Why you’re feeling empty and how to fill the void

Why you're feeling empty and how to fill the void

You’re working hard, trying to get ahead, doing everything you possibly can to make life just a little bit better. You’re trying to keep it all balanced, though. You won’t be one of those people who commits every waking second to work and the pursuit of career.

Not you. You’ve got it figured out. You even make time to exercise, eat right, meditate, or maybe spend time with friends and family.

You’ve got it all figured out—except for that one stupid thing that keeps tugging at your heart. You don’t really know what it is, but it is there, and it is driving you a little crazy.

Yeah, I know. I get that feeling sometimes too.

It is often mistaken as unhappiness, fatigue, depression, or being stuck in a rut. Many people will go off and do wild vacations or try things they would never try in a million years just to see if those activities settle the strange, inexplicable emptiness they feel inside.

When they return to the real world, though, the problem is still there, still nagging at them.

Maybe they think they didn’t go “extreme” enough, and will push themselves harder. Or maybe they take it in a totally different direction and put more time into meditation, or even trying to manifest happiness in their lives.

Or do you have it under control? I’m guessing since you’re still reading, you don’t. It’s okay. Neither do I.

In fact, neither do most people.

So, what is this mysterious thing that is pulling at you, leaving you feeling empty and unfulfilled in a life that would, from the outside, seem all but amazing? It’s the pursuit of happiness.

Before you click away from the page, thinking that this is another article about how when you stop pursuing things, that is when they come to you, don’t.

It’s not about that at all.

We are constantly presented with things that we believe will make us happy. New cars, flashier televisions, prettier women or men, houses, furniture, more money, exotic vacations, and a myriad of things that go along with that stuff.

We are pounded by books, blogs, and billboards about how we can get everything we want in life, and live happier, better, and wealthier.

The simple truth is, we are so focused on getting what we want that we forget about everyone else in the world around us. And therein lies the key to that empty feeling inside.

Right now, there are people who are hungry. And not just in Africa or India. They might be within a square mile of you. There are kids who don’t have a decent place to sleep.

Let me tell you a quick story.

Recently, a friend of mine (a former high school teacher) passed away. He had been fighting leukemia and eventually cancer for a long time. He was 74 years old.

When I met him, I thought he was one of the most energetic people I’d ever come across. Of course, I was only 16 at the time. His Italian ancestry only added to the natural charisma he displayed on a daily basis.

This teacher started a program at my high school called Project 5000. It was an initiative aimed at collecting five thousand canned goods to distribute to needy families in our area. I can still remember seeing the boxes of food under the auditorium stage.

Not only did our little school of 300 kids collect five thousand cans, we collected far more. And every single year, the number grew, surpassing multiple tens of thousands every year.

Because of his efforts, many needy families got to have a few good meals around Thanksgiving, even if it was just a few.

My friend also helped out at a place called the Chambliss home, a transitional facility for kids similar to an orphanage. He organized a Christmas program there every year so that, at least for a night, those kids could actually be kids.

Why am I telling you about this?

Because this teacher always had a smile on his face. He always had tons of energy. And because of one very important thing he told me in relation to the problem I discussed earlier.

He said that if you live your life providing a service to others, you will have the most fulfilling life possible.

And there it is. We’ve been so focused on getting what we want in this world that we forget that there are people who have desperate needs. You don’t have to look far to find them either.

They could be right up the street, in a local school, a homeless shelter, a nursing home, or any number of places.

At the moment, I work in a school that has a student body that is 100 percent on free and reduced lunch. Basically, that means it is a school of kids from low-income homes. I work there as a school counselor and as the boys’ soccer coach.

My commute sucks, nearly an hour each way. The hours suck (since my best energy times are not waking up at 5:30 and working until 5:00 in the afternoon).

When my friends ask me why I don’t quit or find a job closer to home at a better school, I explain to them that it is my Calcutta. While, sometimes the work is not stimulating, and the kids can be a little rough around the edges, it is a place where there is a great need.

Ever since I started looking at it that way, I have been a lot happier in the rest of my life. I am more fulfilled because I know that I am providing a service to people in need, and not just living for myself.

When I get home I have more energy, a happier demeanor, and I feel like I have done something good.

The bottom line is, helping others energizes you and fills you with good feelings.

Where can you find your Calcutta? It could be as simple as donating a piece of furniture to a needy family. Or you could give a few hours a month at the local soup kitchen. Are you an expert at something that could help solve a problem for people? Find a way to do that on a semi-regular basis. It can literally be almost anything.

The point is that you serve someone. And by serving others, you will begin to notice that strange, empty feeling begin to dissipate until one day, you find yourself smiling all the time.

Chandni Akhenia @ The Mythical Bird Aug 25, 2021, 15:50 IST

Emptiness isn’t really emptiness. It still occupies a lot of space. Baggage of emptiness is heavy

Ever been in a situation wherein you have everything yet you feel that there is some part missing. A void, a gap that needs to be filled even when you have achieved whatever you wanted but still it feels like a black hole as massive as a cliff. It feels like a desolate place within. In simple words, you feel hollow.

You’re struggling to make sense of everything but you seem not to be able to do so because it’s all rolled together on one huge plate. If you’re trying to sort things out this pile will smash you underneath its power. You’ll always drown in between such chaos. Therefore, you keep things as they are in the expectation that they will evolve miraculously. Yet rarely will they. So the pile, with all the stuff that you’re trying to undo, just explodes like gas particles and you’re left wondering where you’ve gone horribly wrong.

You encounter so numerous ‘ifs’ and ‘maybe’ and ‘loopholes’ that your head begins to spin and the pathway beyond tends to drift away, and you lose concentration. In a future that should have been as vibrant as the sun, you see nothing but void. You see a saturation point on a journey you struggled so hard to walk. There are moments where you start confusing even more with the situations happening and then irrational decisions which make things even worse. You start drowning even more.

The feeling draws all the strength within you. It leaves you feeling like a worthless tank that has drained out. Void is the absence and dedication of emotional responses, it’s not an emotion, it feels as if there is something missing in life, it just feels like it’s all wrong, it feels confused about where life is going, it’s the state you’re not willing to be in, and you likely won’t set aside your brain.

Often, we experience a sense of loss inside. Looking inside, it seems there is nothing, so we surround ourselves with anything outside, like food or entertainment. And even these outward distractions only immediately take care of the emptiness; they only temporarily capture our focus. Emptiness returns when the distraction is over. Emptiness is an emotional state that all individuals face periodically and it is not possible to walk away from it.

You feel the heaviness in your heart and the waves of chaos all in your head. If you feel empty, yet feel so heavy inside, toss away all that will impact you – your reason to worry, your anxieties, your expectations, everything which causes difficulty. Try and relax and just really vacate yourself from the heaviness of your heart.

Take it easy in your mind and focus only on what you’re doing and what you want and need, instead of attempting to connect and sound right of all the scattered feelings. You have a remembrance of emotions but those emotions were overshadowed by silence. It’s like somebody had a part omitted and then discarded it. You’re still looking but you’ve no solution. You have moments of that.

There might be times when we feel empty for the longest time. But by working towards healing, bringing value and purpose to life, self-love leads to a happy life rather than being stuck in despair.

First of all, in order to really grasp this feeling of loss, you have to try to find the source. Explore deeply, and describe precisely what makes you feel this way it is? Is it because of the loss of a loved one? A heartbreak? Childhood traumatic event? Or some painful memories. List and begin writing specific reasons that cause you to feel the hollowness. So, in a way, you will spend some time connecting with your inner self.

You must name all the unpleasant feelings to relieve yourselves and confront the suffering instead of trying to run away from it. Trying to push it away will only leave you feeling emptier, and will evolve in negative ways as time passes. It can be incredibly hard but as you continue to realize your emotions and let yourself feel them, you will ultimately find it a lot easier to deal with them. Take the time you need to heal yourself from the suffering by feeling it, and not criticizing yourself. Fill the void with compassion, love, and care for yourself and others.

You may sense the void growing up since you haven’t received the love which you deserve, causing you to find it from someone else. That causes people to feel empty and disengaged from your soul when you lack self-love.

Fill in the gap by working unconditionally to love yourself, and not relying on someone else to fill the gap. When you start finding love in yourself, you won’t rely on it anymore.

To get rid of feeling empty, you need to start questioning what it means you feel that way and take the time to feel those experiences. You will start healing from it from there. Healing comes from oneself. You can’t fill up the void with the other individuals or material products. But while recovery may still feel like it will get better with time! It takes some time to untangle and heal our emotional baggage and scars from the past.

But, there is a negative stigma to ‘having a void,’ there is also a positive side, as it can help you drill down into your inner consciousness, purpose, and anything that could weigh you down. Though learning to cope with emotional pain may be challenging, when you do it will make you free from feeling empty and hook you up for much greater and worthwhile things you can encounter there.

very nicely written and it connects really well. keep it up. waiting for next one to be published.

Why you're feeling empty and how to fill the void

When we’re hurting, it’s not uncommon to look for ways to fill the void.

The void is made up of the empty, lonely feelings that stem from holes in our heart and soul. Sometimes these holes are fresh wounds like a breakup, death in the family, or losing our job. Sometimes they stem from something much deeper, like a lack of connection with family growing up, a childhood trauma, or hurt caused by someone in our past.

When we lose someone or something in our life, most of us jump right into distractions. We start seeing new people, working on every single thing that needs to be done around the house, picking up more hours at work or packing our schedule full of things to do. We do all of this instead of feeling what we feel.

This is called stuffing.

