“People often say that this or that person has not yet found himself. But the self is not something one finds, it is something one creates.” –Thomas Szasz
Have you ever felt lost? Do you feel lost right now with no direction? We have all been there and it’s not a pleasant feeling.
Feeling lost can be terrifying, nerve-wracking and yet eye-opening all at the same time.
Recently I went on a hike, the first of the summer. It started out great and then we took a wrong turn. Before we knew it, we were lost deep in the woods. It had already been 45 minutes and I was starting to lose my patience.
If things couldn’t get any worse I encountered a snake (my first time seeing one) which set me over the edge. I panicked and freaked out. I was extremely emotional and had a serious anxiety attack. I felt so out of control and lost. I wondered if we would ever get out of the woods and thoughts of being stuck or worse, death crossed my mind.
Eventually we found our way out of the woods by an entrance nowhere close to where we initially started. It was quite an experience and I learned some profound truths about being lost that day.
1. Control- The first thing about being lost is loss of control. You feel as if you have no control over anything and everything you have tried has failed. It is out of your hands.
So what DO you have control over? Yourself. It is easy to panic or listen to our irrational fears and thoughts. But it does nothing. It only makes the situation and circumstance feel worse.
Having control over your own thoughts and approach will lighten the load. You may not have the answer immediately to which direction to take but you can use your wise mind to make more rational and intuitive decisions.
Never make an impulsive decision when feeling lost. Making impulse decisions only add to the fears and lack of control you are experiencing. It is best to wait and go through the experience with a wiser awareness and approach before making a decision.
2. Direction- One of the worst feelings about being lost is not knowing what path to take, feeling directionless or afraid that you will take the wrong path and miss out on something.
Being lost in the woods taught me that while we didn’t end up finishing where we started I was still on a path to somewhere. The unknown can be scary, extremely scary. Knowing what to expect creates a sense of safety. Safety is important but sometimes it prevents us from growing and going outside of our comfort zones.
The path you take may not be the one you hoped or anticipated but nevertheless it will teach you great things. It will lead you to places within that you may need to face or deal with. There is no right or wrong path. There may be detours or setbacks but these are also a part of the journey.
If everything we experienced came easily we may not understand certain human truths including empathy, compassion or trust.
3. Facing Inner Truths- Sometimes it takes being lost to really find yourself and realize who you really are. You discover what makes you stronger and your own inner critic gets silenced. You experience an awakening and a deeper wisdom that perhaps wasn’t there before. It is okay to be lost. It is okay to feel alone in the experience. Just know it’s not a permanent experience or feeling.
“Nothing in life is permanent, not even our troubles.”
Listen to your inner voice and allow the unknown to guide you to your next destination.