If you recognize these 10 feelings, you’re still unsure which path to take in life

One of the hardest things about life is figuring out what to do with it.

Because if you don’t choose your path in this life, one will be chosen for you. And you can almost guarantee that it won’t be one designed around what you most value and most enjoy.

But picking your path isn’t easy. And often, it seems like everyone around you has their own ideas about what you should pursue and what you shouldn’t.

It’s easy to get caught up in the day-to-day business of living and forget about your purpose. But there are some feelings that can tell you that you still haven’t chosen what you want to do with your life.

And these feelings shouldn’t be ignored.

1) You feel restless

One of the surest signs that something is wrong is when you can’t relax.

Ultimately, you can’t lie to yourself. And when something is wrong or missing in your life, your mind will often tell you by making it impossible to rest.

You may find yourself fidgeting. You may find yourself feeling bored, but not wanting to do anything that would occupy you.

You may struggle to sleep at night.

These are all signs that there is something bothering you. And often, a lack of purpose in your life is exactly the kind of thing that will keep you awake at night.

2) You feel uncertain

Being uncertain about what you want to do with your life can show itself in uncertainty in other areas, too.

Do you have problems making decisions about anything, from what to wear to what to eat?

Are you uncertain about what the future holds and find it impossible to imagine what your life will look like five or ten years from now?

It might sound obvious, but sometimes the truth is. If you are uncertain about which path to take in life, it can show up as a lingering uncertainty and inability to make decisions about just about anything else.

3) You second-guess your choices

When you feel lost, doubt can start to creep into every decision you make.

After all, when you don’t have a good sense of purpose to motivate you through life, it’s easy to feel like you’re just drifting, and it’s hard to trust your own choices.

After a while, you can start to become terrified of failure, and this can prevent you from making the positive choices you need to make to choose a path in life.

Take some advice from famous psychologist Abraham Maslow: “Don’t be scared of making mistakes. Jump in, do your best, and hope to learn from the slip-ups to get better.”

Every important choice you make in life comes with some risk of failure. But it’s those leaps of faith we have the courage to make that often set us on the right path in life.

4) You feel unfulfilled

I’ve been here before.

There was a time in my life when I had an idea of the kind of life I wanted, but no idea how to get there.

I had an ok job and lived in a decent enough apartment, but nothing about my life really thrilled me.

I was just going through the motions.

What I realized then is that feelings like that are your best friend. They tell you when something isn’t right, or when a situation is unworthy of your dreams and your abilities.

If you feel unfulfilled with what you’re doing in life, don’t ignore it. Don’t tell yourself that that’s how everyone feels.

It’s not, and even if it was, that doesn’t mean you should live a purposeless life just because everybody else does.

5) You’re always tired

This is one of the more physical manifestations of feeling lost.

I mentioned earlier the restlessness that can come from not having a direction, and how that can affect your sleep patterns. But it’s also true that not knowing which way to go in life can make you mentally fatigued.

As this study suggests, it’s easier to push ourselves harder when we feel strongly motivated to do something. But when you haven’t yet chosen your path in life, it’s hard to summon the motivation to push through challenges and work hard.

Instead, you may feel a constant low-level fatigue that makes you unwilling or unable to try anything demanding.

Unfortunately, that fatigue can make it even harder to find a passion worth pursuing.

But the good news is, once you do, you’ll find your abilities coming right back to you. Find something worth devoting your time to, and you’ll be amazed how easily that mental and even physical fatigue vanishes.

6) You cling to the past

if you recognize these signs you may be holding onto resentment from a past relationship If you recognize these 10 feelings, you’re still unsure which path to take in life

When the present doesn’t satisfy you, it’s tempting to cling to the past.

That’s why people who are unhappy in life often spend a lot of time either thinking about the future or remembering the past.

There’s nothing necessarily wrong with that. It only becomes a problem when you cling to the past at the expense of the present.

You neglect to pay attention to what is happening in the here-and-now because you are busy thinking about what happened days, years, or decades ago.

Mindfulness is a powerful antidote to this. By focusing on the present, you can find the joy even in a fairly mundane existence.

7) You avoid other people

When you feel lost in life, it’s easy to start feeling negatively about everything. And often, this can cause you to withdraw from other people.

When you yourself feel lost and directionless, it can be hard to be around people who seem to have their lives together.

Also, it can be painful to talk about yourself when you feel as if nothing is going on in your life that might interest others.

“Social withdrawal can be associated with shame, low self-esteem, and fear of rejection,” writes psychologist Geralyn Dexter. “In addition, lack of social interaction can lead to feelings of loneliness, isolation, and physical, cognitive, and mental health issues.”

So even though it’s hard to stay engaged with other people when you’re feeling directionless, it’s important not to lose your social ties.

If you allow yourself to become isolated, it can make you feel even more lost and unhappy than you already were.

8) You don’t take care of yourself

Staying healthy requires effort. And when you feel like you don’t know where to turn in life, it can be hard to summon the will power to make the effort you need.

So if you’re feeling lost, your physical health may suffer.

You may neglect your exercise regime. You may stop taking care of your personal appearance because everything feels pointless.

No longer taking care of yourself can also be a sign of depression. So if you no longer have the energy to take care of yourself, it may be a sign of a deeper issue.

9) Every day feels the same

We all get stuck in a rut from time to time. After all, life can’t always be a grand adventure.

As psychologist Kendra Cherry writes, “Fear of stepping outside your comfort zone can also cause you to feel stuck in a rut. You want to do something different, but a fear of the unknown or a fear of failure is stopping you from taking action. To ease your fears, you do nothing at all and, instead, remain where you are.”

If you feel like you’re living the same day over and over again, that’s a bad sign that you’re not finding purpose in the way you are living. Instead, you’re just going through the motions, as if you’re on a treadmill, doing the same thing day after day and getting nowhere.

It can be hard to break out of a repetitive cycle. But if you’re going to find some direction in life, that’s exactly what you need to do. And if you do feel like you’re living the same day over and over again, it may well be because you haven’t yet discovered the right direction for you.

10) You look for approval from others

When you struggle to find your own path, it can often seem easier to just follow the path of others.

And this can show itself by an excessive concern with the approval of others. After all, if you can’t win your own approval, winning the approval of other people can seem like a good way to feel good again.

But ultimately, it’s hollow. The approval of anyone else on earth will never matter as much as your own approval of your life choices.

So if you are living your life in a way designed to make others approve of your actions, you’re heading in the wrong direction.

Living without purpose

It’s certainly possible to live a directionless life. People do it every day.

You were born for better than that. So if you recognize these feelings in yourself, pay attention. Because they can demonstrate that you haven’t yet chosen the right path for you.

Clifton Kopp

Clifton Kopp

Welcome to my writings on Ideapod! I'm a bit of a "polymath" in that I like writing about many different things. Often I'm learning from the process of writing. I hope you enjoy, and please leave a comment on one of my articles.

Enhance your experience of Ideapod and join Tribe, our community of free thinkers and seekers.

Related articles

Most read articles

Get our articles

Ideapod news, articles, and resources, sent straight to your inbox every month.