When you lose something or someone, all of the wounds, emptiness, pain and hurt are exposed. As much as it hurts, the void should not be feared. The void is where miracles, strength and change are born.

The truth is that anytime you try to distract yourself from feeling what you’re feeling, you’re avoiding the fact that you’re not whole. Something is missing, damaged or broken, and until you face it, no person or thing will ever make you feel complete.

Why you're feeling empty and how to fill the void

When you take the time to really feel and experience the uncomfortable space that is the void, you begin to see things clearly.

And when you can see things clearly, you can begin to heal.

Maybe it’s not that you need that specific person in your life to talk to. It’s that you need to be heard.

Were you once expressive in another form that you’ve since lost? Painting, music, poetry or something else? You used this person to fill the void. But they could never fill it because whether or not they listened to you, you still weren’t able to feel heard on a more fundamental level. And when they left? You thought you missed talking to them, when really, you’re still missing that greater thing. Not them. Did they really listen to you anyways?

Maybe it’s not that you miss your job. It’s that you don’t know how to define yourself without it.

Have you lost sight of yourself? Is being honest about who you are and what you really want so hard, painful and confusing that you instead chose to focus on your work? Work you probably didn’t even love and killed yourself over with long hours and tons of stress. then “rewarded yourself” with material goods that still left you feeling empty. The pain isn’t coming from the job loss, it’s about the fear and uncertainty that comes with not knowing what you really want.

Maybe it’s not that you miss spending time with them. It’s that you’re afraid to be out in the world alone.

Because now? Now people are going to see you and only you. This person was simply someone you stood behind, like a shield. Maybe they were there because you were afraid to go it alone. Not because being alone scares you, but because the “spotlight” does. All eyes on you is too intense to handle. Without this person to buffer the eyes, you’re feeling vulnerable and unsure of yourself.

Or — and this I know for sure — it’s that you have to face yourself.

You have to be with only you. and without another person or thing to fill the void in your heart and soul, all that’s left to do is feel it. Feel the emptiness or the pain. The hurt, fear and loss. To take a good, hard look at what’s missing, what you left behind and the parts you’ve ignored.

If you’re wise, you’ll sit with the void. You’ll feel the hurts and let them out. You’ll talk about them, cry, break dishes in anger and write, write, write it out. You’ll explore them. Why do I feel this? What have I been neglecting? What have I not allowed to heal?

If you’re not ready, you’ll stuff them with someone or something else. A new guy you met randomly and convinced yourself is the next “one.” A new job or client with excessive hours, or the regular workload you’ve managed to max out to 12-15 hours a day. Food, drugs, sex — these are the worst ways to fill a void.

The only way to be happy, healthy and whole is to face and deal with the voids you carry in your heart and soul. If something is missing, broken or empty inside of you, there is no person or thing that will fill it. Only you can heal yourself and close the voids.

The first step is to stop stuffing, hiding and avoiding.

Trust me, it’s worth every heart-wrenching moment.

Because when you heal the hurts and fill the voids with your own love, light and self, you become whole again. When you’re whole, you feel a sense of joy and fulfillment that no outside person or thing can replicate. These outside circumstances wil simply heighten the feelings you’re already experiencing.

Take action now!

Get honest with yourself. What are you hiding from? What void exists in your heart and soul and how are you stuffing it? What scares you about facing this part of yourself? If you’re ready to heal and grow, remove whatever you’re using to stuff and distract. Sit with it and really allow yourself to feel and explore the void.

This article was co-authored by Catherine Boswell, PhD. Dr. Catherine Boswell is a Licensed Psychologist and a Co-Founder of Psynergy Psychological Associates, a private therapy practice based in Houston, Texas. With over 15 years of experience, Dr. Boswell specializes in treating individuals, groups, couples, and families struggling with trauma, relationships, grief, and chronic pain. She holds a Ph.D. in Counseling Psychology from the University of Houston. Dr. Bowell has taught courses to Master’s level students at the University of Houston. She is also an author, speaker, and coach.

There are 40 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page.

This article has been viewed 1,023,879 times.

Do you wake up in the morning feeling like there’s no good reason to get up and face the day? Emptiness is a feeling all humans experience from time to time, and it’s not easy to pull yourself away from it. Feeling empty all or most of the time can be a symptom of an underlying condition, such as depression, and you should seek the help of a licensed mental health professional if you almost always feel empty. But to stop feeling empty when the sensation only bubbles up occasionally, there are simple things you can do yourself, such as journaling, trying new things, and making new friends. Filling your life with love and finding meaning in daily living should help ward away temporary feelings of emptiness and may even help if you’re striving to recover from long-term emptiness.

Fabio Sani previously received funding from the Economic & Social Research Council (ESRC) for a number of projects broadly concerning social identity, group processes, and health. He is currently receiving funding from the Scottish Government for a project on the psychosocial determinants of non-fatal overdose among people who use drugs.

Shona Joyce Herron does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organisation that would benefit from this article, and has disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond their academic appointment.

Partners

University College London provides funding as a founding partner of The Conversation UK.

Why you're feeling empty and how to fill the void

It’s likely you have felt “empty” at some point in your life – or perhaps you’ve heard someone else describe themselves in that way. But while this might be a relatively common feeling, it’s often not spoken about as a symptom of mental health difficulties. Typically, “feelings of emptiness” are only considered as a symptom of borderline personality disorder – a mental health condition characterised by challenges with emotions, relationships to others, and feelings of chronic emptiness.

But, after coming across many people who reported “feeling empty” when accessing mental health services in Scotland, our research team wanted to know more about the feeling, which was rarely mentioned in mental health research. We began asking the people we interviewed whether they had ever felt this way.

This began a four-year project which involved listening to the perspectives of more than 400 people. We wanted to shed light on how common it is for people to feel empty, and why it’s important for researchers and clinicians to start paying attention to this feeling. Our research has allowed us to provide the first ever definition of emptiness based on the descriptions of people who experienced it first hand. This has not only shown the importance of this feeling, but also makes future research possible.

‘A bottomless jug’

We spoke to more than 400 people aged 18 to 80 who had reported feeling empty at some point in their lives – some rarely, some all the time. We asked them to complete an online survey where they described what it was like to feel this way.

This resulted in hundreds of emotive, first-hand accounts. Some described feeling empty as being “a kind of bottomless jug that can never be filled” and “a feeling of othering and separation from society” that “sucks all of the life and energy out of you”.

As one participant told us, emptiness is:

When you feel like everything you do is pointless and you’re just going through the motions. Just trying to fill in the time until you die. Sometimes you have fun or something good happens which can distract you for a while, but ultimately there is a hollowness inside which never goes away. It’s as if you’re transparent and anything positive like love or joy just passes right through you without sticking and afterwards it feels like it was never there at all.

Others spoke of motivation levels “at complete zero”, and another said:

It felt as though I wasn’t fully part of the world, I couldn’t feel anything and nothing I did made an impact on events or other people, I ‘existed’ but I wasn’t ‘alive’.

Interestingly, half of participants had never struggled with a mental health difficulty – showing us that emptiness is not only experienced by people who have received a diagnosis of borderline personality disorder, but that it can be experienced by people with and without mental health problems.

We also identified a strong link between feeling empty often and suicidal thoughts and behaviours, with those who felt empty all of the time more likely to have thought about or attempted suicide.

And, despite never having been given a definition of what was meant by emptiness – and instead asked to speak from their own perspective – hundreds of participants described the same feeling. We found that emptiness was characterised by a sense of inner void, coupled with lack of purpose in life and a sense of disconnection to the people in their lives and the world around them. This left people feeling that they were “going through the motions”, and not able to contribute to the world and their lives as they would like.

Why you're feeling empty and how to fill the void

This research has now resulted in the first definition of emptiness based on people’s personal accounts which has been published in a scientific journal. Our hope is that this will make it easier for clinicians to ask people about emptiness, and for researchers to start investigating this feeling which has previously been neglected in our conversations about mental health.

Widespread feeling

Our findings lead us to believe emptiness is far more widespread than previously recognised. Feelings of emptiness can be experienced by anyone, regardless of their mental health history – and for some it can be chronic and life threatening. This experience is clearly complex, impacting every aspect of a person’s life and relationships.

Until now, emptiness has received little attention from mental health researchers. But our research has now given a new definition to this feeling, and has highlighted the seriousness of this experience for the people who are effected. Our research also suggests that it might be time to change the way we think about mental health, distress and the support offered – as many people struggle with emptiness, regardless of whether they’ve been diagnosed with a mental health condition or not.

But there’s still lots we don’t know. For example, why do people feel empty – and why do some feel more empty than others? What can we do about it? Answering these questions is likely to have a big impact for many people. By understanding what emptiness is, how it develops, and how to support people who feel this way, lives may be made more meaningful and deaths by suicide prevented.

The next step of this research will involve developing a way of accurately measuring peoples’ experiences of emptiness, which help us in studying it, and may ultimately help reduce the suffering caused by this complex feeling.

If you’ve been affected by anything in this article there are free helplines available to support you:

Learn how to put down your guard and let others in.

Why you're feeling empty and how to fill the void

If you struggle with feeling truly alone in the world, you contend daily with one of life’s most devastating emotional experiences. More than the simple loneliness of wishing to connect with someone, you have a sense that you cannot connect with others. Though you might enjoy solo activities, you also feel painfully alone. The truth is that this is not an easy problem to solve, but there is a way forward.

People who struggle with this issue often sense that they have some flaw that causes others to reject them. And they fear to be vulnerable to, and hurt by, others. To protect themselves, they actively (though not necessarily consciously) guard against getting emotionally close. This creates distance with the very people they want to connect with.

