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

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

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

If you’re asking yourself, “Why do I feel empty,” keep reading and learn what these feelings of emptiness mean and how you can begin to overcome them.

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 feeling empty

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

Emptiness can be caused by an unfulfilling job, a lack of close friendships, a toxic relationship, or a simple lack of self-love and compassion. Whatever the cause, emptiness can be overcome if you’re willing to make some key changes to your routine and thought processes.

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:

  • 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 or emotional numbness

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. It may manifest as anxiety or depression if it has become a long-term feeling. If you feel as though you’ve lost a sense of direction, you may be experiencing emptiness.

Why Do I Feel Empty?

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

Some 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 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 mental illness, such as depression, or substance use disorders. Furthermore, people tend to get out of this feeling with unhealthy habits, which increases the chance of alcohol and drug addiction.

For these reasons, having a clue about what is really important to you will help to identify the cause of your feelings of emptiness.

How to Deal With Emptiness

The key to 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 on how to recognize and deal with inner emptiness.

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]

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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 many 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 re-center yourself by practicing self-care through exercise, healthy eating, meditation, and other healthy habits.

Try to pick up some of these 30 Self-Care Habits for a Strong and Healthy Mind, Body and Spirit.

2. Discover Your Needs With the Help of Others

Everybody has needs, and it’s important to realize that we can’t always achieve them without help from others. We think that we have to meet them by ourselves, but sometimes, it is important to ask for help.

Asking for help can resolve many life issues and can be a first step towards meeting your needs. For example, if you’re lacking interpersonal connection, ask a family member to introduce you to some new people. Just one introduction can lead to many new connections.

If you’re having trouble motivating yourself to get to the gym to exercise, find a friend who also wants to start so that you can act as accountability partners. Whatever you may be lacking, there’s likely someone out there who can help you if you’re willing to reach out.

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

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3. Appreciate and Treasure What You Have

Another way to stop feeling empty 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] It is a sort of spiritual practice that helps you tap into a constant inner smile. 

This means that individuals who are thankful are also more satisfied with their relationships with friends and family. They are also less stressed and much happier overall(The Wellnest: 5 CRAZY-GOOD REASONS TO PRACTICE GRATITUDE)).

Practice gratitude to stop feeling empty

    Try to be appreciative of 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.

    If you enjoy writing, start a gratitude journal. Take 5 or 10 minutes each morning or night to write down 3-5 things you’re grateful for.

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

    4. Never Stop Learning New Things

    Neurobiologists have found out that learning something new has motivational effects similar to dopamine, which leads to emotional stimulation.[7] Therefore, it’s important to not only review information you’ve learned before, but to also push yourself to learn something new each day or week.

    You can tap into educational podcasts or YouTube videos to do this. TED talks are often quite short, meaning you can squeeze some learning into even your busiest of days.

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    If you like to read, buy a few used books and make it a goal to finish them within a certain time frame. Even fiction books have a lot to teach about the human condition and psychology, so just find something that interests you.

    5. Ask for a Professional Help If Needed

    Many people cannot identify the reason behind this feeling, no matter how long they analyze themselves and search for a problem.

    Find a good mental health professional who will help you explore your feelings and understand why you’re feeling empty. They’ll help ground you in the present moment so that you can become whole again.

    You can also seek out support groups in order to connect with others who may be experiencing similar problems.

    Try to overcome the sensation that seeking professional help means that you’re weak, because it certainly doesn’t. Asking for help is a sign of incredible strength and bravery, and once you begin to receive the benefits, you’ll wish you had done it sooner.

    Final Thoughts

    Finding the cause of inner emptiness can be a long, challenging process. However, instead of distracting yourself by filling this emptiness with things like shopping, food, alcohol, and drugs, 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

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    Melissa Burns

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

    Why You’re Feeling Empty and How to Fill the Void Wealthy, Successful People Who Choose Less over More: 10 Real-Life Stories of Minimalists If You Want to Succeed in Life, You Need to Find Your True Calling First Everything We Can Learn from the Most Famous Entrepreneurs Around the World Why Is Empathy So Important?

    Trending in Meaning of Life

    1 Confused About Life? Try These 4 Things to Find Clarity 2 Feel That Life Is Meaningless? Here’s How to Find Meaning 3 20 Invaluable Things Money Can’t Buy 4 Understanding Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs: 5 Levels Explained 5 How to Find Purpose in Life and Make Yourself a Better Person

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    Last Updated on November 30, 2021

    Confused About Life? Try These 4 Things to Find Clarity

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    Confused About Life? Try These 4 Things to Find Clarity

    Life is a mystery. We all know that. There are parts where the light at the end of the tunnel is clearly visible, but there are also parts where feel extremely confused about life.

