How To Find Yourself, When You’ve Lost Yourself.

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I had everything—a home, a loving husband, two gorgeous daughters, financial security. I wanted for nothing. For years, this life was welcomed.

I felt safe. But over time, safe stopped serving me. Safe became confinement, imprisonment—I was actually miserable. I was empty.

I was lost…completely lost, with no clue how to get home.

“Where was home?,”  I began to ask. I might as well have been sitting in the middle of the Sahara, not my beige Pottery Barn sectional.

My life was uncomfortably predictable—I knew what was going to happen next, in every moment of every day.

The stagnancy of my life was destroying my spirit. I was no longer myself, and I knew the journey from where I was back to my home was going to be a scary, uncertain one; but at some point I had no choice. I couldn’t live separate from myself anymore, so I started walking without any idea where I was going.

That was three and a half years ago.

Today, I’m writing this from home, from the same beige couch.

The difference? Me, and the thousand of miles I’ve traveled since. The thousands of experiences I’ve collected to bring me right back here, home—found.

There were many frightening moments, many moments I didn’t think I would make it. I made mistake after mistake, which catapulted me in the exact direction I was meant to go. I don’t regret any of it, because all of the wrong choices led me to the right place, every step of the way.

If there’s one piece of advice I would give every person, it would be to get lost.

Finding yourself is not a comfortable process, nor should it be. It is petrifying.

This period of confusion is the catalyst for questioning everything, for evaluating your life and your place in it. When you start asking the questions, you will find the answers. Just be prepared—your answers may not be the answers you want, but they are always the answers you need.

If you already feel lost, listen closely. Your spirit is screaming, “Help! I’m bored and confused. This present circumstance is no longer fulfilling me. Start looking again. Search every corner. Try new things. Fail miserably and then try something else until you find me. Keep going until you laugh again, until you discover understanding, acceptance, happiness, joy, and most importantly, purpose.”

When you feel lost, you’ve lost your purpose.

I remember being consumed with guilt for feeling unappreciative of my blessed life. Over the past few years, I’ve learned that my external circumstance (no matter how perfect it may appear) is insignificant if my internal circumstance is broken, lost and void of aspirations. If I have no purpose, my surroundings will feel purposeless too.

How do you find purpose?

Do something, anything. Do anything that is the opposite of what you are doing right now.

Get uneasy, get scared, become a beginner again. If you think you know it all, find something you know nothing about, and learn it well.

Observe how you respond and react. You will learn something new about yourself; not only about your character, but what turns on your light. Once you’ve found something that turns on your light, you’ve found purpose.

When you place yourself in foreign situations, you arrive in your most concentrated form. You will always bump into yourself in the unfamiliar.

The most difficult part of this process is the aloneness. You can’t rely on anyone else to guide you in the right direction. This is a solo mission. Doing it alone, is the whole point of the journey.

Listen to yourself regardless of what others may say. All that matters is your encouragement, not others’ discouragement.

What got me through was trust. I trusted I was always where I was supposed to be, and I would end up where I was meant to be.

This is your one life. It would be a tragedy to never discover yourself.

You can’t discover yourself unless you look for yourself, so get lost.

Bonus: How to fall in love with yourself:


By Rebecca Lammersen


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Ed: Bryonie Wise

Photo courtesy of the author.


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95 Responses to “How To Find Yourself, When You’ve Lost Yourself.”

  1. tyrone says:

    I thought i had a purpose, but when you are in the heart of a poverty vicinity and nothing is going well it becomes hard to find yourself. How can anyone find a set of keys in the dark? Finding myself is like looking for a nickle in the ocean; it just seems impossible at the moment.

  2. Atypical says:

    Hmmm….i beg to differ. Id love to hand over a time stretch in my shoes…..ive been searching for myself since the age of 5!! i am & always will be lost. I have screamed….. Did u hear? I have wept…. Did u care??…. i TRY but its always in vain. I live the tormented repercussions of tragic events made through the neglect of others. Its hell its a big long massive day to day battle…… Id love to find myself…… Anything is better than than this self. This world is severely lacking in love & compassion . I bear the weight….its me against the world . Final thoughts??? Mankind?? Ha thats a joke……. I have seen no evidence of kindness!!. We can seek BUT in the meantime im just guna have to be myself & deal with that…..
    Should any one find ' me ' on my travels….there is an abundance of gratitude in your favour should you be so kind & light my path of way!!!!! PEACE TO ALL & goodluck to those seeking their souls xx

    • Opusgab says:

      atypical: While my heart aches for what you say, I can’t help but love the way you said it. You are a poet. Your words are lovely and sad and bigger than this little life. I don’t know what you have been through, but something has made you soulful and artistic. And that is something. Maybe it’s everything.