So, as you struggle with feeling alone, it is important to ask yourself whether you really are open to connecting with others. Or is your desire connect undermined by your efforts to protect yourself? Maybe you reject others before they can hurt you. For instance, you might be distant or hostile; or even cut off a relationship.

Reflect with curiosity on times you’ve felt hurt or rejected. Were you so sensitive to being hurt, or the fear of being hurt, that you overreacted? Or, was the way your friend treated you out of line? If you cannot tease these things out, ask someone you trust for their opinion – be it a friend, loved one, or therapist.

If you realize the problem is largely in your perceptions and reactions, then take note of this. The more you think about it, the less “real” your sense of being different and flawed will feel. You will also become more open to connecting with others by changing the ways you think about and respond to interactions with them.

Although you cannot just choose to feel differently, you can choose how to respond to your fears of rejection and getting hurt. For instance, when you are struggling with a problem, you might decide – despite fears of rejection – to share it with a friend who has been trustworthy to this point. This can give you the support you need in the moment and a greater sense of connection with your friend. But you must choose your friend carefully. Opening yourself up to someone who is unlikely to be supportive puts you at greater risk for the very thing you fear.

Of course, you can only develop close relationships if you have opportunities to meet people you could really connect with. This is where some basic, good old-fashioned advice comes into play. Give yourself a chance to make friends or develop intimate relationships by following your interests. You might visit art galleries, join a hiking club, get involved in local politics, or become active in a charity. The idea is to do things you enjoy in the company of others who share your interest. You can’t lose because even if you don’t meet anyone special, you are doing things that tend to make you happy.

But to escape from your aloneness to a life of connection, it’s essential that you reflect on two basic factors related to your circumstance; the ways you may be keeping people at a distance and the ways you can close that distance. By increasing this self-awareness, you can gain insights into your painful aloneness and learn to confront your fears of hurt and rejection. Given how deeply this issue can be rooted in people, you may want to seek therapy to help with this process. But with persistence, you can ultimately feel better about yourself and fill the emptiness in your heart with a warm sense of connectedness.

To learn more about this approach, check out this brief video:

Making Change posts are for general educational purposes only. They may or may not be relevant for your particular situation, and they should not be relied upon as a substitute for professional assistance.

THE POEM OF TODAY –

maybe you’ll never know
why i never said a word
why i pushed you away
why i buried my feelings
why i chained my heart
and hid its key
under the deepest sea

because i couldn’t allow you to drown
in the never-ending chaos
which was only mine.

ABOUT EMPTINESS

I know that you are feeling empty and alone. I know that your mind threatens to shut your heart out and that you feel as if your soul left you a long time ago. I may not know the exact reasons why, but I do know that the feeling is eating you up inside. I see you slowly abandoning who you are, trying to gain the approval of others. I need you to know that perfection is not necessary. That your flaws make you unique and wonderful. I know that the feeling of emptiness inside you is a vacuum that threatens to consume every other emotion that you used to feel. When you wake in the morning and you are forced to continue with the day’s routines, I understand that you feel like an observer. As if you are watching somebody else’s life. And you wonder. Wonder how you became so detached from your body and so entangled in your own mind. They tell you that you are emotionless, but the truth is, you feel too intensely. It is never enough. It is always too much. Too much noise, too much pain, just too much.

It is so difficult to explain how you can be so emotional and yet devoid of emotion at the same time. The problem is that none of the emotions that brought happiness or comfort in solitude are within your reach anymore. Instead, your feelings overwhelm you; you feel uncomfortable, unfulfilled and confused. The place where your heart once was, where butterflies and excitement once resided, is now hollow. What you thought was your purpose in life now seems pointless. A sense of failure occupies the place where ambition and hope once lived. What you once dreamed of now feels like a perpetual nightmare, a continuous spiral of negativity and despair.

They tell you to reach out, to speak to people who can guide you to the meaning of life, who can heal you. But you know. You know that people often disappoint you, that it seems as though they never have enough time for you. Or worse. You feel like a burden. When you tried to seek help from someone, you felt as if you were listening in on a conversation that was not meant for you. The shame and guilt burned deep inside, and so you never went back.

I understand that you are tired. Tired of never being strong enough, or beautiful enough, of always feeling second-best. No, not even that. Of feeling like you’re not even an option. You guard your heart and build walls around your mind. It is better to keep others out. Out of this pit of darkness that consumes you, I see you emerge to enter the crowd, smiling, participating, pretending that you fit in. I know that that is not how you feel. That you are smiling because it is what is expected of you. That the void is bottomless and that being here with these people only makes you feel lonelier. You don’t relate, you do not want to relate to these people. They do not understand you. How could they? How could anyone? And so, when you go home at night, the void begins to consume you again.

Desolation. That is all there is, desolation. No joy, no happiness. Nothing can satisfy you. I see you reaching for your phone, scrolling mindlessly, searching for something that will make you feel less alone in that moment. Perhaps you have immersed yourself in your work. Look how successful you are, they all say. If only they knew that you work to fill the void. You feel as if you have lost your soul. You wonder if it will wander aimlessly forever, or if one day it might find its way back to you.

Dear students, I want you to know that you do not need to live this way forever. You are the master of your own existence, and you have the power to turn your life around. I want you to know that the void can be filled, and that although it threatens to devour you right now, it will not if you do not allow it to. Your soul is not lost; it is hiding, inside you. Like a small scared child, it has chosen to protect itself in the deepest recesses of your psyche. It wants you to find it and return it to its rightful place. When you practice meditation, when you are mindful and aware once again, you will reconnect with your soul.

Please pursue fulfillment relentlessly. Explore and chase with vigor what sets your soul on fire. Set goals, meet them, and celebrate your success. Allow yourself to feel. Feel all of it. The anger, the despair, the hurt and the pain. Feel them with ferocity and then channel them into something constructive. Some of the greatest works of art have been born out of an acute feeling of emptiness. You cannot cure your feelings; you simply need to feel them to come through to the other side. Reach out. You are not a burden. Although I know that you feel disconnected right now, those who love you will continue to help you fill the void while you learn how to do it yourself.

Love yourself with all your heart. You may not feel like you are the most important person in the lives of others, but you are always number one to yourself. Take care of yourself; be gentle and don’t criticise yourself. You have a purpose; you would not have been created if you did not. So, love yourself for the purpose you have not yet found. Understand that some people live their whole lives without knowing what their purpose is, but find happiness and joy in the pursuit of their purpose. And finally, dear students, please don’t punish yourself. I promise that nothing other than love and patience can heal the void inside. Punishing yourself will only feed the darkness. Remember that the moon and the stars need the darkness in order to shine. Shine, dear students, shine. Every day will feel warmer and lighter once you begin learning how to shine for yourself.



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I t’s likely you have felt “empty” at some point in your life – or perhaps you’ve heard someone else describe themselves in that way. But while this might be a relatively common feeling, it’s often not spoken about as a symptom of mental health issues. Typically, “feelings of emptiness” are only considered as a symptom of borderline personality disorder – a mental health condition characterised by challenges with emotions, relationships to others, and feelings of chronic emptiness.

But, after coming across many people who reported “feeling empty” when accessing mental health services in Scotland, our research team wanted to know more about the feeling, which was rarely mentioned in research. We began asking the people we interviewed whether they had ever felt this way.

This began a four-year project which involved listening to the perspectives of more than 400 people. We wanted to shed light on how common it is for people to feel empty, and why it’s important for researchers and clinicians to start paying attention to this feeling. Our research has allowed us to provide the first-ever definition of emptiness based on the descriptions of people who experienced it first hand. This has not only shown the importance of this feeling but also makes future research possible.

‘A bottomless jug’

We spoke to more than 400 people aged 18 to 80 who had reported feeling empty at some point in their lives – some rarely, some all the time. We asked them to complete an online survey where they described what it was like to feel this way.

This resulted in hundreds of emotive, first-hand accounts. Some described feeling empty as being “a kind of bottomless jug that can never be filled” and “a feeling of othering and separation from society” that “sucks all of the life and energy out of you”.

As one participant told us, emptiness is:

“When you feel like everything you do is pointless and you’re just going through the motions. Just trying to fill in the time until you die. Sometimes you have fun or something good happens which can distract you for a while, but ultimately there is a hollowness inside which never goes away. It’s as if you’re transparent and anything positive like love or joy just passes right through you without sticking and afterwards it feels like it was never there at all.”

Others spoke of motivation levels “at complete zero”, and another said:

“It felt as though I wasn’t fully part of the world, I couldn’t feel anything and nothing I did made an impact on events or other people, I ‘existed’ but I wasn’t ‘alive’.”

Interestingly, half of participants had never struggled with a mental health difficulty – showing us that emptiness is not only experienced by people who have received a diagnosis of borderline personality disorder, but that it can be experienced by people with and without mental health problems.

We also identified a strong link between feeling empty often and suicidal thoughts and behaviours, with those who felt empty all the time more likely to have thought about or attempted suicide.

It’s as if you’re transparent and anything positive like love or joy just passes right through you without sticking and afterwards it feels like it was never there at all

And, despite never having been given a definition of what was meant by emptiness – and instead asked to speak from their own perspective – hundreds of participants described the same feeling. We found that emptiness was characterised by a sense of inner void, coupled with a lack of purpose in life and a sense of disconnection from the people in their lives and the world around them. This left people feeling that they were “going through the motions”, and not able to contribute to the world and their lives as they would like.

