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Last Updated on March 25, 2020

Why You’re Feeling Empty and How to Fill the Void

Why You’re Feeling Empty and How to Fill the Void

Let’s imagine the situation when you struggle with ignoring and escaping the feeling of extreme purposelessness and emptiness. Although you know a little about what you enjoy, want from life and what you want to achieve in future, you are still tortured by the episodes of loneliness.

When you’re feeling empty, what does this mean exactly? And why do you feel empty?

What It Means When You’re Feeling Empty

Inner emptiness is caused by a lack of love according to psychology expert, Dr. Margaret Paul.[1] When you don’t love yourself, ignore your feelings and always try to get attention and approval from others, you can experience the inner emptiness.

All people are creative and full of potential, but not all of them use this potential and thus, waste their time and energy. We try to fill the void with food, relationships, work, and things that are supposed to distract our attention.

Symptoms of Emptiness and Void

In order to find the solution to the problem, we should learn how to tell whether we’re feeling empty inside. Understanding emptiness calls us to learn more about our inner feelings.

Let’s have a look at the most common symptoms of emptiness and void:

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  • You don’t understand who you are and your purpose in life;
  • You are full of negative thoughts;
  • You always seek for approval from family and friends;
  • You don’t know how to explain your feelings.

Sometimes, emptiness feels like an inner void, vacuum or a black hole.

Why Do You Feel Empty?

The most important thing to realize is that emptiness is a state of lack.

Majority of people who struggle with a chronic sense of emptiness had parents who were incapable of intimate relationships with them. When you do not get enough love and attention in the childhood, you start to believe that you are not good enough. That means that the real cause of inner emptiness is a lack of emotional connection and demonstration of love.[2]

As a result, this feeling can travel through our lives like baggage. The lack of belonging becomes a traumatic imprint that becomes so acutely uncomfortable that we are willing to do anything we can to get away from that particular feeling.

Although this feeling is not uncommon for many people, if left unattended, it can result in a chronic disorder such as depression. Furthermore, people tend to get out of this feeling with alcohol and drugs, which increases the chance of drug or alcohol addiction. That’s why having a clue about what is really important to you will help to know what causes you to feel empty inside.

How to Deal with Inner Emptiness

The key is fighting emptiness is to find out what you are missing. Is it a sense of belonging, meaning or interpersonal connection? Here are several suggestions from leading experts of how to recognize and deal with inner emptiness.

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1. Refocus and Rebalance Yourself

According to Kaitlyn Slight, a marriage and family therapist in Raleigh, N.C., we should focus on ourselves and spend more time thinking about our desires.[3]

In order to be in a positive state of body and mind, you can spend several minutes meditating or exercising.

The easiest way to rebalance yourself emotionally and physically is to take a warm bath.[4] Many researches have shown that bathing has a lot of benefits including pain relief, enhanced mobility, and improved psychological well-being.[5]

While it’s easy to get distracted by all the negative emotions you’re feeling, it’s important to recenter yourself by taking good care of yourself. Try to pick up some of these 30 Self-Care Habits for a Strong and Healthy Mind, Body and Spirit.

2. Find Your Needs with the Help of Others

Everybody has needs, but what makes the needs painful is when we think we cannot get what we need. We think that we have to meet them by ourselves, but sometimes, it is important to take action to get up and find someone to meet the need.

Asking for help can resolve many life issues and can be a first step towards meeting your needs. For example, if your need is for the company you don’t have to spend your time to figure out how to be your own company. Just go find a company.

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If you find it difficult to ask for help, check out these tips: How to Ask for Help When You Feel Silly to Do So

3. Appreciate and Treasure What You Have

Another way to heal your inner emptiness is through gratitude. Research suggests that feeling grateful is a very important positive emotion that allows people to expand their worldview and the view of themselves, which later leads to building better social relations and skills.[6] This means that individuals who are thankful are also more satisfied with their relationships with friends and family as well as they are less stressed and much happier.

Try to be appreciative for what is around you by noticing all good things we take for granted. A simple compliment given during the day will show you how much positive energy you can create.

These 32 Things You Should Be Grateful For can inspire you to be more grateful today.

