Finding yourself
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After Any Loss… How to Find Yourself Again.

I discovered how to find myself again after my husband passed away 14 years ago. We had two sons ages 11 and 17 at the time.

For a long time after that, I was lost. However, truth be told, I was lost in a different way before that.

Before that happened, I would describe myself as spiritually lost or hungry and looking for a sense of my own soul and a soulful life. I didn’t realize it at the time, but I was looking for self-acceptance.

Certainly, there are different ways to feel lost.

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The first step is to feel lost.

We not only lose people we love in life, but we lose our youth, chapters in life, optimism, hope, and possibly our joy.

And if that’s not enough, we lose relationships, houses, health, self esteem… how do we get through it?

Part of finding yourself again in life is allowing yourself to be lost in the first place. Because being lost can be a starting point. Any transformation in life begins with awareness, with step one.

When you acknowledge, I don’t know where I am and I don’t know where I’m going… you open yourself.

Ways you may feel lost.

You may feel lost in terms of your purpose, your deepest desires, who your partner should be, how to solve a problem, what step to take next, and what you believe about yourself.

In addition, you might feel spiritually lost. Where, like myself, you visit church after church, synagogues, meetups, communing with nature, and none of that speaks to your heart.

And then, of course, is feeling lost after you lose someone you love, either because they pass away or the relationship ends.

FOUR STAGES TO FIND YOURSELF AGAIN.

In my work as a life coach, and in my book The Butterfly Silhouette: 12 Principles of Metamorphosis, are the principles to find yourself again.

find yourself again

The 12 principles fall into four stages:

FOUR STAGES SUMMARY

One: Be willing to leave what’s comfortable and enter the unknown. Commit to fulfilling your destiny.

Two: Grow in self-knowledge. See yourself clearly and stick with that. Keep in your focus that you have a finite amount of time in your life to learn and grow.

Three: Learn the skills for thinking high vibration and feeling what is true for you.

Four: Grow in self-love and step into the life that’s meant for you.

Stage One: Embark

The first step is the beginning of your quest to yourself, embark on a soul-searching journey. Your awareness is keen that there’s more within you waiting to come out. Asking for help, you are open to leaders, mentors, and guides joining you on your journey. Notice what is good, what is beautiful, what is working in your life, etc.

Stage Two: See yourself.

See yourself from a deeper, soul-centered perspective.

Decide what you need to give, share, and which people you want to help. What is your intuition of how this universe wants to use you?

Ask: What is the burning desire within me? What do I feel I must do, or my life will feel like I didn’t live fully?

KEEP IT LIGHT

However, make this a fun, soulful question, not a heavy chore. Your intuition about yourself will be stronger as you are able to quiet your mind.

So, do meditation, regular exercise, try a new hobby, or journaling, etc. There are many ways to open up to the truth within you.

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Stage Three: Feel what is true.

This journey requires that you feel what is true for you in a way that feels safe and secure. If you need the help of a therapist or counselor, there are many options. The feeling of being lost is certainly uncomfortable.

FEEL IT TO HEAL IT

The main idea in this stage is to feel the emotional energy that’s inside you and release it. Over and over, bit by bit. Feel your emotions while keeping your thinking supportive and self loving.

Patience with yourself is key.

For me, it’s a lifelong process and essential for emotional freedom. As we free ourselves from the past and let go of heavy emotional energy, we are able to fulfill our potential.

Here’s a list of emotional release techniques and tools to consider.

Stage Four: Step into your destiny.

As you come into stage four you’re feeling more self-esteem, self-compassion, and self-love. And you’re able to use self-honesty without criticism. You don’t expect yourself to be perfect. You are willing to fail.

THE OTHER SIDE

Ultimately, you are here for a reason and you are ready to step into that reason. Much like a caterpillar who becomes a butterfly. It’s meant to be.

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Where do you belong?

Part of feeling lost after a loss… is feeling like you don’t belong.

Because life is different than before.

Human beings need a sense of belonging. It’s wired into our guts. And we will search high and low to find where we belong.

Losing someone we love, or having an accident or health scare can cause us to question everything about our life.

5 questions you’ll ask to find where you belong.

When you’re wondering how to find yourself again you might ask…

Who am I?

What am I doing here?

What is the purpose of my life?

Why do bad things happen to good people?

Where do I go from here?

So, let’s talk about each of these thoughtful and important questions.