This research has now resulted in the first definition of emptiness based on people’s personal accounts which has been published in a scientific journal. Our hope is that this will make it easier for clinicians to ask people about emptiness, and for researchers to start investigating this feeling which has previously been neglected in our conversations about mental health.

Widespread feeling

Our findings lead us to believe emptiness is far more widespread than previously recognised. Feelings of emptiness can be experienced by anyone, regardless of their mental health history – and for some it can be chronic and life-threatening. This experience is clearly complex, impacting every aspect of a person’s life and relationships.

Until now, emptiness has received little attention from mental health researchers. But our research has now given a new definition to this feeling, and has highlighted the seriousness of this experience for the people who are affected. Our research also suggests that it might be time to change the way we think about mental health, distress and the support offered – as many people struggle with emptiness, regardless of whether they’ve been diagnosed with a mental health condition or not.

But there’s still lots we don’t know. For example, why do people feel empty – and why do some feel more empty than others? What can we do about it? Answering these questions is likely to have a big impact on many people. By understanding what emptiness is, how it develops, and how to support people who feel this way, lives may be made more meaningful and deaths by suicide prevented.

The next step of this research will involve developing a way of accurately measuring peoples’ experiences of emptiness, which help us in studying it, and may ultimately help reduce the suffering caused by this complex feeling.

If you’ve been affected by anything in this article there are free helplines available to support you:

In the UK, Samaritans can be contacted on 116 123 or email [email protected] You can contact the mental health charity Mind by calling 0300 123 3393 or visiting mind.org.uk

Shona Joyce Herron is a trainee clinical psychologist at UCL. Fabio Sani is a professor of psychology at the University of Dundee. This article first appeared on The Conversation

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1 /1 Why feeling empty is often a misunderstood state of mind

Why feeling empty is often a misunderstood state of mind

Emptiness is often characterised by a sense of inner void, coupled with a lack of purpose in life and a sense of disconnection

Why you're feeling empty and how to fill the voidGod has a plan to deal with that sense of lack in our lives. – Steve Arterburn

Do you feel empty? You’re not the only one. We all struggle with emptiness from time to time. In the Bible, even David struggled with loneliness and emptiness. He cried out to God, “Turn to me and have mercy, for I am alone and in deep distress,” (Psalm 25:16, NLT).

Feelings of emptiness can give us a desire to turn to God as David did. But it becomes unhealthy when we turn to addiction to fill our emptiness.

Some people who struggle with codependency may turn to an unhealthy relationship in an attempt to fill the void in their lives, while others go shopping or binge on food to make themselves feel better. Still others turn to a bottle of pills or alcohol to numb their feelings of hopelessness.

No matter how hard your situation may seem, if you’re trying to fill the emptiness through unhealthy ways, you’ll relapse and things will get worse. To recover, you have to learn how to fill your inner emptiness in healthy ways. How? Here are a few tips to help you get started.

  • Acknowledge your feelings of emptiness.
    Try journaling about your feelings. Start by writing down everything you did right in 24 hours.
  • Notice how you’re feeling right now.
    Set a timer for five minutes, then ask yourself how you’re feeling. Are you happy? Sad? Hungry? Angry? Lonely? Tired?
  • Participate in a Life Recovery group.
    Share your feelings with others who will, in turn, share about what has helped them deal with difficult feelings.
  • Find comfort in God.
    You can pray, read the Bible, and meditate on God’s Word throughout the day.
  • Talk with a therapist.
    The more you talk about your feelings, the less power they will have over you.
  • Develop confidence.
    Do you struggle with negative self-talk and insecurity? Instead, look to God’s word to replace them with the truth of who you are in Christ.
  • Make some new healthy habits.
    Exercise. Eat healthy meals. Take regular breaks. And get plenty of rest.
  • Find opportunities to socialize.
    Need help making friends? Join a group or take a class, such as a dance or an art class, to help you to meet new people.
  • Volunteer to help others.
    Whether it’s helping at a homeless shelter or mentoring kids, helping others will help you—ultimately—fill the void and find purpose in life!

If it seems intimidating, start small by making one change this month. Everything you need to get well is within your grasp. It’s possible to fill the void in your life by strengthening your relationship with God, yourself, and others.

The apostle Paul described the fullness of God contrasted against the emptiness: “In Christ you have been brought to fullness. He is the head over every power and authority.” (Colossians 2:10, NIV)

So the next time you experience feelings of emptiness, rather than turn alcohol, drugs or codependency, turn to God and ask Him to fill the emptiness. Begin the process of recovery by taking the first step into a life that is full!

Why you're feeling empty and how to fill the void

If you’re feeling empty, you’re not alone. Many of us feel empty in different ways. For instance, you might feel empty because something is missing in your life, said Kaitlyn Slight, a marriage and family therapist in Raleigh, N.C. This might be emptiness from a loved one moving or passing away, she said.

Or the emptiness might stem from “slowly abandon[ing] ourselves, not listening to our own hopes and desires.” You might abandon yourself unintentionally or unknowingly because you’re striving for perfection or others’ approval, she said. You might stop caring for yourself while focusing on your career. For instance, you might stop moving your body or getting enough sleep. Abandoning ourselves can spark anxiety, depression, guilt and shame, she said.

Slight’s clients also mention feeling numb or alone. They mention that work is unsatisfying, they feel unsuccessful, their relationships are unfulfilling or nothing is exciting.

Many of Ashley Eder’s clients who struggle with depression report feeling empty (instead of sad). “This kind of empty feeling comes with not caring about much, not being interested in things, not feeling fueled by anything in particular.”

If you’re feeling empty, seeing a therapist can help. In particular, it’s important to get screened for depression. How you handle your emptiness depends on what’s causing it. Here are several suggestions from Eder and Slight.

1. Gently acknowledge the emptiness.

If you’re experiencing emptiness that’s more like a gaping hole, acknowledge it, and be gentle with yourself, said Eder, LPC, a psychotherapist in Boulder, Colo. Don’t beat yourself up for feeling this way. Don’t try to dismiss or change your feelings.

If this emptiness is because of a loved one’s passing, don’t get angry with yourself for grieving years later. “Because it is agonizing to lose a loved one, and though the loss changes shape over time, it never becomes ‘OK’ that the person died… In that case you learn to live life alongside that hole of missing that person.”

Sometimes, the hole forms because you missed out on love while you were growing up, Eder said. This doesn’t mean you didn’t have a loving family. “[T]here are just certain kinds of love or caring that can be missed, and then feel somewhat impossible to catch up on.”

Eder suggested speaking to yourself with compassion. For instance, you might say: “It’s hard to feel so lonely” or “You’re right; you did need more love.”

2. Spend time with yourself every day.

“[F]ight the urge to turn to the outside world for fulfillment,” Slight said. Instead of trying to fill the void with drugs, alcohol, TV, computer games or anything else, look within and spend time with yourself, she said.

Slight suggested carving out time to explore your own desires, fears, hopes and dreams. This helps you create “more meaning in your daily life and your future.”

Because different activities work for different people, you might find that meditation, writing or exercise helps you refocus on yourself.

“It may feel uncomfortable at first, but the more you practice devoting time and energy to yourself and caring for yourself, the less present those empty feelings will be.”

3. Explore your current feelings.

Eder suggested setting a timer for five minutes and noticing what you’re feeling right now. “It doesn’t have to be earth-shattering.” You might write “bored” or “distracted” or “curious,” she said. If you’re having a hard time naming your feelings, Google “feelings list,” she said.

It also can help to pick one part of your body, such as your hand or head, and “scan for various categories of sensation like temperature, tension or movement.”

“As you practice short intervals of allowing feelings, you will gradually broaden your window of tolerance to include bigger feelings for longer times.”

4. Explore your feelings of emptiness.

Slight suggested exploring the below questions. We can do this while journaling, taking a walk or drinking a cup of tea, she said.

  • Have I been judging myself or comparing myself to others?
  • Do I tell myself positive things?
  • Or do I tend to notice failures or call myself ugly or stupid?
  • Are my feelings being considered in my relationships, or am I minimizing what I am feeling?
  • Am I actively tending to my physical and health needs?
  • Have I turned toward behaviors or addictions to avoid my feelings?
  • Am I focusing solely on the needs of another person or people?
  • What am I trying to prove or win?
  • Am I blaming myself or feeling guilt about things that are out of my control?
  • Am I showing myself compassion like I would with a close friend or family member?
  • Am I asserting myself in my decisions and respecting my personal opinions?

5. Commend yourself.

As kids, some of us used our lack of feelings to protect ourselves from being overwhelmed, Eder said. “In that case, give yourself credit for coming up with a solution that worked when you were small and powerless.”

Today, take your time letting in your feelings, she said. “You have some catching up to do. And you don’t need to rush to override your old way of survival.”

Feelings of emptiness can lead to distressing thoughts, such as “life is not worth living,” or “there is no hope,” Slight said. Again, therapy can help. It can help you explore the underlying causes of your feelings and “empower you to make your own decisions about how to implement positive changes.”

It’s important to acknowledge and accept your feelings of emptiness. It’s important to be self-compassionate. “Whether you are experiencing difficult relationships, losses or feeling a lack of purpose or meaning, you are worthy of living a fulfilling and meaningful life,” Slight said.

What role does food or alcohol (or any bad habit) play in your life?

For many, these habits or patterns may fill a void – whether it’s to attain comfort or to avoid discomfort (pain, overwhelm, urges).

The word void is defined as a “completely empty space”.

