Many people leaving cults or high-pressure groups understandably say they feel lost.  How could they not? Their entire confidence and identity were associated with the false narrative assigned to them while being unduly influenced. What they thought to be true, they now know is false. The secure path they were on is no longer there.  

The consequence of this experience often leaves one feeling unsure and it can even be outright scary. At one point you have all the answers and now you have few or none. You may feel this has delayed your progress and you resent the fact that you must start over again to find your way. But does it have to be scary? Do you have to resent this detour that has left you stranded?

May I offer you a different perspective?

Have you ever been lost while walking or driving to a destination? I mean truly lost, not just making a wrong turn while following your GPS. When this happens you may ask yourself, how did I get here, and how am I going to find my way? You may feel scared. You may become anxious because you have somewhere to be at a certain time.

Your brain goes into overdrive and tries to find a path to your destination.  As you make your way, you’re learning all about the area you’re in. Maybe you find something there you wouldn’t have discovered otherwise. A nice restaurant you’d like to try or a nice park you’d love to visit sometime. And how about that satisfaction when you find your way out? Feels great, doesn’t it? You overcome, you learn – you find another path, you may even end up changing your destination. And if you ever find yourself there again, you’ll know which way to go.

Your journey through life is not so different. Yes, you’re lost, but it doesn’t have to be a bad thing. No one is saying it will be easy or the process quick, but it can be an exciting opportunity. An opportunity to find your own path. An opportunity to find your own way.  

Along the way, you will experience things you have never experienced before. You’ll learn more than you ever would have if you had not detoured from the road you traveled. Whether your destination was toward joy or meaning, your adventure will be your adventure and so much better than before. And if you ever find yourself lost again, you’ll know which way to go or be confident enough to find your way anew.

Feeling lost can be uncomfortable and scary. But being lost can lead you somewhere better. 

Ruben Ortiz