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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 3.5 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.

By Rebecca Lammersen

*Fist published on elephant journal