I would argue that it may SEEM empty, but in truth, your void may very well contain traumas, experiences, identities or beliefs that have been covered up because they’re just too uncomfortable or painful to revisit, feel and release.

But here’s what happens when we cover up the pain and replace it with emptiness (aka: the void):

The energy of the pain or discomfort is still there.

You can sweep it under the rug, hide it, escape from it, pretend everything’s just hunky-dory, but it’s STILL THERE.

It festers.

And now you’ve taught yourself that you must “fill the void” in order to feel better and/or to prevent that pain from resurfacing.

How is the void filled typically? (pick one or more or insert your habit, addiction, behavior below):

  • overeating or eating things that don’t work for your body
  • over drinking
  • drugs
  • sex
  • shopping
  • overthinking/obsessing
  • technology (TV, phone, tablet, gaming)
  • perfectionism
  • creating drama
  • deflecting blame
  • neediness
  • avoidance/procrastination
  • self harm
  • playing the victim
  • over-anything (overexercising, over-seeking, over-learning, over-socializing, over-isolating, over-self-caring)

Basically it’s overdoing anything that serves as a distraction – ANYTHING to avoid FEELING what’s in that void.

Why you're feeling empty and how to fill the void

This is completely human by the way, but in most cases, constantly filling the void COMPOUNDS the problem by creating more problems….(weight gain, poor health, debt, stress, strained relationships, etc..)

…AND/OR it prolongs the healing that’s necessary for you to move forward…making it more difficult for you to connect the dots as to why the void was created in the first place.

Filling the void = Avoiding the root cause that created it.

So….if you feel stuck or blocked – or feel like you keep repeating the same patterns over & over again, recognize that you may be CHOOSING this behavior to fill a void (thus avoiding the root cause).

It’s not the behavior that’s the problem, it’s what’s DRIVING the behavior.

For example, if you’re overeating or overdrinking and gaining weight/hurting your health, it’s not about food or alcohol.

The food and alcohol just ARE.

It’s about WHY you’re USING food or alcohol to fill a void.

  • What void am I trying to fill with this behavior? You don’t necessarily need to relive trauma (do so with a professional if needed), but you DO need to be aware that you may be compensating for something in your past – no matter how big or small the trauma is or how recent or far back it goes.
  • Am I WILLING to see, feel and release this story, this pattern and/or this pain or discomfort? If you’re not, guess what? This pain-body energy will remain in your body and energy field festering, distorting itself, compounding the dysfunction….no matter how much you deflect and distract by filling the void with something else (including dieting, constantly needing to lose weight or seeking “what’s wrong with you” < I know, because I did this myself – for 30 years!).
  • Can I TRUST that I am capable of moving through these painful/uncomfortable feelings? You can. Get help if you need it – but just know that your feelings can’t kill you. They are literally just sensations in the body. They’re not pleasant, of course, but they’re not dangerous. Breathe, journal, be still, move your body and/or talk to a friend, coach or therapist to move through these feelings.
  • Will I be vigilant of the thoughts and subconscious patterns that will arise as I commit to this inner work of feeling the void? These patterns and thoughts are probably second nature to you. Meaning your brain has developed strong neural pathways and internal justifications so that when the sensation of those negative emotions arise in your body, your brain automatically generates an INSTANTANEOUS URGE to “fill the void”. Shifting these mindless/misaligned patterns may seem impossible and hopeless, but your POWER is in knowing that they ARE changeable – as long as you’re committed to working through those feelings – even if you’re not always perfect. (< again, this is something I had to work on too…those ‘all or nothing’, disciplined, rigid rules I’d give myself which were soooo unsustainable and self-defeating)

The bottom line is you need to FEEL what’s beneath the void that you’re trying to FILL with other things or ways of being. The void has no power over you because it’s created BY YOU. You are capable of working through those painful, uncomfortable feelings that are longing to be seen, loved and transformed so that you can truly embody who you really are.

I think I encountered the word “void” before. But I really wanted to know its meaning when I heard it in the sentence “fill that void” it Shallow, a hit performed by Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper.

Tell me something, boy
Aren’t you tired tryin’ to fill that void?
Or do you need more?
Ain’t it hard keeping it so hardcore?

“To fill a (the) void” is actually a set expression. It means a feeling of emptiness in one’s heart (or soul) you can’t fill.

Here’s another example:

He wondered how he would ever fill the void left by his son’s death.

We can use it not only when we talk about someone’s feelings but also when we need to provide something that is missing.

You can also fill a need, a gap or vacuum.

Let’s look at the examples:

Slovenian translation platform TAIA raises €1.2 million to fill the void between translation agencies and Google Translate.

Kenny Jackett is confident Pompey can fill the void of Andy Cannon while he’s on the treatment table.

How to use void in a sentence

Void could be a noun, a verb, and an adjective.

As a noun it means emptiness. The synonyms are hole, blank, gap, vacuum, lacuna.
As an adjective, it means empty or not valid.
The contract was void.

As a verb it means to cancel, withdraw or revoke (usually payments or agreements).

For instance, a voided check is a check that can be accepted for payment.

Why you're feeling empty and how to fill the void

You can also say to void a check, to make it invalid.

U.S. judge to hear Republican bid to void 100,000 votes in Texas.

Why you're feeling empty and how to fill the void

Another set expression is “null and void” which means having no force, binding power, or validity.

Here’s an example from Financial Times:
Mike Pence does not have the authority to declare the election null and void.

That’s it. Let me know if it was useful and share your sentence with any of the “void” meanings in the comments. As you know practice is everything!

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I entered my first real relationship in the 7th grade (I know—young) and stayed in this relationship until my freshman year of college. I’ll do the math for you: this relationship took up roughly six years of my life. In other words, at the age of 18, I had spent a third of my life with someone else. As you can probably imagine, this had some tough implications on my life moving forward without him—the most important being that I didn’t know how to function as a singular entity.

When you’re with someone for that long, you forget how to live alone. You forget that there’s life outside of romance. You forget how to be happy without the company of another. And those crippling feelings of loneliness creep in real fast. I struggled with these feelings off and on for about four years. And sometimes I still sense them lurking in the balance, but now I know how to resolve them.

Do you struggle with these same feelings when you’re single? Well, you’re in luck! Not because you’re feeling lonely, but because some mental health professionals are going to help me explain what really works in overcoming these lonely feelings and being happy alone:

1) Reflect on past attachments.

Karen Koenig, a licensed clinical social worker, suggests looking back at past relationships. “If loneliness is of the deeper, existential kind, it often makes a person feel not only unloved but unlovable and longing for belonging. In this case, they will need to reflect on their early attachments,” she explains. “Were they secure or insecure? Did they cause anxiety or a sense of trust and intimacy? If only another person fills the void inside them, they will need to learn how to be enough for themselves or they will never feel secure because they’ll always be afraid of losing someone.”

2) Engage in enjoyable activities.

Another simple, yet effective tip is to spend time doing what you truly enjoy doing—even if you don’t think you feel up for it. “Engage in activities you know you find enjoyable or rewarding, even if you don’t feel like doing those things at the moment,” says Dominique Talley, mental health therapist, and wellness blogger. “Loneliness comes from feeling isolated and unfulfilled, and often, people who feel lonely get caught up making a habit of doing things that keep those patterns of isolation and loneliness going (such as turning down invitations to go out with friends, etc.). Think of the activities and people that have brought you joy and enriched your life in the past. And make an effort to include more of those in your life if you’re feeling lonely. It may be difficult at first to muster any excitement about those previously-enjoyed activities, but if you can force yourself to engage in those activities (or with those people) even when it’s the last thing you feel like doing, soon enough you will start to find yourself enjoying those activities/people.”

3) Build stronger connections with friends.

It’ll also help to focus your attention on other connections—romantic relationships aren’t the only ones that matter, you know! “Humans need connection and in order to connect, we have to practice being vulnerable and sharing our real selves with those we can trust,” Julie Bjelland, licensed marriage and family therapist explains. Start to build closer friendships and spend time with others who enjoy some of the same things you do and give yourself time to connect. Having one or two connections that can be deeper is more important for many than having several more surface-level friendships.”

4) Explore the perks of being single.

Also, put some effort into exploring all that comes with being single! And capitalize on those opportunities… like putting that time and energy into a pet instead of a romantic relationship, if you’re feeling lonely. “Remember, there are many advantages to being single. Explore them! Develop a skill, take on a hobby, reshape your body, enhance your mind. The possibilities are endless,” says Caleb Backe, health and wellness expert for Maple Holistics. “Not for everyone, but adopt a pet! Inviting a living creature into your home (particularly a cat or dog) can make a big difference in your daily life and your mood. It is someone to play with, talk to, take care of, and yeah—it can help you meet other pet owners, too. Bonus!”

5) Make a to-do list for your heart.

Lastly, but just as importantly, consult your heart and make a to-do list for living compassionately. Susan Shumsky, an award-winning, best-selling author of 14 self-help books, will guide you through the process: “In order for you to overcome loneliness, begin by doing what I call the Unlimited Thinking Exercise. Take out a piece of paper and a pen. Make a list of what you would do with your life, day by day, if you had unlimited time, unlimited resources, unlimited money, unlimited helpers, unlimited energy, unlimited stamina, unlimited health, unlimited longevity, unlimited access, unlimited optimism, unlimited courage, and an unlimited support system. Please don’t write what you would buy. Instead, write how you would spend your time. Take 15 minutes to write this list. Then, when you’re done, read it over. This valuable document can be your to-do list to fulfill your heart’s desires and live in alignment with your true passions. Make a clear and final decision to manifest at least one goal on your list, and begin taking baby steps now.”