4. Never Stop Exploring Something New

Neurobiologists have found out that learning something new has motivational effects similar to dopamine which leads to the emotional arousal.[7] That’s why each time you review the information you’ve learned before, add a couple of new facts.

Another good tip is to change your environment. Even such little things as changing lighting or temperature in your room can have a positive effect on your emotional state.

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5. Ask for a Professional Help If Needed

Many people cannot identify the reason behind this feeling no matter how long they psychoanalyzed themselves and searched for a problem. The main thing is not to give up!

Find a good therapist who will help you to find the causations of the inner void from the past and bring them to the present moment so that you can become whole again.

Final Thoughts

Finding the cause of inner emptiness can be a challenging and long process. But instead of distracting yourself by filling this emptiness with things like shopping, food, alcohol and drugs, you’d better find out what makes you feel incomplete and regain your happiness.

More to Help You Fill That Void

Featured photo credit: Fabrizio Verrecchia via unsplash.com

Reference

More by this author

Melissa Burns

Melissa is an entrepreneur and independent journalist. She writes about communication, entrepreneurship and success on Lifehack.

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Last Updated on September 18, 2020

13 Helping Points When Things Don’t Go Your Way

13 Helping Points When Things Don’t Go Your Way

For the original article by Celestine: 13 Helping Points When Things Don’t Go Your Way

“We all have problems. The way we solve them is what makes us different.” ~Unknown

“It’s not stress that kills us, it is our reaction to it.” – Hans Selye

Have you ever experienced moments when things just don’t go your way? For example, losing your keys, accidentally spilling your drink, waking up late, missing your buses/trains, forgetting to bring your things, and so on?

You’re not alone. All of us, myself included, experience times when things don’t go as we expect.

Here is my guide on how to deal with daily setbacks.

1. Take a step back and evaluate

When something bad happens, take a step back and evaluate the situation. Some questions to ask yourself:

  1. What is the problem?
  2. Are you the only person facing this problem in the world today?
  3. How does this problem look like at an individual level? A national level? On a global scale?
  4. What’s the worst possible thing that can happen to you as a result of this?
  5. How is it going to impact your life in the next 1 year? 5 years? 10 years?

Doing this exercise is not to undermine the problem or disclaiming responsibility, but to consider different perspectives, so you can adopt the best approach for it. Most problems we encounter daily may seem like huge issues when they crop up, but most, if not all, don’t have much impact in our life beyond that day.

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2. Vent if you have to, but don’t linger on the problem

If you feel very frustrated and need to let off some steam, go ahead and do that. Talk to a friend, complain, crib about it, or scream at the top of your lungs if it makes you happy.

At the same time, don’t get caught up with venting. While venting may temporarily relieve yourself, it’s not going to solve the problem ultimately. You don’t want to be an energy vampire.

Vent if there’s a need to, but do it for 15 to 20 minutes. Then move on.

3. Realize there are others out there facing this too

Even though the situation may be frustrating, you’re not alone. Remember there are almost 7 billion people in the world today, and chances are that other people have faced the same thing before too. Knowing it’s not just you helps you to get out of a self-victimizing mindset.

4. Process your thoughts/emotions

Process your thoughts/emotions with any of the four methods:

  1. Journal. Write your unhappiness in a private diary or in your blog. It doesn’t have to be formal at all – it can be a brain dump on rough paper or new word document. Delete after you are done.
  2. Audio taping. Record yourself as you talk out what’s on your mind. Tools include tape recorder, your PC (Audacity is a freeware for recording/editing audio) and your mobile (most mobiles today have audio recording functions). You can even use your voice mail for this. Just talking helps you to gain awareness of your emotions. After recording, play back and listen to what you said. You might find it quite revealing.
  3. Meditation. At its simplest form, meditation is just sitting/lying still and observing your reality as it is – including your thoughts and emotions. Some think that it involves some complex mambo-jumbo, but it doesn’t.
  4. Talking to someone. Talking about it with someone helps you work through the issue. It also gets you an alternate viewpoint and consider it from a different angle.

5. Acknowledge your thoughts

Don’t resist your thoughts, but acknowledge them. This includes both positive and negative thoughts.

