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21 Steps to Find Yourself When You’ve Lost Your Way & Feel Hopeless

At some point in life, you might wonder whether you’ve lost your way. Don’t worry, it’s normal. But, here’s how to find yourself once more. 

how to find yourself

A breakup, the loss of a loved one, career failure, and financial difficulties, these are just some life events that make anyone feel helpless and lost in life. When a person is in their life’s lowest point, getting back up takes some time and proves to be difficult. Learning how to find yourself isn’t easy but it’s the single best way to give yourself a sense of self and direction once more.

And if left to fester, that sense of helplessness makes a person vulnerable to further isolation and depression. Take action before it gets to that point. [Read: How to reclaim power over your life and overcome your insecurities]

How to know when you need to find yourself

Learning how to find yourself is one of the most rewarding parts of life, but one of the more challenging parts is recognizing when it is necessary.

Feeling “stuck” is a sign you need a change of pace. Usually, this means you strayed from who you truly are. You need to begin the task of finding yourself once more. If possible, you can also start to improve your position and move toward the things you really want in life.

This could happen after the death of a loved one or a failed career move, or maybe after a physical move to a new city. Whatever it is, a big change in life often leads to feeling lost and insecure.

The feeling is different for all of us. Once you tune into yourself and recognize that feeling, you never need to worry about it again. You immediately notice when you start to stray off your path and begin the journey to find yourself once more. [Read: How to overcome the things that keep you stuck]

How to find yourself when you feel lost

Trust in the fact that your true self is still inside of you somewhere. They aren’t gone forever. It takes some work to find your roots, but rest assured that you will get there.

Repeat this process to find yourself time and time again but knowing who you are is something very valuable. Nobody can ever take that away from you. Never fear the process. Each time you find yourself again, you find new and exciting parts that you didn’t know existed before.

Life is all about rediscovering who you are as part of this big, wide world. [Read: 25 self-discovery questions to bring you closer to learning who you are]

1. Reconnect with your roots

Go back to square one, where it all began. That means something different for everybody. Who or what makes you feel like your truest form of yourself? This is usually where your values stem from, which, for a lot of people, means their family.

But for others, it could mean God, nature, an old friend, or in their childhood home. Whatever it is for you, reconnect with that piece of you. [Read: How to get your life back on track after a big change]

2. Reflect on who you are today

Would six-year-old you be proud? We hear this question a lot, but if you really sit down and reflect on it, you may be surprised at the answer.

Life is ever-evolving, and so are we. You will change, and that’s okay, but your roots should stay the same.

Think about who you used to be, in the purest state of your life as a child. Were you loud and confident, but now ashamed and afraid of expressing yourself? Did you use to be conservative and quiet, and now feel like you need to be obnoxious to be heard? Always revert back to six-year-old you when finding yourself. [Read: How to heal and find your inner happiness again]

3. Do you enjoy spending time with yourself?

You spend a lot of time with yourself in your lifetime. In fact, you are who you will spend the most time with. You should really consider this fact when you say and do things.

At the end of the day, can you sit alone in a room with yourself and enjoy the present company? If the answer is no, it’s time to find yourself, because you’ve lost your way somewhere along the line. The goal is to enjoy the quiet spaces between the busyness of life.

4. Learn how to meditate

This is a rather eccentric idea to some, but when it comes to knowing how to find yourself but it works. There are proven benefits of meditation, and it really is an excellent tool in the journey to finding your true self. If you can’t enjoy time spent with yourself, then nobody else can either.

Learn to appreciate your own thoughts and find direction through meditation. This is a great way to make life’s hardest decision seem like a walk in the park. Through meditation, you clear up the foggiest paths in your life at the present moment. [Read: 29 ways to deal with insecurity and feel magnificent]

5. Invest time in yourself

You can spend the rest of your life investing in high-profile businesses, but if you don’t invest in yourself, you will be the poorest person on earth. Again, you’re stuck with you, so you really need to make it mean something.