And remember—if you’re feeling lonely, these sensations won’t last forever. If you’re able to explore the positives of being alone and focusing on yourself, your next relationship will be even more fulfilling.

Feeling empty is viewed negatively in the west. We constantly distract ourselves not to have to deal with boredom. For some people though, the feeling of emptiness can’t be turned off. It becomes predominant, no matter what they do.

In eastern philosophy, feeling empty is a spiritual milestone. It’s seen as a blessing, a doorway to freedom. When you feel empty, you become receptive. I know, it doesn’t necessarily feel good. Don’t worry, feeling empty isn’t the final destination. It’s a vehicle for growth.

Your life is governed by subconscious desires and assumptions. The moment you decide to take responsibility for them, you start living consciously. Walking as the leader of your own existence is rewarding, but also challenging.

To stop living as a victim of the circumstances, you need independence ; freedom. And you’ll never be free unless you learn to deal with feeling empty. The feeling of emptiness can be disconcerting at first, but developing a healthy relationship to it will lead to an empowered life.

Why you're feeling empty and how to fill the void

Thanks Roberto Trombetta from Flickr

Emptiness is the space that takes over when you stop distracting yourself. It is what you wake up to in the morning. It is the last thing that happens before you fall asleep. It usually goes unnoticed, but is always in the background. It’s the fundamental state you return to when you stop doing stuff. When emptiness comes to your attention, you’ll start feeling empty. And if you can’t deal with this feeling of emptiness, your whole life will be affected.

In a world that encourages activity, emptiness is considered a waste. The more productive you are, the better you feel. Every unoccupied minute has to be maximized. No space left. Our mediocre school system teaches you that if you don’t get stuff done, you’re worthless.

By filling our time with commitments and distractions, we tend to forget what’s behind them. We condition ourselves to despise the space between our activities. Our inactive default state – space – becomes something to get away from. We try to escape from feeling empty inside. We might learn to meditate, but even this can be reduced to an activity. Ten minutes of meditation are added on the schedule. Another element on the to-do list.

This habit of constantly filling up space makes us dependent. Since we can’t deal with lack of movement, we lower the bar for what we accept in our actions and thoughts. Everything becomes better than nothing. We readily accept mediocrity. At least when doing mediocre activities, we don’t feel so empty.

Why you're feeling empty and how to fill the void

Ever went for groceries when starving? What happened? You ended up buying too much junk. Because of your hunger, you lowered the bar and bought food you normally wouldn’t have. You were victim of your own discomfort.

What about people who seek an intimate relationship no matter what? They lower the bar and end up with the crappiest people. They tolerate poor relationships because it’s better than feeling empty and alone.

Your life is dominated by similar patterns. Every action you take arises from a desire to change the way you feel. There’s nothing wrong with that. However, when you’re uncomfortable with feeling empty you’ll constantly act out of neediness, like a hungry animal. You’ll seek to fill your half-full cup with external events. Your actions will be reactive, and your whole environment will reflect that.

It’s possible to reverse the conditioning and live from a ground of satisfaction and peace. A feeling of emptiness could become your refuge. Ever wondered how life would be if you were comfortable with … nothing? Imagine how simple it would be. No more need to fill up your free time. No more fear of waiting anywhere. No more anxiety of being alone.

You wouldn’t tolerate bullshit anymore. Your actions would be authentic and clear. You would be confident, knowing that you can always deal with the worst ; feeling empty.

Life exists outside of doing stuff. Stop covering it and let emptiness break you and shine through. You’ll see that space is the gateway to creative living. Emptiness will break the boundaries of your mind. Use the feeling of emptiness to liberate yourself, and walk out as a free human.

If you’re faced with long-lasting and overwhelming feelings of emptiness, you should also get professional counselling. Here’s an article on feelings of emptiness that provides more info on the topic.

Learn to meditate today with our free meditation resources. Our technique is simple and effective: you’ll see benefits after the first sit!

It’s likely you have felt “empty” at some point in your life – or perhaps you’ve heard someone else describe themselves in that way. But while this might be a relatively common feeling, it’s often not spoken about as a symptom of mental health difficulties.

Typically, “feelings of emptiness” are only considered as a symptom of borderline personality disorder – a mental health condition characterised by challenges with emotions, relationships to others, and feelings of chronic emptiness.

But, after coming across many people who reported “feeling empty” when accessing mental health services in Scotland, our research team wanted to know more about the feeling, which was rarely mentioned in mental health research. We began asking the people we interviewed whether they had ever felt this way.

This began a four-year project which involved listening to the perspectives of more than 400 people. We wanted to shed light on how common it is for people to feel empty, and why it’s important for researchers and clinicians to start paying attention to this feeling.

Our research has allowed us to provide the first ever definition of emptiness based on the descriptions of people who experienced it first hand. This has not only shown the importance of this feeling, but also makes future research possible.

‘A bottomless jug’

We spoke to more than 400 people aged 18 to 80 who had reported feeling empty at some point in their lives – some rarely, some all the time. We asked them to complete an online survey where they described what it was like to feel this way.

This resulted in hundreds of emotive, first-hand accounts. Some described feeling empty as being “a kind of bottomless jug that can never be filled” and “a feeling of othering and separation from society” that “sucks all of the life and energy out of you”.

As one participant told us, emptiness is:

“When you feel like everything you do is pointless and you’re just going through the motions. Just trying to fill in the time until you die. Sometimes you have fun or something good happens which can distract you for a while, but ultimately there is a hollowness inside which never goes away. It’s as if you’re transparent and anything positive like love or joy just passes right through you without sticking and afterwards it feels like it was never there at all.”

Others spoke of motivation levels “at complete zero”, and another said:

“It felt as though I wasn’t fully part of the world, I couldn’t feel anything and nothing I did made an impact on events or other people, I ‘existed’ but I wasn’t ‘alive’.”

Interestingly, half of participants had never struggled with a mental health difficulty – showing us that emptiness is not only experienced by people who have received a diagnosis of borderline personality disorder, but that it can be experienced by people with and without mental health problems.

We also identified a strong link between feeling empty often and suicidal thoughts and behaviours, with those who felt empty all of the time more likely to have thought about or attempted suicide.

And, despite never having been given a definition of what was meant by emptiness – and instead asked to speak from their own perspective – hundreds of participants described the same feeling. We found that emptiness was characterised by a sense of inner void, coupled with lack of purpose in life and a sense of disconnection to the people in their lives and the world around them.

This left people feeling that they were “going through the motions”, and not able to contribute to the world and their lives as they would like.

This research has now resulted in the first definition of emptiness based on people’s personal accounts which has been published in a scientific journal. Our hope is that this will make it easier for clinicians to ask people about emptiness, and for researchers to start investigating this feeling which has previously been neglected in our conversations about mental health.

Widespread feeling

Our findings lead us to believe emptiness is far more widespread than previously recognised. Feelings of emptiness can be experienced by anyone, regardless of their mental health history – and for some it can be chronic and life threatening. This experience is clearly complex, impacting every aspect of a person’s life and relationships.

Until now, emptiness has received little attention from mental health researchers. But our research has now given a new definition to this feeling, and has highlighted the seriousness of this experience for the people who are effected. Our research also suggests that it might be time to change the way we think about mental health, distress and the support offered – as many people struggle with emptiness, regardless of whether they’ve been diagnosed with a mental health condition or not.

But there’s still lots we don’t know. For example, why do people feel empty – and why do some feel more empty than others? What can we do about it? Answering these questions is likely to have a big impact for many people. By understanding what emptiness is, how it develops, and how to support people who feel this way, lives may be made more meaningful and deaths by suicide prevented.

The next step of this research will involve developing a way of accurately measuring peoples’ experiences of emptiness, which help us in studying it, and may ultimately help reduce the suffering caused by this complex feeling.

If you’ve been affected by anything in this article there are free helplines available to support you:

In the UK, Samaritans can be contacted on 116 123 or email [email protected] You can contact the mental health charity Mind by calling 0300 123 3393 or visiting mind.org.uk

In other countries – visit IASP or Suicide.org to find a helpline in your country.

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

Many people live with a void inside. They feel like everything is meaningless, nothing helps, and want to escape reality.

And they seek relief in temporary sources of happiness like food, alcohol, a certain person, gambling, shopping, drugs, etc. They believe it will give them some ease, some comfort that will make them feel better. But then they feel even worse.

Because the void is deep down, and can’t be cured using outer sources.

The healing happens inside of you, because that’s where it all started.

First, you need to realize what’s going on. You need to understand that you’re searching for completeness in some random activities (often unhealthy), in other people, or places.

But they can’t give you that.

What’s causing that void?

It may be due to a life of no purpose, living without direction, without meaning. Not knowing why you do the things you do, not having figured out what’s important.

And you’ll always have that voice deep down, which is telling you that you can do much more, you can achieve big things in your life. And that will remind you of the fact that you’re not doing anything about it now.

Many people turn to the easy solution – they try to escape that feeling of unworthiness, of being no one, of doing nothing. And they choose to distract themselves, which makes things worse.

Because the void gets even bigger. And you feel even emptier.

It may also be because of a lack of connection with your true self.

If you keep lying to yourself, not believing in your abilities, running away from problems, not helping others, not sharing what’s bothering you, not loving and appreciating yourself – then you’ll be miserable, and frustrated, and desperate.

What to do to feel complete again?

It’s time to stop hiding from the truth, avoiding the hard stuff, trying to fill the emptiness with random things.

Keep in mind that many others are dealing with that too. They’re struggling every day with their inner voices, still hearing them, but trying to make them be quiet.