By acknowledging, I mean recognizing these thoughts exist. So if say, you have a thought that says, “Wow, I’m so stupid!”, acknowledge that. If you have a thought that says, “I can’t believe this is happening to me again”, acknowledge that as well.

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Know that acknowledging the thoughts doesn’t mean you agree with them. It’s simply recognizing the existence of said thoughts so that you can stop resisting yourself and focus on the situation on hand.

6. Give yourself a break

If you’re very stressed out by the situation, and the problem is not time sensitive, then give yourself a break. Take a walk, listen to some music, watch a movie, or get some sleep. When you’re done, you should feel a lot more revitalized to deal with the situation.

7. Uncover what you’re really upset about

A lot of times, the anger we feel isn’t about the world. You may start off feeling angry at someone or something, but at the depth of it, it’s anger toward yourself.

Uncover the root of your anger. I have written a five part anger management series on how to permanently overcome anger.

After that, ask yourself: How can you improve the situation? Go to Step #9, where you define your actionable steps. Our anger comes from not having control on the situation. Sitting there and feeling infuriated is not going to change the situation. The more action we take, the more we will regain control over the situation, the better we will feel.

8. See this as an obstacle to be overcome

As Helen Keller once said,

“Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experiences of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, vision cleared, ambition inspired and success achieved.”

Whatever you’re facing right now, see it as an obstacle to be overcome. In every worthy endeavor, there’ll always be countless obstacles that emerge along the way. These obstacles are what separate the people who make it, and those who don’t. If you’re able to push through and overcome them, you’ll emerge a stronger person than before. It’ll be harder for anything to get you down in the future.

9. Analyze the situation – Focus on actionable steps

In every setback, there are going to be things that can’t be reversed since they have already occurred. You want to focus on things that can still be changed (salvageable) vs. things that have already happened and can’t be changed. The only time the situation changes is when you take steps to improve it. Rather than cry over spilt milk, work through your situation:

  1. What’s the situation?
  2. What’s stressing you about this situation?
  3. What are the next steps that’ll help you resolve them?
  4. Take action on your next steps!

After you have identified your next steps, act on them. The key here is to focus on the actionable steps, not the inactionable steps. It’s about regaining control over the situation through direct action.

10. Identify how it occurred (so it won’t occur again next time)

A lot of times we react to our problems. The problem occurs, and we try to make the best out of what has happened within the context. While developing a healthy coping mechanism is important (which is what the other helping points are on), it’s also equally important, if not more, to understand how the problem arose. This way, you can work on preventing it from taking place next time, vs. dealing reactively with it.

Most of us probably think the problem is outside of our control, but reality is most of the times it’s fully preventable. It’s just a matter of how much responsibility you take over the problem.

For example, for someone who can’t get a cab for work in the morning, he/she may see the problem as a lack of cabs in the country, or bad luck. However, if you trace to the root of the problem, it’s probably more to do with (a) Having unrealistic expectations of the length of time to get a cab. He/she should budget more time for waiting for a cab next time. (b) Oversleeping, because he/she was too tired from working late the previous day. He/she should allocate enough time for rest next time. He/she should also pick up better time management skills, so as to finish work in lesser time.

11. Realize the situation can be a lot worse

No matter how bad the situation is, it can always be much worse. A plus point vs. negative point analysis will help you realize that.

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12. Do your best, but don’t kill yourself over it

No matter how bad your situation may seem, do your best, but don’t kill yourself over it. Life is too beautiful to worry so much over daily issues. Take a step back (#1), give yourself a break if you need to (#6), and do what you can within your means (#9). Everything else will unfold accordingly. Worrying too much about the outcome isn’t going to change things or make your life any better.

13. Pick out the learning points from the encounter

There’s something to learn from every encounter. What have you learned from this situation? What lessons have you taken away?

After you identify your learning points, think about how you’re going to apply them moving forward. With this, you’ve clearly gained something from this encounter. You’ve walked away a stronger, wiser, better person, with more life lessons to draw from in the future.

Get the manifesto version of this article: [Manifesto] What To Do When Things Don’t Go Your Way

Featured photo credit: Alice Donovan Rouse via unsplash.com

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