    It’s pretty normal to go through these highs and lows. Everyone experiences them, yet only a few speak up about it. So, if you’ve been feeling lost in the maze of life recently, don’t worry, because you’re not alone.

    Luckily, since a lot of people have already gone through this before you, the key to unlocking this grave matter has been found!

    Why Have I Become So Confused About Life?

    Life is like an amusement part. Sometimes, you try a ride that will take you up to the sky. Other times, it brings you back to the ground. If you feel like life is a bumpy ride most days, you are probably questioning why you have become so confused about life.

    So what’s going on? Why do you feel this way?

    One of the major reasons why you may feel like this is because you don’t have time to enjoy your passions.

    If you’re passionate about your career, that’s amazing. However, it may not be an outlet where you can exercise your creativity. If you’re too busy with your job and other daily routines, you’ll eventually feel like you’re stuck in a rut.

    Aside from that, you may have also become detached from your purpose. It’s hard to see where you want yourself to end up in the future if you have a shallow idea of what your motivations are.

    Third, you may feel confused about life because you’re alone. Even though you’re always with people, there may be a lack of substantial and genuine support around you. Building vital connections with other people is a must.

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    Finally, you may be facing cognitive overload. This affects people of all ages. You may have so much stuff on your plate that you feel overloaded and feel out of control. Because of this, you need to find time to offload your current load.

    How to Overcome Confusion and Find Joy in Life

    You don’t have to be making any more bad decisions due to your confusion. Instead, try out 4 simple things to find clarity.

    These things will pull you out of the swamp of confusion and place you on clear, dry land.

    “Good. Be confused. Confusion is where inspiration comes from.” –– Robyn Mundell

    1. Don’t Panic

    When most people feel mental fog starts creeping in, they panic. While it’s human nature to get anxious about feeling like you’re not in control of your life, remember that this is just temporary.

    Do not run away from the situation. This temporary solution will only make your problem worse. Instead, reassure yourself that you can get through this. Try to think of a hard situation you have handled before and remember how you powered through it.

    It’s absolutely normal to feel like you’re making wrong decisions about your life, but when you fill your mind with negative thoughts, you will begin questioning your ability to overcome challenges. You may even become irrational and make wrong decisions.

    As much as you can, be conscious about the way you talk to yourself when you are feeling lost or when you make wrong decisions. By practicing positive self-talk despite your confusion, you can feel more control of your life.

    2. Discover Your Direction in a Confused Life

    The first of the three things you need to sort is your life’s direction.

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    We all are living this life with a deep purpose. There’s a reason why we’re here. Whether you believe in a religion or not, every scientific and religious belief tells us the same thing.

    No matter how small or big your life’s purpose is, everything you do in life is connected to it. So, if you can figure it out and follow the right path deliberately, your feelings of being confused about life will be diminished. You will know that every step you take is meaningful because it’s leading you to where you’re supposed to be.

    To be honest, finding the direction of your life isn’t the easiest thing. It is a long journey, to say the least. However, if one stays consistently motivated to get an answer, the answer will present itself.

    Your life’s direction isn’t written in a secret book, nor is it enclosed in a buried treasure box. It’s closer to you than anything else in this world. The answer that you need is right inside you. That is why it’s so hard to get it out. Since it’s always been inside you, you have to struggle with your own self to bring it out.

    But once again, the key is saved because millions before you have already experienced this journey. They succeeded, and so can you.

    How To Bring Your Life’s Meaning to the Surface

    To find the solution to your confusing life, all you have to do is interrogate yourself. Ask yourself the following questions, test your memory, listen to your intuition, and let clarity find its way to you.

    1. What Do You Enjoy the Most in Life?

    Currently, nothing is life might seem enjoyable, but look back. There are always certain things that your heart is in deeply. Make a list of the things that you have enjoyed the most in your life. It could be something as small as a 5-minute meditation session or a whole other state that you lived in.

    2. What Do You Hate to Do in Life?

    Just like some things come naturally to you, some you just naturally cannot enjoy, no matter how hard you try. You don’t necessarily have to be bad at these tasks, but you just don’t like doing them. These are definitely the things that are pulling you away from your life’s true direction.

