Social media can be quite overwhelming when you’re trying to figure your life out – especially when timelines are flooded with snapshots of people’s success and (seemingly) lavish lifestyle. We are drawn to measuring our success against another person’s highlight reel. What we see on social media is rarely ever a complete picture or accurate representation of a person’s life – yet somehow we often fall prey to the comparison trap.
“Comparison is the thief of joy.” ~ Theodore Roosevelt
Life’s challenges and painful experiences often leave us feeling lost – wondering where to go next or how to move forward. It may feel like everyone around us is so far ahead that it’s impossible to ‘catch up’. The funny thing is, we aren’t necessarily meant to! Life is not a race or competition. Everyone’s path is different. This is something I have been realising a lot over the past few years, so I thought I would share some thoughts and tips on how to find direction when you feel lost.
1) Success is a journey, not a destination.
There is no finality to success. Success is relative – not absolute, and how we define it varies according to culture, morals, values and so much more. When we let go of the idea that “I will be successful when…”, we learn to appreciate and be proud of all the small triumphs and accomplishments we experience in life. True success is learning and growing – especially when you feel stagnant during times of struggle, pain and confusion.
2) Walk your own path, at your own pace.
We often feel as though we are failures when we haven’t accomplished that one specific thing we set out to do; especially if someone else has succeeded in that thing. Your journey in life is exactly that – yours! It is not about looking left, right or even behind you to see how far someone else is in comparison to you; just focus on yourself – after all, it’s not a race.
3) Don’t wonder, wander.
The saying goes: “Not all who wander are lost.” ~ J. R. R. Tolkien
Sometimes in life, it is when we feel lost that we have to keep exploring. Just because you may not know where to go or what to aim for, doesn’t mean you are any less successful or worthy. You learn so much more about yourself, others and life in general when you wander. Moreover, just because you feel lost, it doesn’t mean you actually are. When we embrace the season of wandering rather than wondering, we learn to enjoy the process -despite the uncertainty.
4) Focus on what you want out of life.
Not all that glistens is gold. Never pursue something (a job, relationship or material possessions) simply because someone else thinks you should. Furthermore, even if someone else’s lifestyle or career seems appealing, that is not reason enough to follow in their footsteps – especially if you haven’t established your own purpose and identity. God blesses us in different ways; with different skills and abilities. Don’t focus on what others are doing or what they have, focus on true self-development instead. Your purpose still stands – regardless of what others do or say.
5) Take social media breaks when things seem too overwhelming.
“Inner peace is the new success.” ~ Maryam Hasnaa
If what you see has a negative impact on you, remove the things obstructing your view. It’s also important to follow people who are encouraging, inspiring and uplifting, which enables you to see positive things in your feed. Sometimes it’s crucial to take a step back when things become too intense, to preserve your peace and sanity.
6) Take time out to reflect on why you feel lost.
Process all the things/situations that are causing you to feel lost and write them down. Try to focus more on what you can control instead of what you can’t. Self-reflection and acknowledging how you feel and why helps you to truly make sense of your reality. It also enables you to think of what can help you to move forward.
Last but by no means least…
Talking to God and totally leaving our worries and concerns with Him can provide instant relief. He wants us to cast our cares upon Him because He cares for us – even when He seems far away. God’s plan for us is far greater than we can even imagine. That doesn’t mean there won’t be any hurdles or bumps along the way. Any setback we have is a setup for a comeback! When we don’t know which way to turn, God is there to help and guide us. He knows and holds the future, so we should always have faith that He is in control – when things appear out of control. Philippians 4:6-7 states that we should “pray about everything” and tell God what we need. Never be too afraid to make your requests known to God. Ask him for the clarity and direction you need. He will answer.
“Two roads diverged in a wood, and I, I took the one less travelled by… And that has made all the difference.” ~ Robert Frost
Don’t worry if it appears that others are going in a completely different direction to you. Travelling down your own path may seem lonely at times, but you’ll eventually see the benefits of choosing the path that’s best for you. It’s better to walk alone than to follow the crowd in the wrong direction.
Scriptures to Encourage You:
1) “For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.”
~ Jeremiah 29:11 (NLT)
2) “Trust in the Lord with all your hear and do not depend on your own understanding; seek His will in all you do, and He will show you which path to take.”
~ Proverbs 3:5-6 (NIV)
I hope you feel encouraged after reading this post. All the thoughts and tips I’ve shared have helped me on my journey when I didn’t know where to turn.
You may feel lost now, but I am living proof that you will find your way.