So here’s what to do:

  1. Understand that void. Be okay with it. – Observe it. Try to actually see it, feel it. And you’ll know why it’s there.
  2. Realize that you’re complete just the way you are. – You don’t need anyone else to feel better. You can be happy, you deserve it.
  3. Fill it:
  • see the fullness of life, the abundance you have and ignore what’s missing; , let go of past and future;
  • don’t expect anything;
  • breathe deeply and try to realize how amazing life is, how blessed you are;
  • appreciate all you have;
  • be positive – know your strengths and work on them, leave the weak points behind;
  • be mindful of everything you do, be fully there;
  • feel the freedom – there are so many opportunities around, each day is a chance to start over, to change for the better;
  • start every day with gratitude – thank for everything that was, is and will be; believe that whatever it is, it’s for the best and is the perfect thing for that exact moment;
  • do what you feel like doing, and enjoy it;
  • find your purpose, know your ‘why’ and everything will suddenly have meaning;
  • meditate – learn how to clear your mind every now and then, to just be still and notice your thoughts, emotions and breathing.

I believe that by doing all these, you can change your approach to life.
You can start living in abundance, become successful, contented and peaceful, just by fixing your relationship with yourself. And without any changes in your surroundings.

It’s all simple. And it’s what you need to do in order to have a meaningful and fulfilling journey, while going after the things you want.

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Why you're feeling empty and how to fill the void

Thanks for stopping by. I’m Lidiya, a blogger, course creator and founder of Let’s Reach Success.

I help high vibe women create an abundant, value-driven business so they can live a fearless life and provide epic value.

Why you're feeling empty and how to fill the void

I feel empty inside’ Have you ever had this thought? Felt a void inside you that you don’t know how it came about?

This feeling of emptiness inside you doesn’t have a definition, someone may describe it as sadness, others as dread or a little of both.

Feeling empty isn’t uncommon and almost all of us have felt this at some point in our lives. Whether to like to believe it or not, this feeling is real and valid. And while it can be overwhelming at times, it can be managed.

Most of the time, the feeling of emptiness lasts for a few days and can go away on its own but other times, it can persist for long and can become a symptom of an underlying mental health condition.

Let’s take a look at some of the reasons why you feel empty inside.

Why Do I Feel Empty?

Why you're feeling empty and how to fill the void

Feeling empty can manifest when you might be feeling lonely, confused about your life’s purpose, struggling with quarter-life or a midlife crisis, or feeling no motivation.

This empty feeling in your heart is not uncommon, everyone at one point feels this way. However, this experience can be caused by many factors such as changes in hormones, losing your job, or even when dealing with grief.

In some cases, feeling empty can be a sign of depression, bipolar disorder, stress, or even post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). If you’re experiencing any of the above mental health symptoms, a consultation with a professional can help.

Is Feeling Empty Same As Feeling Depressed?

Not in so many ways but feeling empty does share some signs of feeling depressed. Depression can cause symptoms such as:

  • Low or lack of motivation
  • Prolonged sadness
  • Hopelessness
  • Little or too much sleeping
  • Lack of focus
  • Lack of pleasure in activities
  • Feeling worthless

Feeling empty inside or feeling numb can also be a symptom of depression, although not always. Many people might even feel a void inside rather than sadness. If you’re experiencing the above signs of depression, consult with a mental health professional for a proper diagnosis.

What Are The Causes Of Emptiness?

Why you're feeling empty and how to fill the void

There are many emotional, mental, and physical factors that can cause this feeling of emptiness inside you. So if you feel empty inside, here are some factors that may be contributing to your feeling:

1. Lack Of Sleep

Sleep and mental health are closely related. Poor sleep can result in poor mental health and vice versa. If you haven’t gotten enough sleep, then you might feel empty inside. A good night’s rest (at least 6-8 hours of sleep) is required to improve mental and emotional strength. When you’re sleep-deprived, you feel tired and that sets the stage for negative thinking.

2. Physical Exhaustion

Feeling empty can also be because you lack the fuel to restart your mind. Exhaustion – mental and physical – can reduce your energy levels that can lead to stress and eventual burnout. When you’re too exhausted, you might lose to ability to think and feel clearly.

3. Feeling Bored

Boredom is another reason why you feel empty inside. When you feel you don’t have a purpose and you’re just going through the motions, then you might begin to feel the void gape open inside you filling you with emptiness. To avoid this, you can try making a list of activities you might feel enjoyable and engaging in those activities.

4. Loneliness

When a relationship ends, it might leave you feeling lonely. Loneliness is one of the most common reasons why people empty inside. Having a close relationship with your spouse, family, and friends is important for our wellness. When you don’t have a close relationship and are lonely, then you might feel lonely that can cause you to feel depressed and empty.

5. Grief

Grief can be hard and challenging to navigate. Losing your loved one can be devastating and can bring a host of emotions including the feeling of emptiness. Losing a loved one you spent years with suddenly can make your heart and home feel empty.

How To Stop Feeling Empty?

Why you're feeling empty and how to fill the void

If you’re feeling empty for a long time, it is recommended you speak to a therapist as it could be because of a mental health disorder too. Other times, you can chase the emptiness away in the following ways:

1. Acknowledge The Feeling

If you feel empty, then don’t ignore the feeling, instead, gently acknowledge its presence. Acknowledging will help you accept the feelings that will help you get the right help you might need. If your emptiness is because of grief, accept your loss, and give yourself the time and space needed to process your grief.

2. Spend Time With Yourself

Healing starts from within. Explore yourself, your hobbies, your ideas, etc, and get to know yourself when you’re feeling this way. Find what helps you cope with the emptiness. Is it journaling, meditation, or something else? Take time out to care for yourself.

3. Explore Your Feelings

Take 5 minutes out of your day to explore why you’re feeling empty. Is it because you’re sad, bored, or just lonely? Once you’re aware of your current feelings, you’ll know what to do to cope with these feelings.

4. Connect With Your Loved Ones

Reaching out to your loved ones can also help you reduce the feeling of emptiness. When you talk to others about your feelings, you’re allowing yourself to open up and find solutions. Keep in touch with your friends and family when you feel the emptiness inside.

6. Practice Self-Care

Take time to practice self-care when you feel down and low. There are many types of self-care that you should practice. Eat healthily, get good sleep, consider writing in a journal, or just meditate. When you care for yourself, you’ll be better equipped to chase away your emptiness with healthy coping.

Writer’s Thoughts

Feeling empty inside is not uncommon and can be hard to deal with, however not impossible. Accepting the feeling and taking the steps to care for yourself can help chase these feelings away.

If your feeling of emptiness persists then you could seek professional help for a better diagnosis. You can also write to us at [email protected] for more.

I hope the above information on why you feel empty inside helps you cope with your feelings. If this article helped you, let us know in the comments below.

Why you're feeling empty and how to fill the void

Feeling a sense of emptiness in your heart can be soul-wrenching. It can bring episodes of intense aloneness, and then also a deep, yet dull, pain that pulls you down every day like an anchor. It’s important not to despair. With some guidance, effort and persistence, you can fill that emptiness and live a happy life.

How can you do this? Below are some important steps. Each one, though not complicated, will take concerted effort on your part. You might find it helpful to write in a journal about your commitment to help yourself, as well as your struggles along the way.

Consider ways you can make yourself happy in your life. This means doing things that feel good not just in the current moment, but even when you step back and consider the wisdom of your actions. It includes momentary pleasures, such as enjoying dinner with a close friend. It also includes more value-based ventures, such as choosing a career path that is meaningful for you or committing yourself to working hard as way to take care of your family.

Be honest with yourself – especially when it is most difficult. Only when you are honest with yourself about what you think and feel in difficult situations can you act with integrity – truly feeling good about yourself.

Then be honest with those you love and who have earned your trust – especially when it is most difficult. Understanding yourself is important, but opening yourself to others is essential in filling your empty heart.

Trust that they will love you no matter what – especially when you are most vulnerable. This will undoubtably take a lot of courage because you risk getting hurt.

If they don’t accept and love you, then they are not the right people to turn to. This is essential to remember. You will sometimes make mistakes with who you trust, or with how much you trust someone. So, it often helps to open up a little at a time, allowing yourself to test the relationship in a healthy way.

Move on. This can be harder than it sounds, especially if you already feel connected. But letting go of hurtful relationships is essential in filling your life with healthy ones.

Trust again in those you love and who have earned your trust. When people have proven themselves to be trustworthy in the past, they are likely to be trustworthy in the future, too. Of course, people are not consistent. Some will fool you with being good friends at first, and then show their “true colors” later. Others will be good, but flawed, friends who make mistakes along the way. They may be worth forgiving. So, again, take your time in developing relationships, learning who and how much to trust based on experiences along the way.

When they continue to act lovingly toward you – even during difficult times – then you have found true love… whether they be family, friends, or eventually your forever partner. These people are the greatest treasures you will ever have in life, so treat them with great care.

Use these steps as guidelines for how to develop relationships. When you follow them, you will find that you are surrounding yourself with supportive and loving people who fill the emptiness of your heart with a sense of connection.

  • Happiness
  • Friendship
  • Family
  • Dating and Marriage

Dr. Becker-Phelps is a licensed psychologist in NJ and NY, and is on staff at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital, Somerset. She is dedicated to helping people understand themselves and what they need to do to become emotionally and psychologically healthy. She accomplishes this through her work as a psychotherapist, speaker and writer. She is the author of Bouncing Back from Rejection and Insecure in Love.