Take 30 minutes at the end of each day and devote it to yourself. Read a book, write in a journal, shut off your phone, drink tea, whatever you need to feel like yourself.

Allow yourself to be selfish for 30 minutes each day, because we all know that the rest of the day is spent taking care of everyone around you. Maybe that’s exactly why you lost yourself in the first place—you didn’t cherish the person looking at you in the mirror. [Read: How to focus on yourself – 27 ways to create your own sunshine again]

6. Get outside and enjoy nature

Some say that they are at their purest form when they are surrounded by nature. Leave the phone at home for one day and hit the trails. Bring your dog or a friend with you. Go for a hike, and bring a picnic with you.

Go alone, or with friends, but regardless, get outside and breathe in the fresh air. It won’t do you any harm, we promise. [Read: How to be chill and learn to live a happier life as a result]

7. Read self-improvement books

We know this is super 90’s, and seems like a cry for help, but there are countless books that are genuinely helpful for those who have lost their way.

There is an entire section at most bookstores devoted to understanding how to find yourself. Clearly, people are buying these books! Don’t be ashamed to buy or read these books, because they could change your life. [Read: 21 easy and positive mantras that will transform your life]

8. Write it out

Every counselor on the face of the planet tells you to “write about your feelings.” You probably put on a half-hearted grin and say “okay.”

We all know you will write on the first page of a journal then leave it on your bedside table untouched for weeks. It’s not a popular tactic, because talking about our problems isn’t something we like to do.

If you want to truly understand how to find yourself, dig deeper. Figure out why you are lost in the first place, and writing is genuinely a wonderful way to do this. Yes, it’s hard, we’re not going to lie to you. But all things in life worth doing, aren’t easy things to do.

9. Unplug

Technology has been a huge obstacle in our lives, let’s just be honest. Social media is crowded with negative interactions that literally drain you of your energy. It’s so easy to get lost in the online world, because we only show the world the parts of us that we genuinely like.

We lose the parts of ourselves that nobody claps for, but those are still part of us. Each and every part of us, makes us who we are. We can’t just throw away the parts we don’t like.

Unplug from social media and technology in general for a little while, and completely immerse yourself in real-life conversations with people who appreciate every part of you. [Read: Social media detox – 13 ways to wean yourself off social media]

10. Make a change

We know we said that drastic life changes lead to us feeling lost, but sometimes change is what we need to pull us out of that state.

If you feel like you just go through the motions then chances are you aren’t living up to your full potential. Change is a good thing, embrace it. Change might be exactly what you need to find yourself again. [Read: How to change your life – 12 steps for a dramatic life-makeover]

11. Call your “person”

Sometimes, we freak out for nothing. We think our lives are falling apart before our eyes, when really things are falling into place. We all have that person that tells us like it is. Whoever that person is for you, call them and tell them what’s going on.

Before long, they remind you that you are a strong person who is freaking out over nothing, and everything is going to be okay. Sometimes we just need to hear that things are going to be okay. [Read: How to feel good about yourself and kickass in life]

12. It’s okay to take a break

When a person goes through a difficult time, it is natural to seek a change of scenery. Not only to clear the mind, but also to take some time to think about recent events and how to deal with it in the future. If you learn to take a mental health vacation, go ahead and do so.

Some people travel, while some just stay at home and relax. Either way, you do yourself a favor by giving yourself some breathing space to recover from emotional stress. [Read: A guide for that moment when you feel like you have no idea what to do with your life]

13. Accept that failure is a fact of life

Some people cruise through life trying to avoid failure. When it happens, they get hit pretty hard by it. Failure is indeed a hard thing to swallow. It’s painful.

It reminds us all the efforts we put into something have all been for naught. It is important to know failure is a fact of life. It will always be a possibility whatever our plans are.

