This article is meant for those of us who feel “off”. Sometimes we drift away from who we are you to find ourselves on a desert island of identity. Not to worry, there is a raft heading your way right now!
We need to look at the root cause of why we feel off in the first place. How in the world do we end up with our tattered shirt wrapped around our head in a strategy meeting on who to vote off that week?
Maybe I’m getting my scenarios mixed up, but what I’m trying to ask is this: how did we end up feeling like a completely unrecognizable version of ourselves?
When you start to say “I don’t even know who I am anymore” try these five steps:
- What are you doing to throw yourself off?
Take a long hard look at what you’ve been doing in the past few months and weeks leading up to this lost-self-scenario. My example would be that I try to take on every project I’ve ever wanted to do all at once and give myself a deadline of yesterday. Time waits for no one I tell myself. Try telling that to your bedridden self a couple weeks in. That’s where I end up—binge watching OITNB on Netflix and wearing the same clothes for three days because I can’t tear myself away from this imaginary prison world. The moral of the story is—we do these things well in advance if we can sit back long enough to track the pattern.
- Are you pushing yourself too hard?
Throwing yourself off meet pushing yourself too hard. I’m sure you’ll get along great. You have so much in common. We all know that pushing leads to collapse or burnout or collapse and burnout. Even inanimate objects experience this. As an example, did you know that if you push a coffee maker too hard and make it pump out cup after cup that it will eventually start projectile vomiting water across your kitchen counter? Or so I’ve heard.
Anyway, we all know that pushing ourselves too hard is a recipe for disaster. Look at what you can do in pieces, one after the other. How can you space projects out so that you have time to breathe in between? When can you take time off even if it’s just an afternoon to spend in the park? Awareness is key so make sure to be on alert for when you’re pushing yourself as opposed to having a healthy motivation for your schedule.
- Are you asking for help?
Our society can no longer operate on the philosophy of the individual. The individual is part of the whole. Part of the group and community that we need so much. We need that collaboration and support. We need to feel connected to others as we go for our dreams in life. Collaboration, community and relationships are the most important principles in life today—aside from sharing love. Without our community behind or with us, we are always going to feel lost or off. Find your people—whether it’s a social group, exercise group, political group or spiritual group—stay connected. Ask for help. Reach out and do things with others who have a common goal.
- Getting that desperate feeling
Sometimes we start to panic and feel really out of it. Maybe we’ve gone so far that we can’t really find out way back home to ourselves. Its ok, we’ve all been there. The way back is to reconnect to our True Self. Find time in the morning or at night to breathe deeply and envision roots growing from our feet into the centre of the earth. Spend time with your eyes close and feel the communion with your True Self. Do this regularly so that you always maintain that connection. The source of most anxiety and feeling of confusion is due to the fact that we’ve disconnected somehow from ourselves.
- What do you love?
What you love is who you are. What you love is an expression of your life. When you connect to that you are connected to your True Self, your core. This is the quickest way to feel like yourself again—reaffirm what you love. Make a list. Tell someone. Go make some plans to express what you love in the world. You can’t feel out of it when you are doing or being what you love—it is virtually impossible.
Try to use these five tips as a maintenance tool or a sign post—when you start to feel wobbly go back to one of these steps. And the thing to remember is that no matter how off you may feel, you are never far from your True Self. That’s what I mean when I say: you are home.