    3. What Are Your Goals?

    Based on the things that you enjoy or don’t, you need to come up with some goals. You don’t know your life’s direction very clearly at this point. Hence, your goals don’t have to enforce a certain aim. Just think of the things you’d love to achieve in the longer run. Make a list of SMART goals with all of this knowledge in mind.

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    4. Is Your Current Lifestyle Allowing You to Reach Your Goals?

    Sit down with your list of goals. It’s time to contemplate. With an open mind, think about everything in your life that is helping you achieve your defined goals. Simultaneously, make a list of things that are pushing you away from them. You already know that whatever is diverging your path needs to be avoided.

    5. What Can You Control to Fulfill Your Dreams?

    Of the goals that you have, which ones can you achieve by changing parts of your life? Change things that are in your control if they help you reach your aims, dreams, and mental peace.

    For things that seem to be out of your control, just accept them[1]. This is a huge factor that causes confusion. Don’t struggle to change everything around you. Some things are out of your hands, and maybe it’s better that way.

    3. Figure out Your Ideal Career

    The next dilemma that makes your life confusing is regarding career choices. Of course, your well-being depends majorly on your source of income. Now, not only does everyone want a career that makes them wealthy, but they also want to enjoy it.

    People who are looking for a stable job, especially fresh graduates, are ones who experience this confusion in the worst possible way. However, some people who already have a well-paid job may also be unhappy with their career choice.

    Steps to Shortlist a Career Option

    There is a very simple, step-by-step process to help you figure out which career will be your ideal route. Keep in mind that more money doesn’t guarantee mental peace, and, similarly, a job that you enjoy may not pay as much as you want.

    1. List Your Skills and Qualifications

    Start with self-evaluation. There are two parts to this. The first is your qualifications, and the other is your skill set.

    Your qualifications are everything you’ve studied or learned. Include your educational background, majors, subjects, short courses, online seminars, and everything else that you’ve learned over the years.

    Next, you have your skills. Everything you’ve learned may not have translated into practicality. The things that you learned to do or know how to do from experimenting or experience all classify as your skills. Include every minute detail, even if it is something like making delicious pancakes.

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    The next step is to figure out which careers can use your skills[2]. So if you’re a great cook, you can teach it to other people, work in a restaurant, write a cookbook, etc.

    2. Take an Online Career Test

    It’s all right if you’re having a hard time putting 2 and 2 together. Matching your skills to a career may be hard for you. That is why there are so many online tests that help you put your finger on it.

    You can search online to get access to hundreds of quick tests that ask you a few questions. Based on your answers, they give you some options that you can consider. Look for the ones that jump out immediately, not necessarily the ones at the top of the list. If you feel good about one suggestion, follow that idea further.

    3. Look Through Job Options That Require Your Skills

    In today’s digital world, searching for jobs is way easier. You don’t have to go door-to-door and ask businesses what they require. Instead, look at the job descriptions that most businesses have posted on their websites. You should follow their social media, too.

    If you know of some online job portals, be sure to sign up. Look through the different job postings to figure out where your skills can come in handy. You are highly likely to find a suitable job in this way.

    4. Avoid Emotional Attachment If You’re Not Ready

    The last thing that may be causing confusion in your life is vagueness in terms of emotional commitments. Should you be romantically involved with someone? Is it time to get married? Should you stay single for a while?

    Some signs indicate your unpreparedness for a commitment. If you’re experiencing the opposite, you can go ahead and settle down with a person that you love.

    Here are some signs that you may not be ready for emotional commitment. If you identify with any of these, take some time to explore your own goals and direction before offering dedication to another human.

    • You can’t compromise, and things always have to be your way.
    • You can’t spend too much time with the same person because you get bored.
    • Sharing your personal space, time, and things is a big no for you.
    • Your shoulders are already burdened with one too many responsibilities related to career, family, education, etc.
    • Career-wise, you’re not where you want to be, and your attention and focus are on your career goals with no time for distractions.
    • You went through a bad breakup or heartbreak recently.

    Final Thoughts

    Life is complicated, and confusion is a natural result of that. Fortunately, moments of confusion, if worked through properly, often lead us to higher levels of clarity about our direction and purpose. Take the time to identify why you are confused about life and tackle them to get back on your desired path.

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    More Tips for Finding Clarity in Life

    Featured photo credit: Joshua Rawson-Harris via unsplash.com

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