Have you ever just felt lonely, even when you are with a crowd of people? I found myself feeling like that all the time. I talked to friends every day, yet I felt alone and in a sense, isolated. Strange, that the feeling of isolation can be so overwhelming.
I felt a loss but a loss I could not explain. I am contented but simply feeling contented did not feel enough. Was I being greedy? Wanting more? Am I entitled to more? I needed to find whatever is missing to fill this emptiness.
I recognised that there was a problem but couldn’t pin point the reason. Is it lack of money, not being in a relationship or not having enough success? No, feeling empty is about what I felt inside, it was my internal feelings not what was going on around me. I think it is how I compared myself to others; it was my insecurities that made me feel like this. I felt tired and bored all the time and felt a knot in my stomach that I couldn’t get rid of. I knew something was wrong but just couldn’t shake it off.
Maybe I simply felt unfulfilled. I was not where I had hoped to be. I could see the light at the end of the tunnel but just couldn’t reach it. So many good things were happening in my life, good friends, opportunities and a possible bright future but something was holding me back. If I could rid myself of this darkness that was holding me back and finally reach the light then I knew this emptiness would dissipate. Unfortunately, I was finding it hard. I guess it’s about discovering what the darkness is? Why could I not be free of it? What is in that darkness that has such a strong hold on me?
Is it easier in life to remain where we are? Have we set our goals to high, hence we can never reach the light? When we feel like this, we need to leave our ambitions aside for the moment and concentrate on what makes us happy. We need to have a new outlook on life.
I didn’t feel depressed or at least I didn’t think I was depressed. I think I needed to fill the void. I spent so much time at home and just couldn’t seem to leave the house. I had so many interests and had simply let them go. I stopped attending classes and have surrounded myself with four walls and clearly had isolated myself.
I have a purpose; I have relationships with friends, so I know it is not a lack of purpose or friends. Maybe I needed hobbies, somewhere to go to, a couple of days a week. Renew my interests and forget for a few hours about work and children. Forget about the battle I seem to face day in and day out.
I have read that the feeling of emptiness can be caused by:
- Over-dependence on partner to meet all emotional needs
- Emotional needs not getting met in the relationship
- Lack of emotional connection, quality time, or physical connection
- Stress or pressure from outside circumstances, such as a new job or moving, on the relationship
- Communication issues
- Mental health issues that affect one partner
The only ones I can identify with are 3 and 4. Am I fooling myself? I don’t think so or at the very least I don’t believe so.
Buddhism teaches us that renouncing ego and desire can achieve openness, inner peace, receptivity, and ultimate enlightenment. Indeed Christianity, Islam and Judaism all teach the same concept to dissipate this feeling of emptiness. Am I religious, no not really? I believe in God and I believe all my actions have consequences. I am after something different. I believe I need spiritual and not religious guidance per se. I know they can walk hand in hand but I don’t need someone reading out verses of scripture to me. I need more than this.
This may not be for all but for me at the moment, I believe this may help. Well at least it could be a starting point. I need to learn about my inner feelings and recognise early on when I’m feeling this void before it takes hold and I find myself depressed.
It is interesting that many people say that the feeling of emptiness is due to lack of love or attention in childhood. I don’t believe this is entirely true. I think our lives can change so suddenly from a high to a low that our brains have had no time to adjust. A steady decline is easier to cope with than an immediate drop.
The key is to establish what you think you are missing. Write it down, write what makes you happy, contended or indeed what you have now. Then write down what is missing, even what you desire. Don’t think just write. This little exercise will help you recognise what this void is all about. Then what? Good question!!!
Take a warm bath: Many researchers have shown that bathing has a lot of benefits including pain relief, enhanced mobility and improves psychological well-being. It may give you the space you require to reflect what you see on that piece of paper.
Appreciate what you have and not what you don’t have: research shows that feeling grateful are important, it makes you positive and this positivity will help you feel less empty. Being thankful will make you more satisfied and less stressed.
Explore new things: Change your environment, add to your knowledge every day. Research shows, even little things as changing lighting or moving furniture, the temperature in your room can have a positive effect on your emotional state.
I also think it is more than the above; it is discovering who you are first. Know what makes you who you are. Once you can establish this you become strong and that strength will push you to resolve this feeling of emptiness. Ask friends ‘have I changed?’ The people around you will recognise the changes before you do. If friends and family can tell you first, you can avoid that emptiness leading to depression.
I understand that many feel this at some point in their lives and I think that maybe, just maybe I need spiritual guidance. I need a sense of who I am, find the inner peace with who I am and my circumstances. That is not to say that I accept my circumstances but spiritual guidance can give me a fresh outlook. A feeling of being protected and a feeling of enlightenment. I feel I am ready for this.
I realise purpose is important but having purpose may not dissipate this feeling. It helps us strive to want more but that type of ‘MORE’ may not fill the void. I realised that I needed a different kind of ‘MORE’ a more spiritual outlook and hopefully I will realise inner peace that will make me even stronger. Stronger to tackle the hurdles of life, stronger to reach my goals and stronger to choose who I wish to be.