomings
One thing many of us find extremely hard to do is to be clear in our heads what is good about ourselves. Every single one of us has unique qualities and attributes that should be celebrated, if not by the whole of humanity, at least by ourselves.
We often focus far to much on the things we don't like about ourselves which sends us into a spiral of low self esteem and low confidence which does nothing to help us on our journey through life. We need to develop both compassion for our shortcomings and a healthy appreciation of our positive qualities.
"If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion." Dalai Lama
"With realization of one's own potential and self-confidence in one's ability, one can build a better world." Dalai Lama
The quotes from the Dalai Lama above really say it all. No matter what your religious beliefs, developing compassion and realising your unique potential both go a long way in helping you to find yourself.
#6 - Connect With the Child Within
It's become a bit of cliché to spend time "finding the inner child", but all this means is doing something you love purely for the enjoyment of it. Reconnecting with the things you loved doing as a child is a wonderful way to find yourself and moving away from that sense of feeling lost.
If your passion is dancing, put some music on now and have a dance. If it's art, get yourself a few artist materials and make something. If it's getting messy, go and do some gardening or bake a cake. If you loved sports, research a local team to join. There really is no one stopping you from doing something you enjoy apart from yourself.
One of the easiest ways to reconnect with tour inner child is to play with our own children. If you've forgotten how to play let them guide you. Immerse yourself in their play (without worrying about mess or how things "should" be done) and you'll probably have the most fun you've had in ages.
"Happy is he who still loves something he loved in the nursery: He has not been broken in two by time; he is not two men, but one, and he has saved not only his soul but his life." G.K. Chesterton
#7 - Therapy and Counseling Can Help When We Feel Lost
For those of us with ingrained issues who may have unexplored emotions around grief or abuse, we may need specialist help to release blocked emotions and let go of pain in order to find ourselves. This is not a weakness, it's just how it is. Some emotions are so powerful and some thinking patterns so ingrained, that we need a guide to help us through them. Therapy can be a painful journey, but one that is necessary if we are to be truly free of things that are hindering our ability to be ourselves. Finding yourself comes as part of the process of counseling or psychotherapy.
"To the question of your life you are the answer, and to the problems of your life you are the solution." Joe Cordare
#8 - Read Inspirational Authors
There are a number of authors that I turn to time and time again to help me reconnect with myself and find my true sense of purpose. The main ones are Pema Chödrön, Brene Brown, Ram Dass, Jack Kornfield, Dalai Lama and Lyanla Vanzant.
Pema Chödrön is my favorite inspirational writer because she writes in such crystal clear, beautiful and insightful way, that's also filled with humor and total acceptance of how difficult life can be. I always feel uplifted and comforted by her words and so they are my constant bedside companions.
Two of Pema's books that really resonate with me are:
“…feelings like disappointment, embarrassment, irritation, resentment, anger, jealousy, and fear, instead of being bad news, are actually very clear moments that teach us where it is that we’re holding back. They teach us to perk up and lean in when we feel we’d rather collapse and back away. They’re like messengers that show us, with terrifying clarity, exactly where we’re stuck. This very moment is the perfect teacher, and, lucky for us, it’s with us wherever we are.”
Hopefully this article has given you some ideas on why feeling lost can be positive and how to find yourself again. I hope it has given you the confidence to make a decision today about something you could do to help yourself on your journey of self discovery. Below you'll find some quick polls for you to get involved with if you want to.
Good luck on Your Journey to Find Yourself
Please feel free to leave a comment or question below if you would like to know more about how to find yourself or you'd like to share your own methods for finding yourself.
Dina AH from United States on April 19, 2020:
Susana, when I stumbled on your article, I knew I was reading work by one of the absolute best. I have been feeling lost for ages and I have read a lot of articles and books on moving past this stage. Yet, there is something so dynamic and unique about your article. You continuously put bits of what works best for you but you don't overpower the article with that kind of information. It's such a delicate balance, and it takes skill and talent to get there. What an absolute delight! You have a new subscriber.
