What does one do when they feel: Lost Guilty Shame Fell off No purpose?

I won’t get into specifics about it all but Im just looking for a path to follow to help me break through my issues… hopefully the solution can be done alone
Asked by SM

I will start by saying thank you for your question and writing about your struggle with feeling lost, guilt, shame, falling off and lack of purpose. I think there is no one way to resolve these issues and that each person may handle dealing with these things differently, but I definitely think there are ways to suggest you could deal with these feelings and then you can make it your own. The first thing that stands out to me as I read your question is I would tend to put feeling lost and not having a purpose together a bit. I think if you are able to find a sense of purpose then maybe you would feel a better sense of direction or maybe a sense of grounding versus a feeling of being lost.

As far as finding purpose- I think about a couple of things: the first is purpose can come from something you do. So, what are the things that you do? How do you spend your time? Depending on the answer to this question, I would then encourage you to spend time doing things that make you feel good or give you a sense of satisfaction. I would encourage you to think about the things you have done in your life, and then the things that you might want to do. If you are in a place of not knowing what you want to do with your time and energy, that is okay. Sometimes it takes time to figure this out. In the meantime, again how can we fill your time in a way that makes you feel good, accomplished or energized.  Another good way to gain a sense of purpose is to find a way to help. So whether that be considering your role in your family or your relationships and maybe thinking of ways you can contribute. Another way to help could be to volunteer or get involved in something where you are giving back in some way. This could even be something as simple as cleaning out your closet and donating the items to a homeless shelter or clothing donation program. Last thought on gaining a sense of purpose is I would wonder if there has been any point or time that you have felt a sense of purpose or when you did not feel lost. If the answer to this is yes, then I would wonder what was happening at that time, what made you feel purposeful, grounded or having a good sense of direction. And then once you can identify this, then maybe trying to think of ways you can apply that to your current life situation. 

An idea to address "falling off" - The first word that comes to mind for me would be reconnect. The next would be "pick back up". So, if you have fallen off from friends/family, reconnect. Initiate a conversation. Send a text message. Sometimes people just like to hear from you and it doesn't have to be a big conversation, something simple like "thinking of you and hope you are well" can go a long way. Pick back up, if you have fallen off of whatever goals you were trying to pursue, whatever habits you are trying to maintain, pick it back up. Getting started back again is often the hardest part. Remember it takes 21 days to form a habit so it may take a while to get in a routine. Additionally, I think it is important to keep the expectations realistic. If we set our goals to an unrealistic height then we can create unrealistic pressures for ourselves and this then creates negative thoughts that are not entirely warranted. Start small, one step at a time. Small changes accumulate into big changes. 

And lastly, guilt and shame. These are tough ones. Guilt is tough and shame is tougher. So the first big thing I recommend to get through these is to acknowledge whatever is causing you these feelings, verbally if possible. If you are feeling guilty about something you have done the first step to relieving that feeling is "admission of wrong-doing". We can feel shame for other reasons and we may feel shame about something that happened to us, versus something we have done but I would still say first step is to vocalize what you are feeling ashamed about and talking to someone you trust to listen to you. If you are uncomfortable with that, second best option would be to externalize those feelings in other ways such as writing them down. Oftentimes this leads to the second step of "receiving grace and acceptance". So for example, I might feel ashamed about something as a first time mom and then I talk to one of my friends who is also a mom and realize what I am going through is very normal and common. Shame can be lifted through vulnerability which requires some level of risk but the reward is greater. Again being vulnerable and real is going to get you further than trying to fight the shame away. Address the person. Address the situation. Address the insecurities. Whatever it is. And then the third step to relieve these things is "repentance". Essentially this means taking action to do better or focusing energy on doing better as a way to make up for past wrongs. This has a healing power to it that can be very transformative in mind, heart and behavior. 

I hope this helps and good luck.