Here are a few lessons I learned when I lost myself:
1. It is OK to not be OK.
Everyone goes through periods where they lose focus, lose motivation, or lose sight of who they are, whether they want to admit it or not. It took me a very long time to admit it when it happened to me, let alone to be able to write about it now. This is a sore subject for most people. No one wants to admit they don't have their sh*t together. However, life happens. Sometimes life hits us with a large wave of chaos and we get carried off with the tide, derailing our original game plan. We must pick up the pieces of our life and draft up new plans. This is also an opportunity to engineer a new and improved version of ourselves to present to the world. Let me be the first to tell you, it is OK to get lost. It is OK to not be OK. It is OK to feel like you don't recognize the person staring back at you in the mirror. It is OK to desire to find yourself again, or reinvent yourself, but not know where to start. When you're lost, this cannot happen overnight. Do not rush this process. Take your time and try to navigate your way through the confusion. I promise you will find your way. Just know, we've all been there, and it is OK. Those who haven't experienced this, will at some point in their lifetime. If anything, be thankful you've experienced this earlier. This just means you're more prepared than everyone else. You've been given the tools to handle it better if the wave rolls around a second time. For those of you who turn to religion in these hard times, "God is faithful and will not let you be tried beyond your strength; but with the trial, he will also provide a way out, so that you may be able to bear it" (1 Corinthians 10:13). This is just reassurance that you have more strength inside you than you're aware of, and you can, in fact, endure what's given to you, even when it seems impossible at times. Trust this journey. Trust the obstacles and lessons that cross your path, in hopes that they better your future.
2. Take your time.
As stated previously, do not rush the process. When it comes to change, progress, and growth, we often seek immediate gratification. However, these are gradual processes by nature. Therefore, we cannot expect results overnight. Do not stress yourself out or beat yourself up because you haven't made any progress immediately. Create goals and give yourself an appropriate amount of time to achieve them. Be kind and gracious with yourself. If you don't end up meeting those goals in the time you wanted, extend the length of time and keep pushing for that goal. You are worth it. That change and growth IS worth it. Do not stop fighting. Do not give up or become defeated.
On another note, take this time to spend some time by yourself too. Although it is important to have a group of supportive people to lean on, alone time is just as important for your mental and emotional health. Take time to explore, improve, rest, and recharge. Take time to sort through your feelings and thoughts, rather than continuing to run from them or bury them. According to Amanda Richardson and an abundance of research, alone time is good for us! Solitude can be a time to not only recharge and boost creativity, but it also can increase intimacy in your relationships. Spending time alone can be the best time to self-evaluate or re-assess situations or relationships in your life. Take this into consideration and adjust your schedule accordingly. Make time for yourself!
3. Remove all toxic and negative relationships from your life.
Whether things are flourishing or going haywire in your life, anyone you have a toxic relationship with will find a way to make everything about them. These relationships, whether romantic, platonic, or familial, will drain the life out of you. Do not be afraid to put yourself and your needs first, by cutting this negativity out of your life. It is OK to put yourself first sometimes, even if that means removing people from your life. As hard as this is, I promise you will notice a difference. If you already have your own life crisis going on, why do you also need someone, who's supposed to be supporting you, raining on your parade? Or stabbing you in the back? Or making your life more difficult than it needs to be? The answer is you don't. That is added stress on your plate. Choose to surround yourself with positive, supportive, encouraging, and uplifting people. Choose people who see your heart and soul, but also have your best interest in mind. You need a good support system no matter what's going on in your life, so choose wisely. Surrounding yourself with the right friends, family, and significant other is crucial to your overall well-being.
Another thing to note is that there may be relationships in your life that aren't toxic or negative but have simply changed and no longer serve a purpose to you anymore. Evaluate what purpose these people bring to your life and if they are worth saving.
4. Believe in yourself and your potential.
If you ever want to achieve your goals and dreams in life, you have to believe in yourself. Self-evaluate, know your strengths, know your weaknesses, know exactly what it is you bring to the table, and go after what you desire most. It really is that simple. However, your self-confidence is where that process gets its fuel. You must be confident in yourself and your abilities to do this. If you cannot do that quite yet, that is OK. Take the time to become confident and accepting of these things. This comes with getting to know yourself and accepting who you are as a person. Again, self-growth and success are not overnight processes.
5. Ask for help.
This one is extremely difficult for me, even to this day. I often like to think I am superwoman and do not need anyone's help. However, I have been in a situation where my world is falling apart, and I had no choice but to ask for help. So, take it from someone who's been there. Do not wait until things get so out of hand that you don't know where to start to patch things back together. Ask for help when you feel them slipping from your grasp, or even just give someone a heads up that you're struggling. My point is, do not be afraid to let people in and let them help you. Whether you're feeling embarrassed, or scared, or ashamed, those who love you aren't going to look at you differently, in the harsh light you're viewing yourself. So, let them help you and get you back up on your feet.
6. Live your life, with zero regrets.
Every day we wake up and draw a breath on this earth is a gift, please remember this. Not only that, but that gift can be ripped from your hands in seconds. Therefore, live your life. I don't mean to go through the motions, do what you have to do, what everyone else wants you to do, what someone else tells you to do every day, etc. I mean live the life you desire to live every single day of the year. Life is too short to live a life that you don't love with every fiber in your being. That is the truth. Every single one of us came into this world with absolutely nothing, and guess what? We're leaving with NOTHING too. So, if I just blew your mind, if you just had a come-to-Jesus-moment... honey, get your priorities straight! Start focusing on the things that actually matter in life. Focus on love, happiness, growth, and whatever brings you the most satisfaction in life. Why live a life you aren't satisfied with? What, because you're making six figures? Congrats. Are you happy? Are you fulfilled? Do you have everything you ever wanted? Please ask yourself these questions. Live every day as if it's is your last and make your days count because in all honestly our days are numbered on this earth. Don't get me wrong, I'm far from an extremist. I'm not telling you not to plan, budget, save, and chase your career goals. That's not what I'm saying at all. I'm saying, don't lose sight of the things that matter most and ultimately will bring you true happiness. Make sure that you love what you're doing in life, you love the person you're with, and that you've checked off that bucket list. This looks different for every person. Evaluate what you want out of life and chase those things, ensuring that when you do leave this earth, you are fulfilled with no regrets.