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How to rediscover yourself after being lost for so long

Inside: Reasons you may be feeling lost in life and how to find yourself once again.

I’d left the house that morning and as usual, it had been a blur of coats and bags and “have you got your shoes on yet?“. I’d packed the kids off to school and wandered into town with the baby to run a few errands.

I can clearly remember it like it was yesterday, not because anything dramatic happened (because my life really wasn’t all that exciting) but because as I was wandering along I realised that I was lost.

Not lost in the sense of being somewhere unknown, but lost in the most awful way possible.

I didn’t know what I was doing. I didn’t know who I was. I wasn’t happy anymore.

When you lose all sense of self and more importantly you realise that you’ve lost all sense of self, you can quickly spiral downwards.

Signs you may be lost

I don’t know about you, but I love to Google symptoms for things to work out whether I have ‘the thing‘ or not.

If you are reading this, please know that there is a way back. You can find yourself again and I hope that this post will go some ways to helping you get there.

So, here are some of the feelings I felt back then. Feelings that ultimately made me realise that I had lost myself.

Hopelessness

Lack of interest in anything

Self neglect

It is important to note that these are also some of the symptoms of depression.

If you have these plus the symptoms below then it is important you go to the doctor to investigate further. Depression is nothing to be ashamed about, it is just an imbalance of hormones that need setting right.

Increased fatigue

Irritability

Anxiety

Changes in appetite

Uncontrollable emotions

Reasons you may be feeling lost

It is important that we understand why we lose ourselves before we try to change anything. We need to know the root cause so that we can put motions in place to try and stop ourselves falling straight back into the same situation.

Negative self talk. Do you constantly talk down to yourself? Criticise your every move? If you are mean to yourself then before too long your self esteem and confidence will be gone. This will leave you feeling as though you have no place at all.

Not knowing your purpose in life. Do you feel unfulfilled? Do you feel as though you are drifting along each day with no idea where you are heading? This is so common – you are most definitely not alone.

Giving too much of yourself to others (at the expense of yourself). Common among mothers as they spend their days giving to their children until one day they realise they’ve neglected themselves.

Overwhelm. We have so much to do and so very little time to do it. The world moves at such a fast pace with deadlines, endless to-do lists and schedules fit to burst.

Listening to others (their opinions on what you should be doing). Do you place too much value on what other people think of you? Have you gone along with things because you didn’t want to let people down?

Dissatisfaction in your job – straying away from your happy path. Money is a key driver in the way we live our lives. We work work work so that we can have a better life, while all the while creating a miserable existence for ourselves.

How to find yourself again

The fact you are reading this means you have already done the hard part – you’ve recognised that you are lost.

Many many people spend years lost without even realising it. They keep wandering deeper into the woods and have no idea that they are straying further and further from the path that would bring them happiness.

Owning and accepting the point in life that you find yourself in is the first step. But don’t dwell on it, what’s done is done, it is now time to find the way back to being who you are meant to be.

Who are you?

Take a good look in the mirror. Who do you see?

For me, it was like looking at a stranger. I’d totally let myself go and I had no identity at all besides ‘I am a mother“. Which, of course, is a very important part of my life but not the sum total of my existence.

Write a list of all of the elements that make you, you right now in this moment. Whether they make you happy or not is not the point right now. It is important to accept who you are now before you can move forward.

Are you a mother?
A wife?
A colleague?
A frump in the way you dress?
Overweight?
A grump?

The biggest thing I found from writing my list was that I didn’t know what made me happy. I couldn’t think of any hobbies or treats that I enjoyed that made me me. It was a big eye-opener.

When was the last time you were happy?

I happened to be reading a book by Giovanna Fletcher called “Some Kind Of Wonderful” and in it, the character gets dumped by her long term boyfriend. She realises that she’s spent years being ‘his girlfriend’ and has lost all sense of who she is.

My circumstances were entirely different but I really resonated with her.

In the book, she writes a list of everything that used to make her happy before she was with him and it inspired me to do the same.

Think of a time when you were truly happy.

For me it was when I was 18, freshly moved out of home and able to be exactly who I wanted to be. For you, it may be when you were younger than that still!

Now take yourself back and write down everything that made you happy at that point in your life.

