Feeling Lost: 20 Insights And How To Find Meaning Again (2024)

This guide aims to help you if you’re feeling lost.

First, we’ll investigate what it means to feel lost, then explore some tips to help you gain more control of this feeling.  

In my role as a life coach, I am often offering guidance and motivation to people feeling lost in their lives.

That’s why I’m keen to share this guide with you.

Let’s dive right into it.

Feeling Lost
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1. Feeling Lost Meaning

Feeling lost means you’re unsure whether you’re going in the right direction in life.

It’s common to feel lost in a certain aspect of your life, such as your relationship or your job. 

2. What Does It Mean When You’re Feeling Lost? 

When you’re feeling lost, it’s often because you don’t know what makes you happy. 

But sometimes it’s deeper than that.

Perhaps you know what makes you happy, but don’t know how to translate that into your professional life or personal relationships.

Maybe you know what you want, but there’s something blocking you from pursuing it (either internally or externally).

Either way, these feelings mean you need to take action to explore what you want from life. 

This will involve a period of self-reflection, perhaps with the assistance of a life coach

But, it should absolutely also involve you trying new things. 

Indeed, feeling lost typically follows an extended period of being stuck in a routine that doesn’t satisfy you.

3. Can Lost Be A Feeling? 

Absolutely. Being lost can make you feel panicked and anxious. You often struggle to be present because you’re lost in your thoughts. You might feel jealous of people who seemingly have their life under control. 

In extreme cases, you can feel symptoms of depression because you feel your life is meaningless.

Being lost is an unpleasant feeling, and it’s certainly in your best interests to get to the bottom of these emotions so you can stop feeling this way.  

4. The Link Between Feeling Lost And Feeling Stuck

To feel stuck is when the desire to move forward in life meets a strong desire to stay exactly where you are.

In this case, the desire to remain where you are usually comes from self-doubt or other similar limiting beliefs.  

Still, this uncomfortable feeling will usually lead to one feeling lost in life.

The video below explores the subject in more detail.

5. What Causes A Person To Feel Lost? 

The feeling of not knowing what you want to do with your life can come from inexperience.

Indeed, it’s common for teenagers to feel lost at the moment where they have to choose what to study in college or university. This is essentially the moment they’re expected to choose what career path to follow in adulthood, yet many have just a vague idea of their ideal job because they don’t have enough experience in any field.

This is why it’s often recommended for young adults to simply try a lot of new things until they ‘find themselves’. A gap year travelling the world is an interesting solution for young people who feel lost to figure things out. These can be expensive, but not as costly paying for a degree you never use. 

With that said, it’s also common for someone to know deep down what they want to do, but still feel lost. 

Let’s investigate why this happens right now…  

6. Limiting Beliefs Can Hold People Back

When you were a young child, the chances are you proudly told your parents – or anyone who asked – what you wanted to be when you grew up. The chances are these people told you that’s amazing!

Yet, as we’re older, people stop telling us that we can be anything. Often, our parents and teachers tell us to go after something secure. Perhaps our so-called friends begin to laugh at any lofty ambitions we share. 

Then, we turn into adults with limiting beliefs about what we can achieve. Indeed, many people who feel lost know exactly what they want to do, but don’t believe they’re able to do it.   

7. Fear Plays A Huge Role In Feeling Lost

Many people experience negative thoughts about chasing their dreams. What happens if I fail? What happens if I don’t like it? What happens if people make fun of me?

These questions don’t serve you at all. For starters, it’s useless to focus on something that might not happen. Most of these realities are in your head. 

In reality, if these scenarios did occur, you’ll also probably be able to overcome them. 

However, a lot of people don’t ever learn this lesson because they’re too scared to even take the first step towards their dream life.   

8. Many People Feel Lost Because They Don’t Fit In      

We all have a natural desire to be accepted by other people. 

The problem comes when we’re so desperate to fit in that we don’t chase our own unique passions. We become too worried about what other people will think to do what makes us happy.

