If you’re feeling lost in life, you’re not alone, especially if you belong to the younger generation.
More than ever people are disconnected from reality and caught up in a fantasy world where everything appears perfect. Everybody seems happy, everybody seems to be living their dream, to be successful, to be making money and to be having fun while they do it.
The reality is anything but the case. Talking to a couple of university lecturers, I found that young people are more than ever crippled by anxiety and depression. Young people are feeling lost in life and are struggling to cope with reality.
‘Why Do I Feel Lost in Life and What Should I Do about It?’
1. You Are Chasing the Wrong Things
This virtual insanity in which we live is causing us to lose sight of what’s important in life. New studies by The Royal Society for Public Health and the charity Young Health Movement show that Instagram, Snapchat, and Facebook are having a more negative than positive effect on our mental health.
Those media that rely heavily on images are having a harmful effect on body image, and are causing people to suffer from a constant fear of missing out. This kind of media is causing young people to waste time that could otherwise be spent focusing on how to achieve lasting self-worth and contentment.
It scatters their attention so they’re constantly thinking about trivial things. They obsess about sculpting a better body, getting better clothes, partying harder, doing drugs, and generally impressing people in superficial ways.
It distracts them from the actual sources of happiness in life. Happiness is not dependent on what other people think of you, and what people think of you should never dictate your life.
- Even when you know the truth about what’s going on with these media, it can be difficult to prevent yourself from falling into the trap of buying into the illusion again and again.
- Be mindful at all times of what the reality is and give yourself a shake whenever you start to feel inadequate because of an image you see on the internet.
2. You Are Afraid of a Difficult Change
Why are you feeling lost in life? It can often be because what you’re currently doing is not the right fit for your personality.
I’ve been through this myself. I spent three years in a position of employment which was totally wrong for me. No one wants to be a quitter though. I felt like I should try to adapt to the job because there must be something wrong with me.
But I just couldn’t do it. Doing this job not only went against my disposition but against my values and ethics. I didn’t believe in what I was doing, so how could I be good at it?
As time went on, I became more depressed and angry, but every day, I felt less and less equipped to do anything else. I was truly feeling lost in life. It was only when I took the chance on a new start that I realized that my fears were unfounded.
- When you realize that what you’re doing goes against what you believe in, search for something else.
- If you’re not sure of what you want, get something temporary until your self-esteem gets back to normal and work out what you want from there.
- Don’t allow your fear to paralyze you. If you’re miserable, you’ve got absolutely nothing to lose by taking a chance.
3. You Have Unrealistic Expectations
It’s really important that we have a realistic view of what we can expect from life and the fact that we don’t is another problem caused by capitalism and the media through which it works.
For a long time now, those people who are trying to make a profit out of us have been stoking our desires with images or beauty, happiness, and perfection. They make us feel inadequate and convince us that we want or need something in order to increase our status. They then sell us something to fulfill a desire they themselves created.
This has constructed a society where (1) people have an unrealistic idea of how happy and prosperous their lives should be, and (2) everyone is looking for a quick-fix solution to their problems.
- Look at the world as it really is. Don’t let their tricks fool you and realize how much you really have and how to best make the most of it.
- Think for yourself and don’t let them manipulate you into being a good consumer and miserable human being.
4. You Aren’t Disciplined Enough
One of the symptoms of a lack of discipline is feeling lost in life. People who can’t cope with the discomfort of applying themselves consistently to difficult tasks eat away at their own self-esteem.
Having discipline means being mindful enough to withstand some deprivation of transient pleasure in the present to focus on creating a lasting sense of fulfillment in the future. Hedonism is the ideology promoted by corporations and profit-seekers as it makes you consume. The media encourage us not to resist temptation and try to trip us up at every turn.
- Always stay conscious of what your long-term goal is and what it takes to achieve it.
- In the face of temptation, don’t think about the temporary pleasure it will give you. Think about the regret and shame you’ll feel for betraying yourself.
- Stay away particularly from any drugs that dissolve your defenses. They put you on a conveyor belt of pleasure-seeking that wastes time and gets you further away from your goals.
5. You Worry Too Much and Act Too Little
Anxious people procrastinate and procrastination increases anxiety. When you feel anxiety and fear of the future, it cripples you into inaction. Thus, some of the most intelligent and capable people sabotage themselves over and over in life by giving in to anxiety and fear.
