It’s normal to feel empty at times.
Life tends to be like a roller coaster ride, with some periods where you’re up, feeling quite satisfied and full. However, at other times in life, you may feel unsatisfied and quite empty.
Perhaps you’ve experienced the loss of a relationship and you’re feeling down and alone.
Or you’ve lost your sense of purpose the last year or so dealing with having to stay home a lot more due to COVID.
It’s common to place the blame on feelings of emptiness on external things and situations.
But what about the root causes?
The underlying existential kind of emptiness that tends to silently haunt us?
How can we fill that kind of emptiness?
Here are five ways you can begin making headway toward filling yourself up:
1. Do Some Excavating
There are various emotions dealing with feeling empty. You may feel sad, angry, frustrated, depressed, anxious, and so on.
If you’re feeling empty, it may help you to do some digging under the surface. While some external factors could be contributing to the way you feel, it’s likely that your psyche is hiding some shadow-parts of you that could be affecting you.
By shadow-parts, I mean the part of your ego that you repress, deny, or reject. It’s those emotions, wounds, beliefs, etc. that you may not know how to process (or choose not to).
Shadow work is a common term in psychology. If you’re feeling empty inside, it’s a good time to drop within to see what’s going on in your internal landscape. You can go on a self-directed journey or see a professional counselor to start digging. Having that extra support can go a long way, especially if you’re continuing to feel empty.
2. Discover What Gives You Some Meaning
After my kids graduated and flew the nest, I went through empty nest syndrome. My role of mother in the way that I’d been playing “Mom” for two decades changed – and it wasn’t comfortable. That was my favorite role!
I felt empty (thus, the term “empty nest”). I wasn’t sure I’d ever find another role that would feel so fulfilling to me.
Granted, I knew I was still going to be a Mom, but parenting adult children is different than parenting kids under 18. And, there’s a learning curve.
So, I took some time to try new things. I also took time to enjoy a quiet house without so many responsibilities. I picked up a couple of hobbies. I spent more time carving out a new career. I connected with more people.
I found new purposes and it felt good. It helped me feel less empty.
What about you?
What are the things or roles that are currently filling you up?
Are you willing to try new things? A hobby? Interesting activities? New connections?
Of course, getting busy with something isn’t always the answer to filling up inside, but it can help!
3. Gauge Your Level Of Self-Love
Self-love has become a buzz word in recent years. We hear all sorts of things about how we need to love ourselves in order to experience happiness and peace.
Having positive feelings about yourself is important. If you don’t like or love yourself, you won’t feel that great on the inside. You’ll beat yourself up mentally. You may even take those negative feelings out on those around you.
So, if you’re feeling empty, take a few minutes to gauge your level of self-love.
Do you like yourself?
Do you love yourself?
You see, the thing about self-love is that we can learn to love ourselves no matter what. Regardless of our past, mistakes, flaws, idiosyncrasies, beliefs, looks, accomplishments, etc., can learn to love ourselves unconditionally – and that feels good!
It can also help fill us up.
4. Get Your Emotions Out
Bottled up emotions can cause a lot of inner mayhem.
Do you tend to keep your feelings pushed down? Do you repress or reject them?
If so, this could be a mechanism that could be contributing to feelings of emptiness.
As humans, it’s natural to release emotions. But so many of us learn from a young age that feeling sad, mad, frustrated, disappointed, scared, etc. isn’t kosher.
So, we stuff, repress, and disconnect at varying degrees from our emotions.
But good news is that we can learn to let out our emotions in healthy ways no matter how old we are. There are also creative ways to release whatever emotions are swirling in your energy body, such as painting, dancing, exercising, writing, and so on.
This can all help you release what isn’t serving you and help you feel more fulfilled.
5. Cultivate Gratitude
Years ago, I was going through an emotional breakdown, so I joined a support group. I got myself a sponsor and she was adamant that I should make a gratitude list every day. She told me to just write down all the things I was grateful for – even if it was just one or two things.
I really disliked doing that exercise. At the time, I didn’t feel much gratitude in my heart at all. I was miserable, anxious, and scared that I would fail at life.
But I did it.
I made that list often and would leave it in a spot that I would see frequently.
I didn’t know it at the time, but I was cultivating an attitude of gratitude. And, happiness experts state that the act of feeling grateful does a lot of good for us emotionally. Maybe we don’t realize it right away, but over time, those gratitude vibes are rewiring neural connections in the brain in positive ways.
If you’re feeling empty, I challenge you to make a gratitude list daily. If not daily, then regularly. Write down anything you’re grateful for, including the small and large things.
- Your pet
- The fact that you’re alive
- Roof over your head
- Food in the belly
- Loved ones
- A hot shower or bath
- And so on.
Fill Up Bit by Bit
Dealing with feelings of emptiness is something that most people contend with occasionally. Much of the time, it’s a temporary feeling that passes in due time. However, if you’re feeling stuck on empty, it’s time to do some investigating.
I hope these tips help you out along your excavation journey. If you find yourself continuing to struggle, consider reaching out for a seasoned counselor, clergy, mentor, support group, coach, online support group, or trusted friend.
Further Reading Discussed in This Article:
Into The Wild Shadow Work Journal is a fantastic resource specifically designed to assist you in diving deep into your subconscious psyche for exploration. If you’re dealing with things like anxiety, depression, relationship issues, poor choices, codependency, etc., Shadow Work is a powerful tool to help you feel, deal, and heal layer upon layer, so you can enjoy more peace and joy along your journey.