This not only contributes to us feeling lost because we ‘don’t know’ what we want to do with our lives. It also makes us feel alone in this world, because we’re not the same as everyone else. 

As we get older we tend to learn that it’s better to be unapologetically yourself than to try and fit in with the crowd. The sooner you learn this the better. 

Related: Easy Ways Out Of “I Can’t Do Anything Right” Thinking

9. How Do I Know If I Am Lost? 

“These Pains You Feel Are Messengers. Listen To Them.” 

The above is a quote from the poet Rumi about feeling lost.

As previously mentioned, feeling lost can make you feel uncomfortable and anxious about the future. You sense an undeniable feeling that something is wrong, even if you’re consciously trying to deny that.

While it’s common to feel lost, that doesn’t mean these feelings should be ignored. These feelings are your wake-up call, signalling that you need to make a change. Like any other pain, ignoring it will only hurt you more in the long run.

10. What To Do When Feeling Lost

In the following sections, we’ll dive deep into some specific exercises for what to do when feeling lost.

With that said, the whole process can be simplified into:

  • Self-discovery. Explore who you really are and what you really want to do, beyond all your fears and social conditioning. 
  • Take action. Take the first step forward to realize your dream. Then, the next step and the next. 

11. Ask Yourself What You Would Do If You Weren’t Afraid 

Here’s a great idea to help you decide what to do if you feel lost. 

Answer this question: “What would I do with my life if I wasn’t afraid.” 

Push yourself to write down at least five answers. 

This is a great exercise to complete with a life coach, or at the same time as a loved one who maybe feels lost as well. Either way, you could push each other to write more explicitly defined answers.

The point of the exercise is to become aware of where fear is limiting you. Maybe, before performing this exercise, you held onto other excuses why you weren’t going after certain goals.

But by pushing yourself to write down five goals that scare you, you’ll realize that fear is the only thing holding you back. 

Hopefully, this will give you the motivation to go after the things you really value. After all, no-one likes admitting that fear is the only thing preventing their success. 

12. Ask Yourself What You Would Do If You Knew You Could Not Fail?

This similar exercise specifically targets your fear of failure.

Once again, you’ve probably made excuses for why you can’t get started with this passion. But, in most cases, these are made simply to mask a fear of falling short. There’s probably someone out there who has achieved your dream with bigger obstacles in their way.  

So, why not focus on how to overcome these obstacles, rather than how they’re blocking your success?  

13. You Discovered You’ve Got Two Weeks Left On Earth. What Will You Miss Most When It’s All Over?  

This is another writing exercise, designed to help you understand your biggest passions. Once you’ve finished writing these down, brainstorm some ideas for how you can incorporate these passions into your everyday life more often.

After all, while you might have more than two weeks, your time on this planet is limited. So, you may as well spend as much time as you can doing what makes you feel good.  

14. It’s Normal To Feel Lost In Some Part Of Your Life 

It’s common to feel secure in some parts of your life, while also feeling unsure and nervous about other aspects of it. 

So, don’t panic or wallow in self-pity if you feel like you’ve taken one or two wrong paths. Most people feel the same.

To realize this and make changes is a key part of personal growth. 

With that said, let’s now dive into some advice for feeling lost in specific parts of your life. 

15. Feeling Lost And Alone

Feeling Lost And Alone
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Feeling lost and alone are two separate emotions that often arrive together.

  • A person might feel alone, because they (wrongly) think they’re the only one not in control of what’s happening in their life.  
  • They might feel lost because they’re the only one in the social circle who doesn’t want to party and get drunk every weekend, for example.
  • A person might feel detached, lost and alone because they’re different to those around them, but are yet to embrace it. There’s part of them that would rather ‘fit in’ than do what truly makes their heart sing.

Can you relate to any of these examples?

Well, the good news is that the internet has made it easier than ever to connect with people who share your hobbies, passions and viewpoints. Even if there is no-one in your home town, you can bet there are plenty across the globe. As a matter of fact, there’s probably an online community surrounding your passion on one of the major social media websites.  