Avoiding failure is unrealistic and takes a mental toll on you sooner or later. What we need is to embrace the possibility that we can fail either by our own doing or from forces beyond our control. Once you lose your fear of failing, your horizons expand, and you will be free to do whatever you want. [Read: 20 positive ways to embrace life in the now]

14. Know that when things go wrong, new opportunities are created

Aside from its inevitability, failure should also be seen as an opportunity for learning. Experiencing failure is painful.

From the pain and the process of getting back up, you learn something and become a better person. Changing your perspective on failure helps you deal with it better and embrace it as a part of becoming a better person.

15. What did you enjoy or feel inspired by?

Adulting sucks. Most of the time people set aside their dreams and hobbies to give time for those adult responsibilities that drain the life and motivation out of them. If the normal adult life has you feeling lost, it’s time to pay those little dreams and passions of yours a little visit.

Who knows, maybe the things you do for fun will lead you to a more successful and contented life. When feeling lost, retreat back to the simple things that made your life interesting and worth living. [Read: 13 happy things you need for a perfectly happy life]

16. Explore new things

Not only does it help you take your mind off the stressful and boring aspects of life, but it also helps you discover a new passion.

Feeling lost usually brings the urge to try new things. So go crazy and try everything. If your choice doesn’t work out, move on to the next until you find your calling. You might not realize, but many successful people had a different job prior to reaching their current vocation.

17. Make a list and start ticking things off

A list helps you keep track of all your life backlogs, especially when you’re trying to understand how to find yourself again. It allows you to take note of small victories you accomplished for the day.

Your list doesn’t have to exclusively include your serious long-term life goals. It could include simple tasks that you should do during the day or even silly things to try for a long time.

Making a list helps you keep track of your goals and accomplishments. Seeing those “to do” items get checked off gives you a sense of satisfaction and control. [Read: How to motivate yourself to do pretty much anything in life]

18. Detox your life of negative people

People have an indirect influence on a person’s state of mind, their motivation, and energy levels, as well as their worldview.

Surrounding yourself with people who lack goals and ambition or just spend their day badmouthing the efforts of others has a negative effect on your life attitude.

In order to find your true self, cut yourself from people like these. Instead, surround yourself with people who inspire you to grow. [Read: How to stop negative people from sapping your energy]

19. Stop comparing your success to that of other people

When you base your success on the achievements of other people, you lose satisfaction with life. You set unrealistic goals or take a path ill-suited to achieving your own personal goals.

Other people might live the “good life” according to your imagination but know that while they have something you don’t, you currently enjoy one aspect of life that they will never experience. Define what success really means to you, and work your individual way towards that success.

20. Develop a routine

A routine does wonders when you’re trying to figure out how to find yourself again after a low point.

First, it gives you a sense of purpose without having to think of what to do next. And second, a routine makes accomplishing things a habit, avoiding procrastination, and helps you get things done everyday. [Read: How to reveal your life’s true passions]

21. Don’t be afraid to ask for advice

Feeling lost? Nothing beats the old way of asking for advice from someone who went through the same ordeal and came out successfully.

Listening to people’s advice may not give you the answer you need, but it provides you a different perspective on how other people found themselves given their own personal circumstances.

However, remember doing the exact thing they did may not work the same for you. The lessons they learned and their experience gives you an insight into finding yourself after a crisis. [Read: 19 life quotes to motivate you to live a better life]

Learning how to find yourself may be trial and error

What works for you may not work for someone else. Similarly, what works for them might not give you the results you’re after.

Learning how to find yourself is a little like trial and error – you have to try many different things before you hit the right blend. But, with perseverance comes results. 

Once you find yourself once more, pat yourself on the back and learn from the experience. It may be the last time you ever have to go through this experience, or it may not be, but either way, you know what to do now. 

[Read: 16 things you have to give up to have a truly happier life]

It’s normal if you feel lost sometimes, but just remember that it is always possible to learn how to find yourself when you lose your way, and get back to who you really are.

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Vinod Srinivas Serai
Vin Serai
Vin Serai is the founder of LovePanky.com, and has delved deep into the working of love and relationships for almost two decades. Having dipped his feet in almo...