The 5 Best Things to Do When You Feel Lost, Confused, or Uniquely Fucked
Do we all get that confusion and uncertainty are natural states of being?
Everyone feels a little lost on occasion and no one really knows what they're doing 100% of the time. Yet we all walk around thinking we need to have complete conviction and sureness in ourselves, the future, and exactly how everything's going to turn out. WHICH IS IMPOSSIBLE, by the way. Phew.
So why not de-clutter your doubt by reading my five lifelines for easing the sting of, "I DON'T KNOW WHAT I'M DOING / WHAT'S GOING ON / WHO AM I / IS IT GOING TO BE THIS WAY FOREVVVERRR?!?" Chill, mama. Read on.
1) Be ridiculously kind and gentle with yourself.
Here is your new inner monologue:
“Well, [insert your name here], it would appear we’re going through a bit of a rough patch; things sorta completely suck right now. And while it would be great to be on the other side of this already, and feel more positive/chipper/in the driver’s seat about life again, we’re just not there yet. So let’s make a pact right now that we’re going to be obscenely kind to ourselves in this and all future moments. If we need a nap, a phone call with [insert wonderful person's name here], a sweaty gym session, or a good long cry, we have full permission to indulge in that shit (and whatever else seems appropriate). And let’s quit beating ourselves up for how we feel and where we are, okay? Better times are on their way, and everything goes smoother when we can be easy, understanding, and patient in the process. Deal? Sweet.”
2) Talk that shit out.
Oh for the love of God, please tell me you know that you are not alone.
If you’re a little lost, or up shit creek sans paddle, there is a 1000% chance someone you know (or the stranger next to you at Starbucks) has had a startlingly similar experience. To be human is to be confused. To live is to feel a little lost at times. It’s unavoidable.
But in order to indulge in the massive relief that comes from hearing, “I know exactly what you’re talking about, I’ve felt that way before,” you have to be willing to open up about what’s real for you right now. Naming and articulating the messy jumble of thoughts and feels that reside inside is so. friggin. cathartic.
Be it a trusted friend, loving partner, non-judgmental family member, or a licensed professional, we need people we can take our masks off with. Find your people. Ask nicely if they'll listen. And take a few moments to be very grateful for their presence in your life.
3) Create Some Heart-Swelling Structure.
There’s the stuff we do because we have to do it or it needs to get done and then there’s the stuff we get to do because we choose to do it. (Having more of the latter and less of the former is a decision, by the way.)
So when it feels like life is a little outta control, consider what would function as a conscious, heart-happy addition to your daily life. Then find ways to fit that magic in on repeat.
My personal favorites in this department:
- Hot, homemade breakfast that doesn’t feel rushed (yes I wake up an extra 30-40 minutes early to fit this in).
- Jambox-ing show tunes and having a sing-along solo dance-off in the shower.
- Mid-day power nap. Yessir.
- A walk through the park or some woods at the end of the workday.
- An indulgent episode of trashy reality TV.
- Herbal tea, great read, and a softer-than-soft blanket right before bedtime.
Call it sacred structure, daily rituals, a morning/nighttime routine, it doesn’t matter. What matters is setting aside time for the things that replenish and feed you. Make this shit lovingly non-negotiable.
4) Just. Keep. Moving.
You do not need to have anything/everything settled down or sorted into perfect little piles before starting X, finishing Y, or continuing with Z. Keeping yourself involved and engaged with life, projects, and goals can be quite comforting and sanity-inducing in times of bizarre befuddlement.
Keep (or start) working out. Keep (or start making) plans with friends. Keep (busy) with hobbies, deadlines, and activities. Trust me on this. Don’t quit everything. Even if big changes are afoot, or you’re in the midst of a miserable transition, don’t shy away from the everyday activities that ground you (yes - showers help and count for a lot). And don’t be afraid to shake things up a tad outside your comfort zone, either.
Of course, sometimes we just need a break, a day off, a night in, or a weekend away from everything to regroup and recalibrate. That’s okay too. But don’t go into hibernation mode and try to think or wait your way to better times. Engage with the world. Slow down, sure, but don’t shut down.
5) Remember: 9x/10, Confusion Brings Clarity.
If you’re in the midst of mucky-muck it’s hard to remember what’s bound to be on the other side: massive clarity. Clearer choices. A deeper understanding of who you are and exactly how you fit into the world.
When I think back on any season of darkness from my life, I make a point to recall that pretty much always, really cool stuff happened next. Yes, I had to wade through a certain amount of, “What the hell is going on right now?!” but when I was finally able to soften into it and keep moving, the second act to my confused state usually knocked my socks off.
Think: new perspectives, new relationships, new lessons, new love, new ideas, new path, new career, new friendships, new majestic way of viewing myself and my world. Pretty rad, no?
We often don’t notice our transition out of the tough time until way, way later (if we ever pause to notice it at all). It’s a great practice to recall the periods where we felt hopeless, like there was never going to be any light at the end of the tunnel…yet somehow - VOILA - there was a helluva lotta light leftover after all.
In closing: don't fight with where you are. Don't rush to a forced conclusion. Sit with your uncertainty and trust that you'll figure it out, no head-banging against the wall required.