Life is a journey, but sometimes the path we tread is more treacherous than we’d like to acknowledge.
You might look back at your choices, experiences and destinations so far, questioning whether you’re headed in the right direction or feeling lost amidst life’s endless possibilities.
How can you tell if you’re merely going through a rough patch or if you’re truly on the wrong path in life?
After reflecting deeply on my own journey and observing the paths of those around me, I’ve compiled a list of 10 signs that could help you navigate your life map.
If these strike a chord, it might be time to reconsider your current course.
1. You’re Constantly Unhappy
Happiness is not a constant state, and everyone experiences ups and downs. However, if you find yourself persistently unhappy, it could be a sign that you’re on the wrong path.
I’m not talking about those fleeting moments of dissatisfaction or frustration that come and go. This is about a deep-seated unhappiness that lingers and refuses to leave, no matter what you do.
It’s the kind of unhappiness that greets you every morning like a heavy cloud and follows you throughout the day.
If your current course in life is causing more misery than joy, it might be time to reevaluate your direction and find a path that brings more happiness and fulfillment into your life.
2. Your Stress Levels Are Through the Roof
Stress, much like unhappiness, is a part of life. We all go through periods of stress, and a healthy amount of stress can even be helpful in motivating us to do better.
That said, there’s a difference between manageable stress that motivates and chronic stress that stifles.
How do you know if your stress level has crossed over from manageable to chronic? When you’re regularly feeling overwhelmed, anxious or under constant pressure.
When, like unhappiness, it lingers.
That’s a clear indication that things are not balanced in your life. Whether it’s your job, relationships, or personal decisions causing this stress, it’s important to recognize when your well-being is at stake.
Remember, being on the right path doesn’t mean being free of stress, but it does mean knowing how to handle it and not letting it consume you.
Otherwise, you’re just setting yourself up for a life where…
3. You’re Regularly Exhausted
Constant tiredness and exhaustion — both physically and emotionally — can be another red flag tht you’re on the wrong path.
Again, the keyword here is constant. We’re not counting those occasional times when it’s just been one of those terrible, horrible, no-good, very bad days.
For me, this was the red flag that woke me up. At the time, I was working in a job that I was not passionate about. Every morning was a struggle to get out of bed, and even after a full night’s sleep, I felt tired.
In fact, even when there wasn’t much to do at work, I’d find myself completely drained.
Taking the time to rest and recharge is crucial, but if you’re constantly feeling drained, it could be because your energy is being spent on things that don’t align with your true path. The inner struggle is what’s draining you.
Identifying this could be the first step towards finding a course that energizes and excites you rather than sapping your strength.
Which brings me to my next point…
4. Your Health Is Suffering
If you’ve got physical or mental health issues, there could be no more glaring sign that you’re on the wrong path than that.
Chronic stress, anxiety, or neglecting your physical well-being are all signs that something needs to change.
Your health is your wealth, and any path that jeopardizes it is likely not the right one for you.
5. You’re Ignoring Your Passions
Going back to what energizes and excites you, maybe it’s time to really ask yourself that.
See, one of the most telling signs that you’re on the wrong path is when you’re neglecting what you truly love.
For instance, I’ve always had a passion for writing, but there was a point in my life where I was so consumed with a high-demand job that I had no time to put pen to paper.
Days turned into weeks, weeks into months, and before I knew it, a year had passed without me writing a single word. And you know what? I did build up my bank account, but somehow, I felt empty inside.
It was then that I realized I was on the wrong path.
Your passions are not just hobbies or pastimes; they are integral parts of who you are. They are what make you feel alive, fulfilled, and connected to your true self.
If you find yourself constantly pushing your passions aside for what seems like more ‘urgent’ or ‘practical’ matters, the real you could be crying out for help. Reevaluate your priorities and make space for what truly lights your fire.
6. You’re Not Excited About the Future
This is the natural effect of not having passion about what you do and being on the wrong path — a lack of enthusiasm or excitement about what’s to come.
Because of course, what’s there to look forward to when you’re completely disconnected from the present?
Research shows that anticipation of a positive experience is directly linked to a feeling of well-being. It literally sparks neural activity in response to positive anticipation. This means that looking forward to something can actually make us happier.
The right path should inspire you and make you feel eager to discover what’s around the corner.
7. You Feel Stuck
What’s more, the lack of anticipation and enthusiasm leads to this next sign: feeling stuck or stagnant.
Life should be about growth, learning, and progress. If you feel like you’re in the same place you’ve been for a while, with no movement or advancement, it could be time to reconsider your direction.
Don’t let fear of change hold you back from pursuing a path that allows for growth and personal development.
8. You’re Always Comparing Yourself to Others
Another sign that you might be on the wrong path is if you’re constantly measuring yourself against others.
We all do it sometimes; it’s a natural human inclination, after all.
The thing is, if that’s all we ever do, something’s not quite right. Because ultimately, what it means is that: a) We’re content being on the sidelines watching everybody live their lives, and b) We’re not focusing on our own path.
Look, the right path is individual and unique, because we are individual and unique. So there’s no use comparing ourselves to others. You’d just be setting yourself up for a life where you feel inadequate.
Remember, there’s no set timeline for life’s milestones, and your path is yours alone.
9. You’re Constantly Justifying Your Choices
Ever been in a situation where you feel the need to constantly explain and re-explain your choices? I have.
There was a time in my life when I felt like I was living on the defense, always having to justify my decisions, whether it was about my career, hobbies, or even the way I chose to spend my weekends. I’d even justify it to myself!
That should have been my clue that I wasn’t on the right path. Having to justify my choices meant that deep down, I knew they weren’t serving me well.
When we’re on the right path, our choices feel in sync with our inner truth, and they naturally align with our values and aspirations.
So if you’ve got a niggling feeling, or a tiny voice in the back of your mind questioning if you’re truly doing what’s best for yourself…listen to that voice. It’s trying to steer you to the right path.
And here’s the thing — when you’re finally where you should be, you will know. No matter what the people around you say, that tiny voice in your head will be quiet. That means you’ve made choices you’re truly at peace with.
This leads me to my final point…
10. You’re Not Being True to Yourself
Like I said, when you’re on the right path, you will KNOW.
There won’t be any discomfort or feeling of exhaustion that you’re living according to someone else’s expectations or ideals.
If there is, that’s a sign that you’re still on the wrong path. That you aren’t living life according to your values, beliefs, and dreams — all the unique aspects of yourself.
Your life should reflect who you are at your core. Anything less is a detour from your authentic path.