It is not uncommon for us to lose ourselves – and not notice – as we rush along life’s highway. We feel disconnected but we dismiss it as mental exhaustion. We sense a growing discontent with the mad rumble of our daily lives but we simply shake ourselves out of it and keep going. When we respond in these ways, we push aside valid symptoms that indicate all is not right with us. When we find our minds wandering with seemingly disjointed thoughts and our hearts sinking in a wash of incomprehensible or unaccustomed emotions, we should slow down, pull over and take some time to get back to our true selves. Have you been sensing similar feelings, thinking similar thoughts? Do you feel as if you have lost yourself as your life tumbles along at break-neck speed?
Don’t you think it is time to get back to you? Do you want to? Are you ready?
A. Probe what gnaws at you.
Latent memories, thoughts and feelings can complicate even the simplest life. You may have to journey far into the past or as recent as one month or one year ago. Go as far back as you need to. Rattle those gnawing memories. Regurgitate those racking thoughts. Are there recent feelings that oozed into a busy day and refused to be ignored? Recall a yearning for something long past – a sympathetic relative who died, the freedom of your teen years, a lost love, a dream you set aside. Don’t simply look at the memories that keep resurfacing and the thoughts and feelings that visit when you are too busy to entertain them. Dig deeply into each memory and the accompanying players, emotions and outcomes. Look at them with fresh eyes. Toss them up and over, for any new ways they can spin something interesting into your present circumstances (personal life and commitments, career and goals). They may hold the key to the “you” you lost along to way.
B. Look at how you manage your present troubles.
Life is full of trouble and sometimes, how you deal with your present troubles is an indication of the wise and resilient self you lost. Some troubles you attack with full force. You beat them down. You shovel the debris off to the side and you keep going. Some you approach with caution and tact. You whittle at each piece, as delicately as you can. Some you ride out until they fizzle out and lose their power to rattle you. Look at how you manage you present troubles and you might discover the “you” you lost.
C. Re-evaluate the essence of you.
Your personality, image, beliefs, lifestyle, relationships, career, immediate goals and long-ranged dreams are some of the elements, which constitute the essence of who you are. Refresh old boundaries. Adjust your level of flexibility. Streamline your stance on compromise, taking cognizance of significant relationships.
D. Commit to living with authenticity.
Even with all you learn on your journey back to you, it can still be difficult to live with authenticity. You could face opposition (blatant or subtle). Acknowledge this and any other likely difficulty and devise strategies to deal with and walk away from them. A daily dose of positive self-talk that reinforces your convictions and pumps up your confidence will help you get over the fear hurdle and stride confidently along the path of busyness and expectations of conformity.
Have you lost “you” along the crowded and busy highway of life? Take some time for a personal journey back to you and allow everything you discover to inspire you to live with authenticity.
(Published in the Trinndad Guardian’s Womanwise Magazine Sunday 7th October, 2012)