These five signs will let you know whether you are traveling down the wrong path.
If you are reading this, then some part of you must already wonder if you are walking the path you were meant to. Have you been asking yourself, “How do I find my true path?”
Maybe you wake up every morning and just dread reliving the same day over and over? Do you drag yourself to work and wonder whether you are in the right place? Is it harder each day to convince yourself to get out of bed? Or perhaps you wonder why it matters at all?
Sure, we all have moments like this, and depression, as a mental health issue, has many of the same symptoms. Sometimes, though, these feelings are your mind and body’s way of telling you you’re traveling down the wrong path.
It is essential to find your way because it will keep you going in the right direction and help you feel balanced and fulfilled. Don’t worry, these five signs will quickly let you know whether you are walking the wrong way.
You have a troublesome time finding balance in anything
Being out of balance looks different to every person. Maybe you are doing “too much” of something, like:
You might continuously clean your house, so it looks like a magazine ad. Then, a little while later, it might look like a bomb went off. What are your habits and your living space trying to tell you? It’s all about balance. So if anything is extreme in one way or another, there is likely something off.
That unbalanced feeling is no fun! It’s tough to exist in a space where it feels like you don’t know whether you are coming or going, need to give more or less, or are devoting too much energy to one aspect of your life.
You can reclaim the balance in your life by looking around at the more profound meaning. Are you working more and more hours to pay for things that do not bring you joy? Do you put in extra time at work because you don’t want to go home? What is going on in your house that overwhelms you and is it something you can correct by changing paths?
Imagine you work an evening shift while your kids are in school and come in earlier and earlier in the afternoon because nothing is going on at your house. Later, you feel guilty about being at work so much because you feel you are ignoring other areas of your life. Looking at how to improve your balance in your day will set you on the right path.
The answer to getting on your path is uniquely different for every individual, so I can’t tell you how to answer the questions you ask yourself, only that they are essential to ask and answer. These five signs are a good starting point for critical thinking about the path you are walking.
Your body is trying to tell you you’re on the wrong path every way it knows how
Do you have trouble waking up in the morning? You blame this on not getting enough sleep or having enough caffeine, but deep down, you know it might be because you aren’t happy where you are in life. Increased tiredness is not the only alert system that your body uses to signal that you are on the wrong path.
Has your health felt like it has been declining lately? Have you been experiencing headaches, illnesses, and stomach aches? Do you have chronic pain your doctors can’t explain? Does it feel like you are buckling underneath the stress in your mind and focusing on the task at hand is difficult?
Your physical health is another tool that your body uses to show you are on the wrong path. Our body takes the uncertainty and subconscious thoughts we have and tries to get our attention.
Your body doesn’t just use physical symptoms, but mental ones as well. If you have felt like you are more anxious lately, it is likely coming from fear. You know that something is not quite right, but you are afraid of what has to happen next.
Getting off the wrong path can involve some hard work and significant changes. These things are often scary and deter you from correcting the course you are currently taking.
You are experiencing an insatiable need for change
I had been working at my retail management job for a few years. It was a good job with decent pay and excellent benefits. Most days, I enjoyed it, but about a year ago, something happened to me. I read an article about acedia, and I recognized some symptoms in myself (they sound a lot like walking the wrong path).
Suddenly, I craved change, like it was my drug of choice. I wanted to lose weight, cut my hair, buy new clothes, start walking around the lake, and I wanted to write.
The desire to change so many things at one time was overwhelming. I didn’t realize until I started incorporating a daily practice (that promoted a healthy environment for self-reflection), and started writing, that what I genuinely wanted was to change the course of my life.
The concept of joy feels elusive
What do you spend most of your day doing? Does it bring you joy? Not moments of happiness, or a sense of mediocrity, but real unadulterated pleasure? If the answer is no, then the next question to ask yourself is, what brings you joy? That is where your correct path lies.
I find joy in writing things that may help and inspire others. Assisting people on their quest to realize their true potential thrills me. The kind of joy that brings you peace deep in your soul is the meaning of life.
If you don’t know what brings you joy, then explore the opportunities around you and don’t be afraid of encountering some near misses. If you find yourself with a million reasons you can’t do something, dig deeper and find out the real reason you are hesitant to try.
Is it fear of failure? Are you afraid that you might succeed and everything about your life will change? These challenging questions will lead you down a road of self-discovery that is necessary for growth.
You feel like everything is against you, and it was one roadblock after another
Sometimes, the universe gives up subtly and smacks you with a two-by-four. It feels like the more effort you put in to make something work, the more things go wrong. Chaos seems to run rampant despite your careful planning and repeated attempts to right the ship.
These are all ways that the universe uses to encourage you to jump off the hamster wheel. You can only spin in circles for so long before you become dizzy and incoherent.
This does not mean that good and meaningful things do not require effort and work, but in my experience, there is usually some indicator of things ‘aligning’ or feeling right. If that is missing, evaluate why!
Sometimes it takes a while to find your path
It is ok if you don’t find your path right away. You might even end up on some scenic roads that take you to your ultimate course the long way. The hardest thing for people is that sometimes we invest a lot of money and time on the wrong path.
For example, I have a Master’s degree in leadership and management. I have no desire to work in the corporate world and manage people ever again. I could have kept going, trying to fit the round peg of my personality into the square hole that is most corporate ideologies, but I would have hated every moment.
Instead, I use the skills I learned: clear communication, motivating and inspiring others, time management, and many others to follow my bliss and do what I love.
I don’t know yet where the combinations of my skills and passions will take me, but I wake up every day happier with where my life is. And there is no secret to it; you can do it too! The answer is to find balance, listen to your body, be open to change, find your joy, and pay attention to the signs.
It will require some introspection and a lot of work. It might feel uncomfortable at first, and you might wonder if it is worth it. I promise it is. Anytime you listen to yourself and feed your passion by working toward what you really desire, the results are phenomenal. Often, they far exceed the expectations we started the journey with, and that is what it feels like to walk the right path.