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Who am I?

This is the eternal question! It’s up there with: What is the meaning of life?

Who am I... has been asked by many philosophers, including Socrates, who felt the true self is the soul.

I happen to agree with Socrates… 100%.

And a long list of great thinkers agrees as well. Marsilio Ficino from the 1400s, Carl Jung who lived until 1961, and James Hillman who passed in 201, to name a few.

I like to define the soul as the seed of potential within you.

It’s who you are before you’ve been hurt by life. It holds what you’re capable of doing in this life.

What am I doing here?

You are here for a reason and your life was created to fulfill that reason.

Your life is not an accident. You have not randomly landed here. Instead, you are part of a world that may appear haphazard but is supportive and intelligent.

Let’s challenge that idea for a moment. This next month, simply notice how often each day something happens that’s strange or unusual.

Often these things are not coincidences, but they’re part of the support that’s happening behind the scenes of your life, helping you along your path.

It just might be a slightly longer and bumpier path than you wanted!

And if you don’t see these things at first, you will eventually. Just open your imagination to what might be going on.

EXAMPLES

Some examples are when the right book or post pops up just when you needed to hear it. And, when someone shows up in your life at just the right time.

Or, when an opportunity arises when you were about to give up.

Wayne Dyer said, “If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.”

So, try looking at the universe with the belief, I am guided, and see what happens.

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What is the purpose of my life?

Since we are here to learn and grow, we have more than one purpose in life.

What are you here to learn? Finding the answer is one purpose.

What you have to give, share, or express is another purpose.

And you may have a number of things to accomplish, not just one.

On the flip side, you may have just one very specific purpose…. like raising the next president of the United States or inventing the next cure for a deadly disease.

Or, starting a ripple effect that changes how large populations of people change their thinking.

You or your child might set an effect in motion that you can’t even imagine now.

Why do bad things happen to good people?

When my husband passed away the first book I got was: When Bad Things Happen to Good People by Rabbi Harold S. Kushner.

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This phenomenal book explores the question we all have bouncing around in our heads: Why don’t the bad guys die and the good guys stay here?

It’s heartbreaking to lose people who were making the world better just by being here.

Those special souls whose very presence lifted those around them.

ANSWERING THE IMPOSSIBLE

Rabbi Kushner’s best-selling book suggests that we may not understand what happens, but there is a God and the worst adversity can be turned into something meaningful.

This answer may comfort you or not. Personally, if you feel like there is no answer, I understand that very, very well.

The book is dedicated to the memory of his young son, Aaron, who died at the age of 14 in 1977 of an incurable disease.

Where do I go from here?

You go on a quest to find yourself. And it’s a lifelong quest. It’s an honorable quest.

Just one baby step at a time through these four stages below.

And remember, as uncomfortable as it is, you’re never ever alone on your quest to find your true self.

The universe steps in when you feel lost.

Six months after my husband passed, a book came to me in the middle of the night about a caterpillar who doesn’t believe she can be a butterfly.

She’s lost.

She doesn’t really know herself and doubts herself.

I know my spirit guides gave me this book. I’m certain. So, when your spirit guides give you a story to tell, you have to commit and tell the story!

In the book, my caterpillar feels lost in life, long before she experiences a loss of love.

Like myself, she feels deep down that there’s more within her that needs to surface in life, but doesn’t know what it is or how to find it.

Sometimes in life, we have to crawl.

Crawling is defined as challenging times in life. 

You’re moving slowly on the ground, you’re taking own small baby step at a time.

When we’re feeling lost, often, we’re crawling through the day, through conversations, and basically faking it a lot of the time.

At the end of the day, we wonder how we made it through. How did I wake up, show up and muddle through the day long enough to get me back home and into bed?

How did I do that?

Most of the time, we don’t know how we did it.

Poems of Self-Compassion.

I’ll never forget listening to David Whyte’s Poems of Self-Compassion for the first time.

In this incredible audio, he tells a story of when the hero within himself had to sit down, while the part of him that limped carried him across a broken bridge.

I understood that 100%. At home, I was writing about my crawling caterpillar while David Whyte took me through his poem about the limping times in life.

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Tired of being strong.

I related with my heart and soul because I didn’t want to be strong anymore. I was tired of carrying such a heavy load.

This time of being tired from life, or burn out, or whatever you’re feeling, forces you to rest.