If there isn’t, how about writing a blog or creating a YouTube channel and finding your audience that way?

Many unique people have found great success doing this. In fact, being unique is one of the most reliable ways to build an audience of adoring online fans.

It’s not easy to build an online audience, but doing so will help you stop feeling so detached from the rest of the world.  

16. Feeling Lost In Career

It’s easy to feel lost in your career when your job isn’t linked to your passions or overall mission.

The simple solution to this is to begin crafting an exit plan that’ll allow you to chase a job in a field that fulfills you. It’s incredibly common advice to “find a job you love and you’ll never work a day in your life”. Indeed, for many people it has been incredibly fulfilling to follow that catchphrase.

But this does take a lot of bravery, especially if you’d be sacrificing a lot of money in the short-term future at least. Indeed, for some it would be a bad thing to take that financial risk at this point in their lives. Some people are parents with mouths to feed and a mortgage to pay, after all.

Thankfully, it’s not the only way to curb this feeling of being lost in your career. 

Another solution is to make peace with the fact that your job and life mission are two different things. This shouldn’t be too difficult, provided you can create the time to focus on your passion outside of work.

At this point, you can begin to view your job from a different perspective. You can see it as the task you do to fund your passion. This gives it some form of meaning and can help to ease that feeling of being lost at work.   

17. Feeling Lost After Break-Up

This is a completely different reason for feeling lost in life, but a common one nonetheless.

When a man or woman makes the mistake of basing all their happiness within their relationship, they’ll usually end up feeling like their existence is meaningless after a break-up. 

That’s why it’s always recommended for people to build a life they enjoy, regardless of whether they have a partner. They should learn to love themselves before they love someone else. They should have goals other than getting married and having children with a certain person. 

If you didn’t have the sense to build this self-reliance before coupling up, now’s the time to do it. This break-up is your opportunity to make these improvements. 

Engage in hobbies. Spend more time with your friends and family. Make some serious money.  Learn to enjoy being single at this moment. Realize that this world is your oyster. 

Once you do that, you’re far less likely to feel lost after a break-up. Ironically, this mindset will also help to attract even better partners in future. 

18. Feeling Lost In A Relationship

One might feel lost in their relationship if their partner is taking them down a path they don’t want to go down. Perhaps you’ve just realized you want different things from your lives.

Honestly, it makes sense that men and women talk about the big picture sooner rather than later in their relationship. This can stop you both wasting a lot of time and spare you the heartache before you catch serious feelings.

If you haven’t done that yet, now is the time to do it. And, if you can’t reach a compromise on where you each see your relationship heading, it’s probably best to break it off altogether. 

19. It’s Not A Bad Thing To Make Changes

There’s no shame in making changes during any period of your life, if you’re unhappy with the way things are going. They say variety is the spice of life. In other words, this is what makes it memorable.

There’s a great quote from Robin Sharma which echoes this sentiment. 

He said: “Don’t live the same year 75 times and call it a life.”

You might feel some self-doubt when aiming to make improvements to your life, but that’s completely normal. Don’t use this as a reason to ignore the sensation of being lost.  

Usually, if you don’t like the changes you made, you can head back to the life you had before. Or at least something very similar. 

20. People Tend To Regret What They Didn’t Do

It’s a bit scary to act upon feeling lost and making changes in your life. When you do so, it’s normal to feel overwhelmed during this decision-making process. After all, you’re surrendering control of your life and thrusting yourself out of your comfort zone.

Photo By karlyukav On freepik

However, when it comes to the latter years of their life, most people regret what they didn’t do. 

If you fail to act upon these feelings now, the chances are you’re going to regret it. So, wake up and find the motivation to do what really excites you NOW, no matter how scary it might seem.

You got this!  

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About The Author

Bijan Kholghi is a certified life coach with the Milton Erickson Institute Heidelberg (Germany). He helps clients and couples reach breakthroughs in their lives by changing subconscious patterns. His solution-oriented approach is based on Systemic- and Hypnotherapy.