Sheila A Myers from Elmira on September 05, 2019:
Wow! Thank you so much, I really needed this!!
Virginia from Crestview, FL on March 03, 2018:
This is beautifully written.
Ioannis Arvanitis from Greece, Almyros on January 04, 2018:
Respect for your try! I see something precious in your article. The clear heart of a child and true love for the others. I admire those. Keep up the good work. The world needs articles like this one.
Jacque on November 12, 2015:
I am in darkness afraid of what im going to do cant find my way out
Just Me on October 28, 2015:
No help here. :(
Lost kim on October 06, 2015:
I have recently suffered a break up with someone I have been in love with for years and have only been romantically involved with for 6 months. I need to focus on me while raising my 11 year old but I don't know what it means "To find yourself" it sounds great but I need an explanation and a plan on how to accomplish this.
Susana Smith (author) from UK on May 15, 2015:
Do you feel you deserve time out? Are you worth the commitment to yourself? What about a run or a walk in the woods, a meditation group? Maybe you just haven't hot on the thing that connects you to you.
Helen on April 25, 2015:
I have to honestly say - and I guess I'm Miss Negativity here, but don't mean to be - I've tried the little moments - the cup of coffee in the sunroom, quiet time after the kids are in bed (and I'm exhausted). These don't cut it for me. And I have little support from my husband to really do things for myself, and even less finances. I love this article, but I find whenever I try to come up with ideas that work for me, I hit a dead end. Of course, you will say I have a defeatist attitude, and maybe I do. But the results are always the same - how can I change my attitude when I can't change my circumstances? And that's not a rhetoric question, haha! I'm really asking :)
Susana Smith (author) from UK on September 13, 2014:
So true Hendrika. I love your idea of little retreats!
Hendrika from Pretoria, South Africa on August 07, 2014:
You have very good ideas. I also find going on a retreat is the best for me but unfortunately lately finances have not allowed this. It is difficult to find yourself if you are in a state where every noise and movement irritates you and the only way of getting "quiet" again is a retreat.
Fortunately it is also possible to take "little" retreats by doing something on your own, without anyone with you, even if it is only a cup of coffee in a coffee shop you do not normally go to as it makes it less possible of meeting someone you know and having to greet them and speak to them when you only want to be with your own thoughts.
Tengyal on May 18, 2013:
This article Is truly amazing and enlightening. I learned alot
mdelo on January 31, 2013:
sometimes you get lost being engaged in battle for so long you forget what, who and why you are fighting for. It gets tough when you look up and forgot who and what you are and become what everyone needs to you to be.
Susana Smith (author) from UK on November 14, 2012:
Thanks that really kind of you Ruby :)
Maree Michael Martin from Northwest Washington on an Island on November 06, 2012:
Such a wonderful way to find ourselves. I love the steps you wrote about. The plain and simple way. Really a page I will save when I stumble into depression days. Voted up and shared all over the place. Very useful...thanks..
Ryan on July 05, 2012:
I am going to be 15yrs old this month and I'm getting tired of me not being me
filip on June 12, 2012:
Very nice page it is, keep looking
"Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you." I believe
RITICA on December 15, 2011:
THANKS IT REALLY WORKS
lakshay Gupta on October 11, 2011:
thank u it really helps, i thought i am the only one who feels this way, but i see lots of movies and i believe movies do also help in finding ourselves
me on October 03, 2011:
with this you never know how much you help peolple no matter how big or small it does!!!
fractionstudios on September 27, 2011:
never new lots people felt like i do now ,, well was a nice reading:)
Marilena on September 18, 2011:
Amazing post. You are making such a difference by any small contribution like this one to the world. Thank you.
magin on August 18, 2011:
hey i am 25 years, and i have two kids and i am at a point in my life were ever one is happy but me.I have been looking for books or for something to just tell me were to start to finding myself.If any one can help PLZ do.I feel so lost in life right now.
