“I don’t know who I am or what I want. I feel lost,” said Jane during our first session.
“When’s the last time you didn’t feel lost?” I ask.
“I honestly can’t remember. It’s been a very long time.”
Jane was recommended to see me by a colleague. She had lost touch with who she was and in her words, lacked direction and purpose in her life. It’s like she was dropped in the middle of a bad neighbourhood with no instructions on what to do and where to go. She hails an uber and instead of telling the driver where to take her, because she doesn’t know, she desperately tells them “take me away from here.”
In this case, I am her uber driver…for happiness.
“Let’s say we have figured this out. You are no longer lost. You are living the dream in fact. What’s changed?”
“I will know who I am, what’s important to me and what I want.”
Vocalising this out loud was a big aha moment. We open up Google Maps and plug this in as the first destination. This is a good neighbourhood. A great neighbourhood even. The grass is green, the pavements have no cracks in them and other than pretending not to notice your neighbour’s dog pissing on your lawn, life’s pretty good.
When people feel “lost”, they themselves are not lost. They have simply lost touch with themselves. To quote the late Trappist monk Thomas Merton, “people may spend their whole lives climbing the ladder of success only to find, once they reach the top, that the ladder is leaning against the wrong wall”. By the time we realise that our ladder is up against the wrong wall, we have been climbing it for so long that it’s difficult to imagine a life climbing anything else. The deep sensation of feeling lost comes from the uncertainty of not knowing whether we will be able to find the ladder we are meant to climb.
This is why values are so important. Our values define what is important to us. Values are like the anchor on a boat. The anchor holds the boat in position when things are going well, allowing time to fish and sleep peacefully under under the stars, and when things are not going well, such as when there is a big storm with massive waves. Values are the same. Whether things are going well or not, they give us something stable to rely on.
I worked with Jane to discover her values. In only a few months, she transformed. She gained a sense of clarity that she hadn’t experienced in a long time. The beautiful thing about understanding our values is that we can immediately start living into them through our actions. This gives a sense of alignment. A sense of confidence that your ladder is up against the right wall.
So what is important to you? What are your values?
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Much love to you and of course, to myself.