‘I miss my old self. I feel lost, and I have no idea how to find my way back. I’m not sure I even know who I am anymore.’
Sound familiar? While you might feel lost, your real self is actually still in there, buried under years of conditioning and experiences that have moulded you into the person you are today. But you’ve taken a huge step already – which is recognising that you’re feeling totally disconnected.
But how can you find YOU again and reconnect with who you truly are, deep down? If you’re missing yourself and who you used to be, read on to find out everything you need to know to begin your journey back to you.
Signs you’ve lost yourself
One of the biggest indicators of feeling lost is a sense of discontent that you can’t quite put your finger on. Losing yourself can be impacted by major life changes, relationships, and living your life through others, rather than for yourself. Here are some signs to look out for:
- Negative self-talk/unhelpful thinking habits
- Needing or seeking validation from others
- Lack of self-care
- Lack of interest in things you used to love doing
- Not having the confidence to set your own boundaries
- Feeling like you have no control over your life
Why do you feel lost, and what’s keeping you stuck?
While the above signs may suggest you feel lost, it’s important to figure out why you feel this way in the first place. What’s happened in your life? And more importantly, how much has it affected your self-esteem, inner confidence and self-perception? Whatever your circumstances, if you’re struggling with social anxiety, negative body image, or anything else that’s causing you to feel this way, it is possible to find a way back to yourself.
Additionally, while low self-esteem and feeling lost can be attributed to things that have happened in the past, added pressures can trigger or exacerbate low self-esteem. It’s already there, simmering under the surface. And when these pressures mount up, it’s no wonder we can become stuck. Let’s look at some of them now:
- Media and societal pressures – The media bombards us with images of the “ideal” body or lifestyle, perpetuating unrealistic standards. Constantly comparing yourself to these images can erode your self-esteem and lead to feelings of inadequacy.
- Negative self-talk – If you constantly berate yourself for not meeting these unattainable standards, you reinforce any negative beliefs you already had about yourself. This inner dialogue can drown out your true thoughts and feelings.
- Isolation – Low self-esteem often leads to social withdrawal. You might avoid social gatherings for fear of judgement or rejection. This leads to you isolating yourself from the world even further, and essentially, your own desires and aspirations.
- Emotional numbing – To cope with the pain of low self-esteem and body image issues, a lot of us turn to emotional numbing through unhealthy behaviours like overeating or undereating. These behaviours can provide temporary relief but ultimately disconnect us from our true selves.
Do any of these resonate with you? Low self-esteem and feeling like you’ve lost touch with yourself doesn’t just come out of nowhere. Here are some reasons that may have contributed to you feeling lost.
Losing yourself in a relationship
Relationships take work, and some relationships are far from harmonious. Finding yourself in a difficult relationship with a partner or family member can have a big impact on your self-esteem, and leave you feeling out of touch with yourself, too.
Even if it’s not a difficult relationship, you may be making sacrifices, or giving more than you’re receiving. Maybe you’re feeling disconnected from your partner, and there’s a lack of intimacy in your relationship. This may lead to you questioning whether your partner still loves you or finds you attractive.
Losing yourself as a parent
Becoming a parent is a blessing, but there’s often a sense of loss that comes with it. Many women report feeling a loss of identity after having children. We’re caregivers by nature, which is why we have a tendency to put others first. But the weight of responsibility can eventually affect your sense of self-worth, how much care you take over your appearance, and what life means for you beyond motherhood. Because, before children, you were just YOU.
Losing yourself as a result of mental illness
Depression, anxiety, or any other disorder can wreak havoc on your sense of self. Negative, unhelpful thought patterns skew your perception, and your mind gets stuck on a perpetuating cycle of low self-esteem.
How to find yourself again – the importance of reconnection
Finding your way back means taking the time to reconnect with your authentic self. This isn’t a self-indulgent pursuit; it’s an essential step on the path to personal growth and well-being. Re-establishing a strong connection with yourself can positively impact all areas of your life; from self-acceptance to healthier relationships.
Self-acceptance means knowing – and understanding – yourself. Having this level of awareness allows you to appreciate your entire self. When you know and understand who you are, you can start to appreciate yourself for your unique qualities and imperfections.
A strong connection with yourself can lead to improved emotional well-being. It enables you to better manage your emotions, cope with stress, and build resilience.
It can be challenging to form deep, meaningful connections with others when we feel disconnected from ourselves. Reconnecting with yourself is the first step toward building healthier, more authentic relationships.
Knowing yourself is the foundation for personal growth and self-improvement. When you’re connected to your true desires and passions, you can set meaningful goals and work toward becoming your best self.
Quick Tips to Reconnect
Reconnecting with yourself doesn’t have to be an exhausting or time-consuming process. Small changes and daily practices can make a significant difference in your journey toward self-discovery.
Here are some practical, quick tips to help you reconnect with your true self and start building a more positive self-perception:
1. Positive Affirmations
Create a list of positive affirmations that counteract negative beliefs about yourself. Repeat them daily to build self-esteem and self-confidence.
2. Practice self-compassion
Treat yourself with the same kindness and understanding that you would offer to a friend. Challenge negative self-talk and replace it with self-compassionate thoughts.
3. Mindfulness and self-reflection
Take time each day for mindfulness exercises, gratitude or journaling. These practices can help you become more aware of your thoughts, feelings, and desires.
4. Rediscover hobbies and passions
Reconnect with activities or interests that bring you joy and fulfilment. Doing things you love can reignite your sense of self and purpose.
5. Set boundaries
Establish healthy boundaries in your relationships and learn to say no when necessary. Boundaries protect your sense of self and prevent you from losing yourself in other people’s expectations or demands.
6. Seek professional help
If low self-esteem and negative body image are deeply ingrained, consider speaking with a therapist, counsellor or coach. They can provide guidance and tools to help you reconnect with yourself. If you want to explore what it’s like to work with me you can book a free 30 min call.
7. Free Self-Help
If you want to explore the beliefs and thoughts that are holding you back from accepting yourself I invite you to watch my FREE Self Acceptance Masterclass.
Reclaiming your Inner Strength
Struggling with low self-esteem and negative body image can make us feel like strangers to ourselves, but it doesn’t have to be this way. Reconnecting with yourself is a vital journey toward self-acceptance, emotional well-being, and personal growth. By understanding the reasons behind your disconnection and following these quick tips, you can gradually rediscover who you truly are and embrace your unique beauty and worth.
Remember, you are more than your appearance, and your self-worth is not determined by societal standards. Embrace your journey of self-discovery, and with time and patience, you’ll find the strength to reconnect with the beautiful and resilient woman you’ve always been.
Hey I’m Natalie, Supporting women like you on their road to self-acceptance and building their self-esteem is – as cliche as it sounds – my calling.