PS thank you for reading this plz send something back at firstname.lastname@example.org or on facebook as magin campbell
LoosingIt on August 03, 2011:
Very helpful article with plenty of good tips. Thanks. Voted up, useful,and interesting. Good work.
overcomeshyness from USA on July 21, 2011:
Thank you! What a wonderful guide. I'm sure this has helped and will continue to help a lot of people, including myself. :) Best wishes to you.
Neil Sperling from Port Dover Ontario Canada on May 20, 2011:
Some decent tips - jump into the water if you want to swim.
Ez Kay on May 04, 2011:
Very cool and wonderful hub which really made me to reflect on my past.thanks for sharing this.
Mel on April 30, 2011:
would be interesting to see if the age group 21-35 was split up further and whether there is a distinct majority between 28and 30 (saturn returns)!
good look in finding yourselves!
Insight Island on February 24, 2011:
THIS IS SO REMARKABLE AND LOVELY
Zoe Golightly on February 17, 2011:
Wonderful beautifully written and truly inspiring article. I love it so much because I can relate and resonately so deeply with it.
I've just finished making a movie with my spiritual teacher Dr. John-Roger and another mentor and friend Jsu Garcia. The movie is called The Wayshower and is about the search for one's self. One's true self. It's stunning and beautifully filmed, and stars Eric Roberts, Peter Stormare, Jsu Garcia and Sally Kirkland.
Have a look at the trailer: http://bit.ly/twyoutubetrailer. I'm sure you'll be able to relate a lot ... xoxoo Love and Light, Zoe
lalaine on February 04, 2011:
minsan sa sobarang paghahanap mo ng kaligayahan, hindi mo na napapansin na masaya ka naman talaga..naghahanap kalang ng bago at kakaiba.
Red on February 04, 2011:
I am lost and been seeking advice. I hope that I could find myself as soon as possible. Work, studies and family are affected because I could not find myself.
All I see is negative. I don't know what to do with my life. I don't know where to go. I don't like this feeling.
fucsia on November 03, 2010:
Very important topic, probably the most important of all ... And I really like your way to writing. Thanks for sharing!
Rajab Nsubuga from Kampala, Uganda on August 27, 2010:
Great Hub, Susan!
Linda Todd from Charleston on June 25, 2010:
Very nicely said and so important to do. Staying in touch with our real selves is most important in the world we live in. Thank you for sharing this.
Susana Smith (author) from UK on June 25, 2010:
Hi cameciob :) I'm sorry to hear you've been feeling lost but I think working out your priorities will really help you find yourself. Good luck!
Hi Tusitala - Thanks :) I believe in meditation as well as one of the best ways to find oneself by quieting the mind down. Thanks for visiting me :)
Tom Ware from Sydney, Australia on June 25, 2010:
A very well written Hub Susana. I was ferreting around looking for similar travellers and came across it. With me, the urge to 'shed the overcoat' came in my early thirties. It took me until I was almost fifty to discover a 'path' I could really work with (Vipassana Meditation as taught by S.N. Goenka) At seventy-four I'm still going within...and probably will be until I leave Planet Earth.
Once again, great Hub, Susana
cameciob on June 24, 2010:
Hi Susana, I think I'm always lost. I'll try to decide my priorities as it looks like this is my problem. Thanks for this great hub.
Susana Smith (author) from UK on June 23, 2010:
I agree pcunix, it is sad, but there's always a way back (unless it's got to the point of severe mental or physical illness, then the chances are slimmer). You're lucky to have never felt lost :)
Tony Lawrence from SE MA on June 23, 2010:
I've never been lost, but I know too many who are. It's very sad. With so many, it is drugs or alcohol - it just makes me so sad to see people ruin themselves this way.