Rest is very important when you’re finding yourself. Because you may not realize it, but your mind is going 24/7 about your life, your problems, stress, are you being the best version of yourself, and on and one.

All of that brain activity is exhausting to the body.

So rest is good.

Then, find a puddle to soak in.

Your puddle is defined as the place within you that goes deeper.

It’s an important place because it’s profound to know your own inner workings.

It’s honoring yourself when you allow your unique experience without self-rejection.

The simple act of being with whatever emotion arises is needed to find your true self.

Because we feel it to heal it. This saying, well known in the world of emotional healing will remind you that you must feel to heal.

As the saying goes, “The only way past is through.”

Ranier Maria Rilke and grief.

In Ranier Maria Rilke’s poem, Pushing Through, he writes…

It’s possible I am pushing through solid rock
in flintlike layers, as the ore lies, alone;
I am such a long way in I see no way through,
and no space: everything is close to my face,
and everything close to my face is stone.

I don’t have much knowledge yet in grief
so this massive darkness makes me small.
You be the master: make yourself fierce, break in:
then your great transforming will happen to me,
and my great grief cry will happen to you.

PUSHING THROUGH SOLID ROCK

When you’re lost or grief-ridden, as this poem is about, it feels like you’re pushing through solid rock.

Rilke’s phenomenal image here is that… it’s massive darkness and you feel so small.

He’s saying, your great transforming will happen to me, and my great grief cry will happen to you.

I remember reciting this poem to myself on my walks each day… over and over again. I could see the solid rock in front of me and I related with grief feeling so heavy that I couldn’t push through it.

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IT FEELS IMPOSSIBLE.

I suspect that grief and feeling lost in life go hand in hand for many people. Whether it’s current grief or old unfinished grief. It’s something to consider.

When you’re lost in life, what emotions are bouncing around in there that want to be felt?

Other reasons you feel lost in life.

It’s possible to lose yourself in other ways as well. You might feel as though you’ve drifted, focusing on helplessness or victim consciousness.

Victim triangle

In The Power of TED (The Empowerment Dynamic), David Emerald writes about the victim triangle versus the creator triangle.

In the first point, you feel as though things happen to you and you often feel powerless.

While in the creator triangle you see yourself as a creator in your life, which is quite empowering. You believe in your ability to create the results you desire and you find a way to do it.

You’re willing to try new things, pursue your dreams, and explore the unknown.

When you feel lost or like a victim, excitement is limited and fun challenges don’t seem to come down the road. Routines feel boring and they’re not as enjoyable.

Losing the connection to self.

It’s possible that we lose the connection with ourselves when we have other notions about what we’re supposed to do in life. Our feelings are wrapped up in feeling like we’re not enough.

However, as you connect within, to your soul, your genius, your gifts, you become centered in what you have to give.

Beware of who you spend time with because negativity can be attributed either to a friend, family, society, or even just you alone.

Plus, when we do things we don’t want, out of obligation, we can end up feeling even worse.

Negative thoughts lead to feeling lost.

Every single emotion, believe it or not, begins with a thought. Whether you’re aware of it or not.

To learn how to find yourself again, it’s important to pay attention to your thinking.

QUESTIONS TO ASK YOURSELF

Am I criticizing myself?

Am I giving myself enough time and space to be with my emotions?

Do I believe I deserve an abundance of love and success?

There’s no doubt that negative thinking is a habit and like any habit, can be changed. In my book The Thought Store: 8 Simple Thinking Habits, I help people change low-vibe thinking.

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Make sure your thinking is supportive!

Negative thoughts can make you feel like you are the worst person in the world. When you are feeling lost and you want to know how to find yourself again, your thinking needs to be self-loving.

Instead, when you feel lost, focus your thoughts on being good to your true self. What does this look like?

When your mood or energy drops and you feel out of your comfort zone ask yourself:

What am I feeling right now?

What do I need in this moment?

Notice how instead of criticizing yourself, you focus on what you need. This is necessary because when you feel lost, you need love.

We find our way with self esteem, self-compassion, and self-love.

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Finding your true self.

How to find yourself again is a journey to the self. We each have a calling in this life and it’s up to us to answer the call.

As a soul coach, I love the individuality of the self and of the calling… and the idea that you are here for a reason that’s all yours.

There’s no silver bullet to find your way to yourself, it’s a process.

It’s a quest.