    • Guest says:

      Maybe your purpose is to be who you're looking for, and to do what is missing in the world.

  3. Lucy says:

    I'm torn about this. I understand needing to 'find' oneself, but I'm also mindful that when we're adults, we have responsibilities to others as well. I think it's possible to change one's life to something more fulfilling without leaving devastation and heartbreak in one's wake. I just left my boyfriend because he he wanted a life of screwing anyone he wanted, and never mind the relationship we were supposedly building. He will be alone when he gets older and needs a partner to help care for him, because he chose to be 'free' instead of committed. He's certainly not bored or stagnant. But he's also not building anything that will sustain him in his older years, and he's about to turn 50.

    I'd rather have a little stagnation or a little boredom than to be the way I am: lonely and without the person I thought I was building a life with. When we're adults, we need to be less selfish. That's why 'finding myself' is typically something that 20-somethings do. I understand that 'settling down' is not for everyone. But I think there can be a balance or commitment, responsibility, and excitement. I want to find that balance.

  4. Susan B Miller says:

    I kept saying, "Yes, I get this" as I read. I've been going through a transitional period in my life and I have felt lost. I know to grow, I must listen to myself and not focus on the nay sayers. Thanks for the affirmation.

  5. Rachel says:

    Thanks so much. It was exactly what I needed to read. I’ve hit the same point in life and looking for home also. Your words are powerful. God bless.

  6. ilene neterer says:

    My "lost" also came with a divorce after 27 years of marriage. He went on his happy way through three more marriages????? I have remained single for 25 years. Six years ago went into a twelve step program. "FOUND"! Healthy and happy!!!!

  7. Miss Lost says:

    Hi Rebecca,

    I am going through a similar situation, but with “nothing” left.
    Starting from zero. I feel lost and your article is exactly what I am starting to go through, so it’s very calming and encourages me to feel like “everything is going to be alright”.
    Thank you very much for your honesty and opening about it.
    Big hugs.

  8. Ain J. says:

    Exactly the description of one’s life I can relate to. Thank you.

  9. James says:

    I loved this read. A very poetic blog saying step into the unknown, because if you really knew yourself you wouldn't be bored. The unknown is the mystery, the part of you that you have forgotten or have yet to remember or plain just don't know. What you know now eventually can become simply a habit of living, zombie like, on replay. So another way of putting it is "Play in the Unknown". This forces you to be present and spontaneous. Thanks for writing this, valuable.

  10. kerry says:

    Losing my only child 6 years ago to cystic fibrosis resulted in me losing myself for a time. To find myself again, I needed a challenge, a reason to keep going. I graduate with my doctorate tomorrow night. I am working on a job search, and finding ways to redefine myself, reframe my experiences, and move forward, back into myself. Scary as hell, exhilhirating, and everything in between. Buckle up world…I. Am. Back.

  11. bree says:

    Totally love this article. Make so much sense. But I wonder did she leave her husband and kids for awhile or what???? I want to find myself..but don’t want to leave my boyfriend for it. Maybe that means I don’t want to find myself in the end..or am scared to be alone instead

  12. K says:

    Hard to do while raising kids with financial difficulties, an abusive marriage and chronic pain and fatigue… my choices come down to which day I struggle through the laundry and whether to have another nap or not.

  13. Sofia says:

    Thank you!!!!!!!!!!

  14. mary says:

    that article touched me deeply. it kind of say my story but in a different way.
    I too had the perfect life ( or so i though ) i had the perfect fiance' and I go to medical school which has always been my dream, my family is well and everything's good.
    but suddenly out of nowhere i got lost. i lost interest in EVERYTHING in my life. I'm questioning everything even medical school which was always my dream and which i was dying to enter and when i finally did i felt like my dream has finally come true.
    i can't even study or hold a book and I'm in the middle of my exams i messed up so bad in my exams. and still more are coming up and every time i say (I:m going to study now Im going to make it now ) i end up doing /NOTHING and failing myself again,.
    the thing is I've always believed that every person has a message to deliver at life. and all my life I was in a position to be "better" than most people , whether at school or social events. I was literally proud of myself every single day even if i fail which i do of-course i always end up standing on my own two feet again without anybody's help.
    but now it's like Im living at the past. what i know about myself is what i once achieved and i became trapped in the past remembering al my success that I;ve achieved in life before and now I"m drown in failure.
    I love my fiance' so much and we used to be inseparable. now he has to work and he's a really good engineer and Im happy for him but my life now is based on him and only him. i wait for him to come home and if he's late i sleep or watch t.v or anything else that gets time to fly until he's home. and the thing is i started to get mad at him for leaving me and have to work all the time even though it's not his fault.i just get mad.
    maybe because i know even though he always puts me first and tries to do anything to be with me and for me not to get mad , but i know that someday he's going to have other stuff to do and i will eventually be left alone. doing nothing.
    maybe most girls would be okay with that but the problem is that i was never one of those girls who stay at home waiting. i was something more. something much much more and every one of my teachers and professors and my parents gets told every time ( your daughter is a genius and she's gonna be something big) even my fiance' fell in love with me because of that. i was never dependent i was always independent. and now..i fell like I'm lost. I'm trapped and I don't know the way out and i became constantly depressed and constantly sad that i began to think i had depression.
    i don't know what's wrong with me i just know I'm not me anymore , I'm lost and i have no idea how to get back home.

