Have you recently felt that something is missing in life but can’t really pinpoint what it is? Does your gut feeling tell you that something isn’t right when, in fact, everything seems to be going so well? Or perhaps, do you feel unhappy but not really sure why?
If you are experiencing these feelings, you will probably describe yourself as “feeling empty” – No? Now, let’s dissect what it means to feel emptiness in life. What are we really experiencing and further, what can we do about it?
I say “we” because this is what I have been experiencing lately (still, work-in-progress), which inspired me to write this posting 🙂
Here I summarized five signs that you are feeling empty and not living the life you meant to live.
#1 YOU FEEL BORED AND CONSTANTLY LOOK FOR SOMETHING TO FILL THE “BOREDOM”
Have you ever felt bored even though you have a hectic schedule? I know, this sounds weird – how can you be bored when your day is busy, right? Well, I’m talking about those moments where you feel like an autopilot and looking for sporadic excitements to get through the day.
Okay, my sporadic excitement is food. When I feel bored, I eat and lots of eat. Am I hungry? Absolutely not, but I eat as though this will fill up my emptiness. It instantly relieves stress, gives me pleasure and helps me to forget about my boredom. But, as we all know, the excitement doesn’t last long because I’m masking the true problem here – feeling empty.
Your sporadic excitements can be totally different. It can be online shopping, drinking, exercising intensely, constantly checking social media, always hanging out with friends, or keeping yourself busy. The point is, if you are excessively into something in means of avoiding boredom, maybe you aren’t really bored. But rather you feel empty inside and you are just finding a way to fill up the emptiness.
#2 YOU ARE NOT SURE OF YOUR NEXT MOVE
Whether you are aware of it or not, from a very young age, we are all trained to have a goal and move toward it. Our education system is a good example of that — once we finish elementary school, our next goal is middle school and high school and so on so forth. Even after we graduate college, we are encouraged to get a MBA or master degrees (or other higher education) in a way to find a “successful” career.
Majority of us follow this conventional path assuming that this is, in fact, the right path and ultimately a path to happiness. But, even though you moved toward your goals as planned and settled into your supposedly ideal life, have you ever felt lost and not sure what’s next? Part of it, you are confused because there’s no one to tell you what to do next (we are used to being told what to do). On the other hand, you are confused because you’ve done all the right things.
If you feel something is missing and feel completely lost, you may be experiencing emptiness in life.
#3 YOU QUESTION THE PURPOSE OF LIFE
When you feel empty, not only you lack joy in life, you start to ask lot of questions… to yourself. And, among many questions, you always ask what is the purpose of life. Why are you here and what are you meant to do?
For me, questioning the purpose of life also led me to re-assess my values. Material possessions that I used to place high importance to seemed meaningless. My desire toward reaching a certain social status seemed pointless. The idea of winning a lottery will bring so much more happiness seemed senseless.
This is where the emptiness comes from. The thoughts that make you wonder whether you’ve been living your life all wrong. The thoughts that question you how I should live and with what purpose, to have a fulfilling life.
#4 YOU FEEL LIKE YOU DON’T BELONG TO YOUR CURRENT LIFE
If you are constantly struggling with your daily life, you may be feeling empty inside. Because, if you were fulfilled, what normally feels like a struggle will feel like a positive challenge that will only help you grow.
You also don’t feel like you fit in to your surroundings. At work, there’s really nothing to look forward to – no camaraderie among co-workers, no excitement toward accomplishments, and no vision when it comes to career advancements. In personal life, people close to you don’t seem to “get you” and understand what you are going through. Your confusions and questions toward life (e.g. possible career change, purpose of life, fulfillment, etc.) all seems too odd to them.
Having no sense of belonging makes you feel empty, and you know deep in your heart that something has to change (which leads to my next point).
#5 YOU FEEL THE URGE TO CHANGE
If everything was going right and you are completely satisfied with your life, you don’t look for a change. It’s only when you hear the voice inside you saying something is missing, you look for a change. It’s only when your gut feeling tells you something isn’t right, you look for a change. And, it’s only when you start feeling tired of being tired, you look for a change.
Although you may not be sure what exactly needs to change, you know that something gotta change and you feel the sense of urgency.
This is the time when you start assessing – What is my passion? Should I change my career? How should I change my lifestyle? What are important in life?
Here you have it – the signs that you are feeling empty in life. But, now what? I didn’t share my writing to leave you with feelings of despair and hopelessness. Instead, my true intention is to share how I personally eased my feelings of despair and hopelessness and it is my hope for you to get through them as well.
Here are three simple steps:
#1 TAKE A BREAK FROM LIFE
When you are feeling empty, I think there is a good reason — the universe is telling you to take a break. So, slow down and don’t be too hard on yourself.
If you want more perspective on how to take a break, check out this posting: Do You Need A Change? – How To Take A Break From Life
#2 ASK QUESTIONS TO YOURSELF (AND ANSWER HONESTLY)
Start assessing your life and ask questions. In order to make this exercise meaningful, you must ask specific and probing questions that will help you to evaluate your situation thoroughly and honestly.
I’ve once heard from one of Tony Robbins YouTube videos that if you ask lousy questions you will get lousy answers (and this is so true!). So, please don’t ask questions like, “Why am I such a loser?”
If you feel overwhelmed and just don’t know where to start, here’s a great posting that talks about what questions to ask yourself when you feel stuck in life: What Should You DO With Your Life? 21 Questions To Help You Get Unstuck
#3 FIND ANSWERS TO YOUR QUESTIONS
I’ve always believed that everything happens for a reason. So, instead of being depressed and feeling down about your situation, be curious.
First of all, you already feel empty and confused what is ahead of you in the future. Delving on this fact won’t change your situation. Second of all, seize this opportunity. Again, universe is trying to tell you that you can do far more better than what you can do today. (Okay, maybe, it’s not the universe that’s knocking on your door, but one thing I know for sure is that this can be a great opportunity for you to live the life you always wanted!)
So, what should you do? Go out there and search for answers to your questions – resources are limitless (e.g. books, internet, YouTube videos, etc.)!
Some of you may wonder, but what if you can’t find it? Well, then you just need to have a little faith and try harder. If you are looking for your passion, for example, and if you just can’t figure it out what it is, the best way might be to actually try out different options. In addition to reading and hearing other people stories, take action and explore. Because sometimes you might not know what your true passion is unless you actually try it out and experience it yourself.
Now, I would love to hear it from you. If you are feeling empty, please share what is your biggest struggle that you are experiencing? Or if you overcame this feeling and found your inner peace, how did you do so?
Picture Credit: by Viktor Jakovlev (Unsplash.com)