Do you feel lost? Abandoned? Lonely? Like you don’t even know who you are anymore?
You are not alone.
Many times, over the course of your lifetime, you are likely to feel this way. As women and caregivers, we often give so much of ourselves that there is nothing left for ourselves in return. We are pulled in so many directions all the time and we try to give 100% to everyone who needs us.
Our children need us to care for them. Our partner needs care and support. We have to keep the house picked up. Our job needs us. Our friends need us. The list goes on.
After you have given all you can to everyone else, what is left? How do you find yourself again when, most of the time, you don’t even notice something is wrong? You just keep on doing what you have to do to get to the next day—and then do it again.
Below are 10 signs you may have forgotten yourself.
1. Loss of Passion
You are losing your passion when you find little motivation to do the things you love. You know what you need to do and you want to do it well. But you just can’t make yourself do it.
When numbness sets in, you no longer feel the natural highs and lows that come with everyday life. You may even feel like there is a fogginess in your thinking. You don’t care about much of anything.
3. People Drain You
It’s normal for some people to drain you. Everyone is different and some people are more difficult. However, if the people who usually lift you up are causing you to feel drained, there is something more going on.
4. You Think Everyone Only Cares about Themselves
As you get older, it’s hard not to become cynical. You’ve lived a lot and people have hurt you or taken you for granted. But, if you cannot see the kindness of anyone you meet, that is more about you and losing connection with yourself. It’s less about other people and their motives.
5. Excessive Anger
You find yourself mad at everything. Maybe a family member put their shoes where they don’t belong. Instead of gently reminding them to put their shoes away, you scream at them or throw their shoes across the room.
6. You Don’t Laugh
You find little amusing anymore. Or, you can’t remember the last time you had a good laugh.
7. You Make Poor Decisions
You make poor decisions. And you do things you wouldn’t normally do, like buy an expensive car without talking it through with your partner. Maybe you put your relationship in danger and consider having an affair.
8. You’re Unproductive
Everything slows down. What you normally could do in ten minutes takes an hour. Even the simplest task takes forever, either due to lack of energy or little-to-no motivation.
9. You’re Self-Medicating
When things start to crumble and you don’t know how to stop it, you may begin self-medicating. This can come in several forms: drinking, gambling, overeating, overworking, sex, or even overspending.
10. You’re Unsatisfied by Everything
You don’t find satisfaction in things you have found enjoyment in previously. You don’t feel rested when you sleep. Prayer or meditation don’t bring you peace. You aren’t even able to enjoy the time you spend with your friends.
How to Find Yourself
It is difficult to find yourself when you have forgotten to take care of yourself. Healing starts with recognizing it, taking responsibility, and accepting you are in trouble. Take some time away from your everyday life and think about how you got to this place. You could even make a timeline of your accomplishments. Include some of the negative things that have had a significant impact on your life.
When you are done looking back, it’s time to look to the future. This is where you dream big. Let go of all the perceived expectations you’ve had of yourself to this point. Take the time to think about what will make you happy going forward. Then, narrow those down to manage goals that fit your passion. These goals can be anything. Maybe you’ve always wanted to run a 5k. You can make a plan to walk, and build from there.
This will not change everything overnight. But, it gets you started in a new direction. It ignites the fires of passion you thought were gone. You now have new goals and new things to look forward to—with you as the primary focus. You are on your way to finding yourself again.