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How you can tell that you’ve lost touch with who you truly are

In our work with people, we have noticed that many of them, usually in their mid-30s to mid-50s, tend to lose themselves because they are so involved with their work or personal relationships.

They might be a single parent who is so busy trying to accomplish everything between the job, kids, and household, that somewhere along the way they themselves got lost.

Or they might have a successful career and seem to be achieving a lot, giving a confident and happy impression to others, but deep down inside they are no longer sure of who they are and whether life is taking the turns they want it to take.

Whether or not they are fully aware of how much they have lost themselves, most of them wouldn’t know what to do to find the way back.

One of the most touching and rewarding bits of feedback we get from participants is them saying:

Finally I have come back to myself!

We cannot think of anything better than that to contribute to the world.

That’s why today we share with you some ideas on how to recognize when you have lost yourself and we show you some steps you can take to help start the process of coming ‘home’ to yourself – back to who you really are.

How to recognise that you’ve lost yourself?

For many people, the sense of I dont know who I am anymore arises from being so externally driven, overworked or having to juggle too many balls. Do any of these scenarios sound familiar?

  • You try to juggle your work, the child(ren) and the household with hardly time left for yourself (or quality time with your children, spouse or friends)
  • You run from one meeting to the next and spend evenings and weekends catching up on paperwork, so you don’t have time to pursue your hobbies or interests.
  • You are fed up with the fact that your job, and other people, dictates your schedule to the point where there is no breathing space left for you. However, you don’t know how you can realistically change this situation.

If any of these circumstances apply to you, I am sure you have tried to improve your time management and that you wonder constantly about setting the right priorities to make it all happen in the best way possible.

However, these scenarios are only part of the picture; you might actually have a bit of time for yourself but still feel that it’s not enough. You simply feel depleted on a deeper level because you just don’t feel yourself anymore.

This can play out in various ways; you might recognise yourself in one of these:

  • Even if you have some time, you forget to check in with yourself about what you really need in this moment. You might overeat, eat junk food or forget to eat, you might just turn on the TV, spend hours on the internet or the phone – which is all relaxing to some extent, but you sense that you could be doing other things to truly recharge and enjoy life.
  • You get stressed out and are ‘losing it’ every once in a while, and you realise: This is not me anymore, I know I could be acting differently, and I wish I would be more kind, loving, caring etc. And it actually hurts you to see yourself so off-balance.
  • When you talk about your life and issues with friends, you are torn back and forth between their different opinions about how you should act or which decisions you should make in your job or your relationship. You have lost the sense or access to what your own truth is.
  • Even if you had all the time and money to choose freely, you wouldn’t even be sure what to do with yourself, which path to take in your life. You are so busy taking care of others and everything else that you have lost touch with your own desires.
  • A lot of what you do is not nourishing you, you are not really enjoying it, you just do it to get the job done, to make the money you need to pay your bills etc. You are yearning for more things that are ‘food for your soul’.

There is a way to come back to yourself

Here a couple of practical exercises you can do to begin the journey to rediscovering yourself and ultimately coming ‘back home’ to yourself.

1. Take 3 Deep Breaths

When you go from one activity to the next, pause for a moment and take 3 deep breaths before you do so. This can help you avoid running into the next situation ‘on autopilot’ and can help reduce your sense of being drained at the end of the day.

Try to remember this simple punctuation to your day and make it a habit when you leave a meeting, hang up the phone or finish an important email – just to ‘close this loop’ and end this activity consciously before you move on.

This is also great to do on your way from one event to the next – this could be on the way to the next meeting, picking up your kids or getting groceries.

And how about making it a habit when you get home – pause and take 3 deep breaths before you open the fridge or grab the TV remote control? Maybe you will make different choices!

It sounds so easy, but the challenge is of course to remember to do it. Help yourself with post-it stickers, or reminders in your phone or on the computer.

2. Checking In With Yourself

“Checking In” is a crucial part of the journey to getting to know yourself better and slowly finding the way back to your true self.. However, it’s easier said than done. It can be a struggle to remember to do it or to make a conscious choice to set a few minutes aside for it every day. Follow these steps to make checking in with yourself a regular practice:

Step 1: Make Time

Even if you only do this 5-10 minutes a day, it can make a huge difference to your life! So, for the next week, set yourself times when you want to check in with yourself.

One way is to do this when you go to bed every night, taking a few minutes to review the day and how you really feel about everything that’s happened. You could also journal about them.

You could also set an alarm on your cellphone for the coming 7 days to remind you to Check In at a certain time each day (e.g. each day at noon). If you like this idea, go ahead and do it right now.

Step 2: Check In

When that alarm goes off (or you remember to take a moment to tune in to yourself), scan through what we call ‘The 5 Levels of Being and ask yourself:

  • “How is my body feeling?” Tired, exhausted, charged-up, hungry, any pain anywhere, or feeling vital and awake? Any other details?
  • “What is my energy state?” Am I vibrant or low in energy? Am I ‘bubbly’ or rather ‘blobby’? Am I ‘all over the place’ or rather curled up inside?
  • “What’s going on emotionally in me?” In the beginning you might only pick up the obvious: you’re angry at this colleague, unnerved with the kids, joyful about what just happened, etc. Over time you will start to pick up more and more subtleties!
  • “What is my mental state?” Am I negative or positive? Am I worried? Am I judging myself or others? Am I busy with the past? Or with the future? Just notice consciously what’s going on in your mind.
  • And, if this is something you can relate to, you may also ask yourself: “Do I feel any spiritual connection?”

Ideally, conclude your check-in with the question:

What are my needs right now?

As you get more practiced, you can ask this question for each of the 5 Levels of Being.

Of course, combining both exercises is great: every time you take 3 deep breaths it’s wonderful to take a moment to tune in to how you feel.

And if you only do one of them or only check one level of your being, that’s also great! The key thing to remember is that this is the first step and finding moments in your busy day to simply stop and check in with yourself is the crucial step on your path ‘back home’.

It might be scary in the beginning as you may initially find that once you start tuning in to yourself you become aware of negative emotions or pain that you have successfully suppressed so far. However, deep down, you know that suppressing these negative emotions is s not working for you and it’s time to let them go.

Rest assured that, as you start to tune in to yourself, you will start opening up to all the gifts that are inside of you! Many treasures that you carry inside yourself are not to be found on the outside. If you do feel a sense of ‘having lost yourself’, you already know that the external world is not making you entirely happy, there is something more to discover inside of you!

A lot more on this theme is also covered in our book Your Energy in Action! Energy Balancing for Daily Living – you can buy a copy here.

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