    you were right you cannot depend on anyone to get you out of this. this process has to come from within people around me are tired of trying to pick me up but i fall again. all i want to do is to be better not only for myself. but for them too.

    • Amy says:

      I know exactly how you feel, I too thought I had a sense of direction and that things were falling into place I had a good job, it was time consuming but paid well I knew it wasn't something that I'd wanted to do forever but couldn't figure out which direction to go career wise, I started dating my current boyfriend in that time and he made me feel alive again he's the most wonderful person god could give me and he's made me so happy I recently lost my job however and we were able to spend the summer together it was great a few of my friends were off of work too so I was always busy now my boyfriend has gone back to work 50 hours a week and I barely see him I too find myself waiting by the phone and missing him when I've never been that girl maybe I put too much of my happiness on him, but my happiness is not soley his responsibility he makes me happy but it's not his job to completely do that, happiness comes from within I'm just having a hard time finding what makes me happy other than him. I'm so lost that we need a new word for lost, I'm also afraid that in finding myself I might lose him, he's so supportive and caring that he understands that I'm lost but in order to find ones self I think it requires you to be selfish and that's never okay when you love someone so much. It's gotten to the point that my anxiety and depression have consumed me because of all the "what ifs" that pop into my head I cry all the time I just don't know what to do.

  15. rhea says:

    Badly need this now. I never knew i was lost until i got sick and lost my job. I worked hard for it, i promised myself id standout and i did! But my body gave up and i lost everything. Dont know what to do now. Feeling so empty. Staying at home for a week can make me go crazy and now it has to be a month. Please help me understand. Thanks a lot.

  16. Daniaazi says:

    My advice to you is that you should never try to be artificial or fake be original always be yourself no matter how hard the world comes onto you but you must not tremble.

  17. Gab says:

    Merci. Your article helped me alot.

  18. Danielle says:

    That is the second time this morning I have read an article to "get lost", in a good way, of course.
    I guess it's finally time…

  19. danielstockman2015 says:

    Did you betray the love of your family?

    This "advice" should be taken with a grain of salt.

  20. Jennifer says:

    Thank you!!!!

  21. Rhonda says:

    I am soo lost.somewhere inside me theres an awareness ,she is screaming to be found.. i cant open the door to her its not that simple…going thru the motions of life is so aimless each day its wat i do .my next step is counsling .maybe im there in the words i share with someone ?the drugs cant find me ..alcohol cant reach her .im in there i can hear myself screaming to open this door !!!

  22. dxtrsct says:

    Thanks mate for this wonderfull passage. All good God Bless

  23. Lin says:

    My friend send me this article after going through hell, finding her way and most recently finding herself sitting in an almost beige pottery barn couch. I on the other hand, are in the mist of a divorce, losing what I thought was the love
    Of my life these last seventeen years and attempting to “find myself.” It’s a hard journey-and I’m just in the beginning. But I could no longer fake being someone so that other person could
    Love me and like me. I ended the cycle of leaving a life subconsciously. I chose uncertainty in the hopes of truly finding myself….

  24. Lindsey says:

    Thank you, I came across this article at the right time in my life. I’m in transition and just need to trust that I’m where I need to be.

  25. Guest says:

    How do you find yourself when you know where you belong, and with whom, but everyone tells you it's time for you to spread your wings and fly away from there. But there's nowhere else to go, and they won't let you go back.

  26. Anand says:

    i just want to know who am i

    i haven’t anything to lose except my feeling my thoughts i have many purpose as i m a student i wanna to be a successful person

    but whenever i think about me i found me lost i did not understand me i afraid of becoming a bad guy always. i think that i m not that guy who i am actually at my past i am afraid to be changed

  27. Mindy says:

    I understand this sentiment, but what I’m confused about is…are you on the same beige couch, still married? Did you feel the need to shed your marriage? Or were you able to find yourself while still your husband waited in the wings?

    I ask because I am the love of someone who feels as this article describes, and he feels like he can’t be around me if he is to actually discover who he is, again. So I’m just wondering if you were able to make it work with your husband.

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