For me it was:

Singing
Listening to Britney Spears and Christina Aquilera on LOUD
Fashion
Seeing friends
Having my own space
Reading
Dancing
Being free
Being with my boyfriend (my now husband)
Being thin

But it is essential to look at what made us happy in the past so that we can look at where it all went wrong, so to speak.

Now you may look at those and think “wow she was very materialistic” and you’d probably be right. I was, after all, 18 years old with not a worry in the world.

What can you bring forward into your life now?

Look at your list and for each item that you’d still like to do now, move that item into a new list. A wish list of sorts.

For me, that was pretty much everything. I realised that I missed doing all of the things on my list because over the years I had stopped doing them all. I’d given up my entire self to become an employee, a wife and a mother.

The problem had been that I stopped placing value on my own needs.

Start making time for you!

Once you have your list, use this as a starting point. The baby steps to finding yourself again.

I started listening to music while I cleaned the house. I started following people on Instagram that had great style to give myself inspiration on how to dress again. I started reading again. Just little things to make me feel like the old me again.

Look to the future

Now, it is all very well looking to the past for inspiration but I must stress that it is just a springboard to get you feeling better and in control again.

Finding yourself isn’t about going back to the old you really, it is about thinking about who you want to be in the future.

One of the biggest reasons people lose themselves is due to a lack of purpose. They have spent so much time being this, that or the other to everyone else in their lives that they lose sight of who they want to be.

Close your eyes and picture yourself in 5 years time as you would like yourself to be.

What do you look like?
What hair do you have?
What clothes do you wear?
Who are your friends?
How do you spend your days?

Don’t dream small here. Don’t think about how this relates to today at all. Dream big. What does your ideal life look like?


Obviously, I don’t mean “I’ll have won the lottery and be living in a mansion with a pool” as let’s be honest, we would all love that but putting our hopes and dreams onto a winning lottery ticket is a little of a stretch.


Mine looks like this:

I look in the mirror and am happy with my body. I go to my wardrobe each morning and have clothes that make me feel good. I have lovely friends that I can talk to about everything. We go out every now and then to dance the night away. My days are spent at home, making our house homely. I live in a house that fits our family. It is bright and spacious. I love my job. I get to help women all over the world. Etc etc…

Becoming who you want to be

With an end goal in sight, it is like being able to finally put an address into a sat nav and pressing start. You have a destination, you just need to start the journey.

Start doing more of what you love. The list you made – do more of those things. Love dancing? Join a dance class. Love reading? Go to bed half an hour earlier every night and get reading.

Surround yourself with positive people (online and in real life). Someone once told me “if you are the most positive person in the room, you’re in the wrong room”.

If you are surrounded by negative people or people that make you feel negative in any way, you need to remove them (or at least limit them) from your life.

When you are surrounded by positivity you will be raised up and inspired to live a more positive life.

Try new things. Try new hobbies, give every experience a try. You never know, you may discover a love of baking cakes and want to make something more of it. At the very least, you’ll bring more joy into your life.

Get organised. Everything always feels better with a list. Start each day with a list of things that need doing. Then, take the list and order it from most to least important. This is your must do list. Focus on that, the rest will follow. I have a list of 50 ways to get organised for you here.

Look after your body. You only get one, so treat it well. Fill it with foods that will give it nutrients it needs and move it in a way that gets the blood pumping.

This doesn’t mean diets – it means knowing that balance is key. Enjoy that cupcake or takeaway pizza but balance it out with plenty of fruit.

It doesn’t mean pumping iron at the gym (unless you want to of course). It could be dancing around the living room. It could be running around the garden with the kids.

Live in the moment. How often do you get to the end of the day and have no idea where it went? We spend so much of our time on autopilot that we drift along without paying attention to the little things.

Be present where you stand. Whatever you are doing, be completely present. Whether it is reading your kids a bedtime story or cooking dinner, enjoy the process. It is all part of our life.

Journal and reflect. Keeping a journal is a little bit like writing letters to a friend. The more you write, the more you get to know them and the more you open up.

Opening up allows you to delve inside your mind and figure out what is working and what isn’t. It helps you to reflect on the days, the weeks, the months and see where you are heading.


Remember, this is your life. You are in control of how you live it. You just need to sit up and pay attention.


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