You can feel it coming on before it actually happens....the diminishing of your senses, a gradual chipping of your feelings and emotions. It's a sense of longing that makes you feel both emptier and heavier at the same time. But you push the feeling away, telling yourself that ignoring it will help it pass. "It'll fade you say". "Just give it some time". "It'll go away". But it doesn't. All of a sudden; days, weeks, or maybe even months later; it hits you. Maybe you're in class thinking about all the homework you have to do. Maybe you're at a party with friends. Maybe you're curled up in bed watching tv. Maybe you're on the phone talking to mom and dad. Whatever you're doing and wherever you are when it happens, you'll come to the reality of: This is it... this isn't the person I want to be. I need to work on things. I need to make changes. I'm depressed. I don't know who I am anymore. I'm lost. And that chilling conclusion will make you rethink everything you once thought.
When we think we've lost ourselves, it tends to mean something else. It might mean we've discovered a part of ourselves that doesn't necessarily match up with the image we've created or how we want others to see us. It might mean that our lives are changing faster than we have the chance to reflect on them. It might mean that we feel stuck or that something is missing. And it might even mean that we are afraid to be who we know we truly are. We drown in our not knowing. Courage is then tested in the unknown or the feeling of being lost. As you step into your deep end, and life forces you to start swimming, swim. Don't sit in shallow water with your old self. The courage is in the swimming. You practice courage by leaning into the unknown and being okay with it, and instead of focusing on your swim, focus on everything you know how to do and who you're learning to be. And when you're there, you'll trust your path and be curious about the unfolding. Self-discovery requires getting lost. That's how we learn about ourselves, who we are, who were meant to be, and where we're supposed to go. That's how we become. If life went exactly as we planned or wanted, we wouldn't change because we wouldn't need to.
Life is lived in the mess. The falling. The breaking. The failing. The drowning. The standing up. The dusting off. The shine is not life. That's the reflection of hard work and determination. Life is the journey there and it's full of twists and turns. If you feel lost, know that this is the process and you're on your journey. To explore. To learn. To change. So let go of whatever it is holding you back. Take chances. Be brave. Stay curious, and always be courageous. Learn to move, because if you're moving, you're alive and if you're alive, you're on your journey.
If you feel like you don't know who you are anymore, it's important to take time to focus on yourself. Let yourself be alone and give in to what you need. Catch up on sleep, dive back into a hobby, do that thing you've always wanted to do but never had the time for. Go outside. Hangout with friends and catch up with old ones. And most importantly, let go of all the "shoulds." Let go of who you think you should be or what you think you should be doing. Let go of how far you think you need to go. Set aside time to be alone so you can acknowledge what you're feeling and let yourself feel it. Emotions help us realize what is out of balance in our lives, and once you get to the reasoning behind feeling lost, you will figure out what it will take to balance everything out and feel found again.
Each time we feel like we lose ourselves, it can sometimes be a wake up call that makes us realize that we may need to make some changes in our lives. We know what we need and what we want, but outside forces influence our decisions. Sometimes it's necessary to strip these forces from us for a bit to remind us what's really going on in our heads. If you're struggling to find yourself, the best thing you can do is stop being afraid of who you think you'll find. Embrace who you are in the current moment. Accept who you are and love yourself enough to give yourself what you need. If you don't like something about yourself, you have the power to work on it or learn to accept it. We aren't supposed to be the same for our whole lives. We are supposed to learn, change, and grow. If we try to suppress this change, we won't just lose ourselves; we will also lose opportunities to experience new things and become better people.