There are many areas in our life that we can feel lost with and find it hard to gain clarity towards what to do next.
For example we may want clarity towards:
The direction of your life
A relationship that is not serving you anymore
What gives you purpose and a career path that inspires you
How to improve your health
How to improve your financers
Our intuition sends us information that doesn’t always make sense. It’s connected with our unconscious mind and is the opposite to our biases, projections, and conditioning (learnt behaviours). Our intuition can be a subtle pull in a direction, without thinking analytically about it. It can be a creative thought that drops in, a warning signal, a whisper, a pull and a knowing without being able to explain it.
To get access to our intuition we need to clear the path.
It's like pushing away the film, leaves and algae from the surface of the water column clearing a path for sunlight to shine through, helping to oxygenate the water for things to grow and thrive. If we hold onto limiting beliefs about ourselves we are not giving ourselves the best environment to thrive in and grow. We are limited by the amount of light that comes in.
To approach a situation with curiosity and no judgment enables us to live from our intuition. Often, we know what we want but it’s clouded by our past experiencers and when we continue to listen to our fear and beliefs, we can ignore important information that’s connected to our authentic self and this creates inner conflict. A part of us wants a different life and another part wants to stay comfortable and fears change.
When people talk about being authentic what they are saying is, who are you outside of your conditioning? If you were to follow your intuition, where would you be? If you were to create from your intuition, what would you create? How would you express your ideas?
Conformity kills our creativity. We are not creative and innovative, when we follow. When we are following, we become lost because we haven’t been creating our own path and using our intuition. This is no fault of ours. Growing up we learnt from our surroundings; we learnt from society, and we learnt what behaviour is positively reinforced (rewarded) and what behaviour is not okay (punished). This shapes us, and it’s called human conditioning. In psychology text books there are two main types of human conditioning that I suggest you read up on, so you know what has shaped your personality and behaviour in life.
Operant conditioning and Classical Conditioning
“Through operant conditioning, an association is made between a behavior and a consequence (whether negative or positive) for that behavior.”- Kendra Cherry
For example, this is when you get punished such as a time out or spanked for misbehaving (defined by the caregiver). A more subtle example, is when you express excitement towards something as a child and your care giver dismisses it by what they say or how they look at you and it feels like a negative response.
“The classical conditioning process involves pairing a previously neutral stimulus (such as the sound of a bell) with an unconditioned stimulus (the taste of food).”- Kendra Cherry
Example of this is when you have a panic attack driving because of a past traumatic experience and before that experience you could drive with ease. Another example, is when a student dislikes a subject because they clash with the teacher. It might not be the subject but the person teaching it is making it unenjoyable.
Clearing the path to be able to walk down it means we need to understand that we have unconscious (existing without being aware of it) rules in life that we created from being hurt. We need to look beyond these rules to create a different outcomes in our life.
We form beliefs that focus on the negatives, so rather than creating a life we love. We can be struggling because we’re focusing on the negatives. The more challenges you were exposed to and trauma during your up bringing, the harder it is to have clarity about situations that impact your life.
Growing up I had a very loud and dysregulated (anxious) home environment. I realised as an adult I was quite an anxious person. I loved keeping busy and hated sitting quietly. I felt uneasy and worried when I was bored, wasn’t at work or doing something physical. I didn’t realise that was anxiety, I just thought I was an active person that didn’t like to sit still.
When I was going through a quarter life crisis, I quit my job and moved to Sydney to study Psychology. Again, taking action without sitting still and being present with myself. While I was living in a house on my own, I decided it was time to learn how to meditate. For 2 min a day I would sit with meditation music and breath. At first it was hard for me to do this and it did get easier the more I did it. Now, I can do it for an hour and if I am with a group of people, I can mediate for two hours.
My ability to self-regulate has improved dramatically, enabling me to be emotionally stronger in stressful situations. I also hired a coach and started my own business from the clarity I gained with being present. I realised that traditional psychology was not my style and moved back to Albury-Wodonga where I studied Holistic Counselling and Psychotherapy. This was the exact course for me and felt completely in alignment with what I love doing. I also worked with a Holistic Counsellor and Psychotherapist for over two years who helped me through past trauma (experiencers that were emotional hard for me that I had not processed) and as a result, I was able to make the hardest decision of my life and leave a 6 year relationship. I also move to a new location by the beach. I had the clarity I needed and the emotional strength because I did the inner and outer work. When leaving a relationship, having the ability to self-regulate is one of the most important things. People are scared to leave relationships as they fear being alone. Building the emotional strength and regulating your nervous system is the best way to gain the clarity you need when faced with making hard decisions in life.
I have gone from being an anxious, hard working, always active person to someone that can sit quietly, meditate in a nurturing space for around two hours. I also know how to ground myself and regulate my nervous system when I have been triggered. So how does this all help with clarity. When we’re regulated and grounded we get answers to situations without trying to find the answers and we feel more confident and stronger to make changes in our life that feel uncomfortable.
How Do You Gain Clarity When You’re Feeling Lost?
Learn how to be present with yourself. Sit quietly in a nurturing space. Start with 2 min a day.
Journal. Write down what you want clarity on and ask yourself questions about it
Process past trauma. See a professional. When we find it difficult to sit with ourselves this is because we have supressed emotional experiencers and they are coming to the surface when you are not distracted. When we’re stressed it’s hard to see our situation clearly? The support of a professional can help guide you with questions and can also see patterns and connections you can’t see yet.
Learn how to self-regulate. Here are some examples of how to ground yourself and regulate your nervous system: yoga, meditation, nature, walks, gardening, exercise and co-regulating (sitting with another person who is grounded and helps you regulate). When we are grounded, we have aha moments and creative ideas pop up.