Susana Smith (author) from UK on June 20, 2010:
Thanks Tony :) Peace to you :)
Tony McGregor from South Africa on June 20, 2010:
I enjoyed this Hub and the poll and I think the contents are really useful. Thanks so much. Bookmarked!
Love and peace
Susana Smith (author) from UK on June 20, 2010:
Hey Cheeky Girl, I always love your comments :) Doing somethiing new is a great way to find ourselves and get out of those chains!
Thank you very much MWNP :) I will do my best!
TheManWithNoPants from Tucson, Az. on June 19, 2010:
Quality of writing: 10!
A perfect score. Keep up the good work!
Cassandra Mantis from UK and Nerujenia on June 16, 2010:
What a lovely hub, Susana! A great hub on how to unlock those chains we often get caught up in, and doing different things that can often release us. I especially love the Anais Nin quotes, she is one of my fave writers ever. "Feel the fear and do it anyway". Rating you up!
Susana Smith (author) from UK on June 14, 2010:
Hey Tatoo :) Thank you. Wishing you every good thing in finding yourself :)
Hi Dallas, it can be a difficult thing to do to find oneself, but I don't think it's ever bad. If there are feelings in there we can't handle we need to get help with them.
Dave Sibole from Leesburg, Oh on June 14, 2010:
Great Hub. Great suggestions.
Dallas W Thompson from Bakersfield, CA on June 13, 2010:
Finding oneself can be good, can be "bad." It is up to us to decide. Some people do not have serenity inside. To become "aware" of their chaos and rage scares them... Great hub. Oftentimes we may not be "aware" of ourselves when we do find us... Most of us have looked external to find "us" internal...
TattoGuy on June 13, 2010:
Just the sort of Hub I need at the moment, I have been trying to find myself for the last year, awesome hub which I have bookmarked to read in more detail later, take care moi friend.
Susana Smith (author) from UK on June 13, 2010:
Hi and thanks Katie :) Finding the peaceful place inside and not forgetting it, is a great way to to live.
Katie McMurray from Ohio on June 12, 2010:
Very cool title, I make it a practice to always follow peace and forunately have not been lost. This is a very powerful tool many will benefit from. I love it and adhere to the practices. You've created a very well written guide as to how to find yourself. I will share this important message with my peeps. Peace :)
Susana Smith (author) from UK on June 12, 2010:
Thanks Putz Bullard and Hello Hello :)
Susana Smith (author) from UK on June 12, 2010:
Hi Apostle Jack - I agree, yet we still have the ability to get lost in the physical world even when we know this.
Hey Ella :) What a wonderful surprise to have you visit my hub! I just had a feeling I should post it on Facebook and maybe that's why - you needed to read it. You're smart - very smart, and I know you are going to do great things. Love you too xx
Susana Smith (author) from UK on June 12, 2010:
Hi Green Lotus :) Many thanks for your kind comments and linking back to me!
Hey JayJay - It really is a good thing to realise you've become lost - it's the not realising that is dangerous. You now have an opportunity to find yourself - go do it!
Hello, hello, from London, UK on June 12, 2010:
Great writing and wonderful hub with many thought provoking ideas and advice. Thank you.
Putz Ballard on June 12, 2010:
Beautiful hub with some wonderful insights
Ella (your daughter) on June 12, 2010:
I sometimes forget how amazing you are Mum. Such a clever lady you are! One day maybe i'll be just as smart as you! I don't often read your blog things but this caught my eye (yeah not really been feeling like me lately) and it helped.
Love you xx
Apostle Jack from Atlanta Ga on June 12, 2010:
We are Celestial Spirits within Terrestrial bodies.
That is my discovery of our existence in this
jayjay40 from Bristol England on June 12, 2010:
Wonderful hub, made me reflect on my own life and how lost I am.
Hillary from Atlanta, GA on June 12, 2010:
You have done it again Susana. This is great advice, beautiful told. Rated up too. I will add a link from my hub, Rediscovering Innocence for Positive Change.