You end up spending so much time worrying about things that you leave yourself with virtually no time and energy to do them. This means you underperform and prevent yourself from making any progress in life. It eats away at your self-esteem and feeds your anxiety. It ends up becoming a vicious cycle.
- Try to remain in control of your thoughts and emotions.
- Question your thought process: are your fears rational? Do you interpret situations in negative ways that have no basis in reality?
- If you’re really having trouble getting your anxiety under control, a course of cognitive behavioral therapy can really help.
6. You Are Living Your Life for Someone Else
Do you ever have a feeling that you are living a life that is meant for someone else? Like you are pretending that you know what you want and what you are doing, but in reality, you are clueless and lost? Does your life look like a perfect façade to others, but on the inside, you are feeling frustrated with it?
If these things sound like yourself, you are not alone. These feelings are particularly common in young people in their 20s and 30s who have to face the responsibilities of adult life but didn’t find their path in life yet.
The problem is that sometimes, it is difficult to distinguish between your own ideas and aspirations and someone else’s. We have parents, we have friends, and everything they say or do influences the route we take in life. After all, we are living in the digital age and constantly absorb tons of information that shapes the people we become.
But could it be that you are listening to someone else’s opinion too much and forget about your own? Have you neglected your dreams to choose a more popular and high-paying job position? Are you too busy fulfilling your parents’/partner’s expectations so that you overlook your own needs? Are you putting too much effort into maintaining a perfect image but are feeling lost and empty inside?
All these things could indicate that you are walking the wrong path. Living your life for someone else equals wasting it. And, of course, it leaves you feeling lost in a life that was not meant for you.
7. You Are Surrounded by the Wrong People
The people we surround ourselves with have a powerful impact on our level of happiness and fulfillment. When you hang out with negative, jealous or fake individuals, they make you feel worse about yourself and your life.
So take a few moments to re-evaluate your social circle. Try asking yourself these questions:
- Do my friends make me feel good about myself?
- Do they support and encourage me?
- Are they genuinely interested in me or do they just take advantage of me?
If these questions make you doubt your social connections, maybe it’s a good idea to think whether these people should have a place in your life.
At the same time, sometimes we make friends with good folks who are just not our tribe. You could be surrounded by the wrong people without even realizing it. Do your friends share your interests and values in life? Would you say that you hang out with like-minded people?
When your social circle is not based on a deep connection and has a more shallow nature, you forget who you are. Your friends inevitably influence you, whether you are aware of it or not. You unconsciously absorb their ideas, behaviors, and traits.
Thus, making friends with the wrong people distances you from your dreams and purpose in life. And this could be one of the reasons why you find yourself lost in life.
8. You Are Running Away from Yourself
Have you lost touch with your inner child? Did you ever get to really know yourself? Oftentimes, we feel lost in life because we haven’t found ourselves yet. So we just play it safe and follow a path paved by someone else. After all, it’s easier this way, isn’t it?
However, what you do is not always right for you. Frustration and unfulfillment are growing inside you and this is when you start to run away from yourself. Are you afraid of being alone? Do you try to keep yourself constantly busy because you don’t want to stay alone with your thoughts?
These things could mean that you refuse to face the uncomfortable truths about your life choices. Maybe you are with the wrong person or are wasting your life on the things that don’t matter to you. However, regardless of how much you are trying to silence the voice of your soul, it will still reach you through unexplained feelings of sadness and frustration.
A good start would be to re-establish your connection with your inner child. Check this article to learn how to awaken your inner child.
Are You Feeling Lost in Life?
So, if you’re feeling lost in life, firstly remember that you’re not the only one and there’s nothing wrong with you. We’re living in a society that profits from making people feel bad about themselves and too many people are suffering in silence while showing a brave face to the world.
Perhaps my number one piece of advice is to reach out to others and tell them how you feel. You might find that they were feeling just the same way.
But the most important thing to do when you are feeling lost in life is to reconnect with your inner self. Only your soul knows what you really want in life. Invest some time in practicing mindfulness and meditation. Read self-improvement books, study philosophy, take a few personality tests. In other words, do anything that could give you a deeper understanding of who you are. Anything that could help you figure out what to do with your life.
But don’t expect quick fixes here. Discovering your purpose in life is a profound and time-consuming process that may take years.
But I would like you to remember one thing. No matter who you are or how old you are, you can find your path and stop feeling lost in life. Don’t give up just yet. Your life purpose may be just around the corner. All it takes is to recognize it.
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