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Why you're feeling empty and how to fill the void

If you suffer chronic emotional emptiness, you never feel satisfied. In fact, you continually feel flooded with a sense of emptiness. “I’m stuck in a rut, every day is the same. Nothing motivates me so I just end up doing nothing. I don’t feel good or bad, happy or sad. I’m just stuck in the middle, waiting for life to pass me by. I feel empty inside”. These are the kind of things you’ll find yourself saying if you’re suffering from chronic emotional emptiness. You feel empty and apathetic. In fact, you don’t even feel like getting out of bed each day.

Feeling empty is one of the worst feelings you can ever experience. Furthermore, it’s exhausting to feel that nothing either satisfies or motivates you. Many people experience this feeling at some point in their lives. However, if it starts to become your usual emotional state, you should raise the alarm. Because it means something isn’t right. Furthermore, you may need professional help to overcome it.

“Life is never made unbearable by circumstances, but only by lack of meaning and purpose.”

-Victor Frankl-

Chronic emotional emptiness

Feeling this kind of boredom, emptiness, and apathy might mean you try to fill the void with activities to stop yourself from thinking too much. Or you might choose to mix with highly emotional people to try and fill that emptiness you feel.

Some people find comfort in addictive substances such as drugs or alcohol or in compulsive eating.

If you don’t address existential emptiness, you’ll probably find yourself trying to fill the void with anything that makes you feel some kind of strong emotion.

However, none of these things work. They’re only temporary cures. In fact, they only serve to enhance your feelings of inner emptiness.

Consequently, you find yourself suffering from chronic emotional emptiness. You’re continually searching for something to satisfy you, without success. You feel you’re never happy and you always need more.

How to deal with chronic emotional emptiness

Recognize it

William James, a renowned American philosopher and psychologist, said that, “Acceptance of what has happened is the first step to overcoming the consequences of any misfortune”. In other words, don’t reject what’s happened to you or take refuge in damaging behaviors. Instead, accept your feelings of emptiness and start to seek meaning in your life.

Let yourself feel empty

Let the emptiness and apathy flow through you. If you feel sad, cry. If you feel cross, get angry. In fact, giving room to negative emotions can help you feel better.

“I actually think sadness and darkness can be very beautiful and healing.”

-Duncan Sheik-

Get to know yourself

Socrates said, “Know thyself, for once we know ourselves, we may learn how to care for ourselves”. Therefore, if you’re feeling empty inside, constantly looking for something to satisfy you, you might need to stop looking outside and look inside yourself instead.

Discover yourself. What do you need? What do you feel? What do you want? What are your hopes and fears? These questions can be a starting point for your own self-awareness and the start to finding meaning in your life.

Remember that the more you take care of yourself and learn to know yourself better, the more the feeling of emptiness will disappear. Because that void you’re seeking to fill outside of yourself can only really be filled within yourself.

Find activities that make you feel better

If you’re suffering emotional emptiness, you might find yourself seeking to fill the void with extreme and harmful activities like alcohol or substance abuse. That’s because they make you experience strong emotions. If you find yourself in this situation, you need to look for activities, hobbies, and tasks that are positive and healthy. They’ll help you fill that void. Furthermore, you’ll discover things that you enjoy and that let you live your life in a healthy and positive way.

In short, as Jorge Bucay suggests, don’t get carried away by emptiness and apathy. Because this only leads you to negative situations. Instead, focus on looking for healthy situations that help you. In fact, Bucay claims, “We’re not responsible for our emotions, but we are responsible for what we do with them”.

“Man is originally characterized by his “search for meaning” rather than his “search for himself”.”

-Viktor Frankl-

Appreciating what you have will help rid you of chronic emotional emptiness

Finally, take a look at everything you have in your life. Because when you only focus on what’s missing, you ignore what you do have.

Appreciate what you have. Concentrate on what makes you feel good. Focus on experiencing everything you’re capable of. Learn to value everything in your life. Finally, always remember that, at those times when you feel lost, meaning is always there, just waiting to be found.

“Until you value yourself, you won’t value your time. Until you value your time, you won’t do anything with it.”

-Scott Peck-

Why you're feeling empty and how to fill the void

Unless you’re either still emo or a superbeing, emptiness does not feel good. In an oh-so-ironic twist, however, feeling empty can actually be a surprisingly fulfilling experience.

In fact, if you’re feeling empty it just might be the best thing ever. Emptiness is a hard thing to feel because it feels like.

what’s that word again? Oh yea,

Feeling empty can be so anti-climactic, so dull, so silent – a place devoid of even the smallest motion. We are so (understandably) averse to feeling empty that we’ll do almost anything to fill ourselves up, even if we know it’s hurting us. Avoiding the feeling of emptiness is part of the reason so many people overeat, for example. “Comfort food” is not food that makes you feel energetic or lighter or cleansed, it’s food that makes you feel full.

We long to feel full, not empty.

What’s not said enough is that feeling empty at times is natural, normal, incredibly common and (dare I say) healthy. Particularly during times of transitions, feeling a sense of emptiness is par for the course — a signal of opportunity and a clear space for something meaningful to enter into your life.

The challenge becomes tolerating the emptiness while finding and creating meaningful pursuits to fill yourself up with, which can be so much harder than it seems. The temptation to fill the emptiness back up with meaninglessness (like Twizzlers and Law and Order marathons, for example) can be incredibly strong, resulting in those disheartening moments of regression that we mistake as failure and get stuck in.

The good news is that if you’re able to tolerate feeling empty from time to time (i.e. you don’t have to be perfect at it for change to occur), you’re heavily rewarded by this amazing thing called genuine fulfillment. You feel fulfilled because instead of distracting yourself constantly with random (and sometimes harmful) stuff to fill the void, you allow yourself the time it naturally takes to create and discover the person/job/hobby/city/passion/etc. that’s genuinely right for you.

An important note: taking time to discover what’s right for you can often be super annoying and tedious while you’re doing it, but be warned that people sell it as this grand adventure that feels exciting. Don’t get me wrong, self-discovery is a beautiful thing, that I know for sure. But when you’re feeling empty and you’re in the middle of the process, it usually doesn’t feel beautiful and grand and adventurous. It feels more on the eye-roll worthy/laborious/lonely side of the spectrum.

So, just managing expectations here, don’t expect to want to tolerate the empty feeling or to get excited about anything right away. Know that the beauty of it all is retroactive, you typically feel it later. In the moment you’ll probably be more like, “Ok, I tried to just sit here with nothing but my thoughts for 2 minutes, this is stupid. I’m gonna go see if there are anymore of those chips left.”

Keep trying. Explore. Take a walk, sit in a coffee shop or bakery you’ve never been to, begin a tactile hobby, listen to new music, cook Italian food, switch some things up. You can’t move forward if you don’t learn to sit with yourself first. You can’t find what’s right without stumbling through a lot of what’s wrong.

The idea of embracing emptiness is encouraged in a beautifully simple quote by Lao Tzu (whom I happen to keep on spiritual retainer) which reads:

“The usefulness of a pot is in its emptiness.”

I love a good quote. And I like putting quotes in my own words because depending on the time and situation, the quote takes on different meaning. As I type this end bit of the post, here’s my interpretation of Lao Tzu’s words:

Your emptiness and your potential are the exact. same. thing.

Evading the emptiness with self-destructive or numbing behaviors is also evading your potential for a new way of being. In turn, letting in the emptiness is also letting in the potential.

Wanna help someone who might not know that emptiness is part of the deal when reaching for what you want? Share this post!

Why you're feeling empty and how to fill the void

Hey Helen, to stop feeling lonely, understand what’s driving your feeling of loneliness.

Contrary to popular belief, loneliness has nothing to do with whether you are single or attached. You can be attached and feel lonely, just as you can be single and not feel lonely.

For example, I have friends who were attached and felt highly neglected in their relationships. Even though they were with someone, they appeared worse off than when they were single. On the same note, I have friends who are single but feel perfectly at ease with themselves, never once feeling like they are in a place of lack. They do not feel lonely despite being alone.

Loneliness — A State of Being

So if loneliness is independent of one’s companionship status, what causes loneliness? I have come to learn from experience that loneliness is a state of being. It’s the result of an internal void that has yet to be addressed.

My Experience Dealing with Loneliness/Emptiness

For example, there were times in my past when I would feel a little empty; I wished I had someone in my life. I would watch movies and feel silent envy for the characters who find love by the end of the shows. I would think of conscious couples I know of in real life and feel happy for them, while wishing that I would meet someone for me at some point in the near future.

When I drilled into this wish, I realized that I was craving for love from another (the right guy, not just any guy). Going deeper, I realized that this desire, this craving, was a result of not loving myself enough. There was a part of me that was blocked off to love, which resulted in the emptiness feeling. I had hoped to fill the lack of love in me (an internal void) with love from someone else (an external entity).

Clearly, getting attached is not the solution. If I were to get attached to fill the emptiness, it would only create a disastrous relationship. Firstly, I would continue to feel empty whenever my partner was not around or when I feel that I was not getting the attention I want from him. Next, I would become dependent on him to feed me with love, resulting in a clingy, fear-based relationship, rather than being a complete individual living her life and becoming a better person through her relationship. Last but not least, the feeling of emptiness would resurface if I were to break up with my partner in the future.

Hence, it was more important that I resolve my internal void from within rather than get together with someone to fill the void, because the latter approach is not sustainable.

So, I worked on resolving this void. I delved into my lack of self-love, which included my body image issue and my poor self-image. I addressed these issues one at a time, as I had detailed in my body image series and my beauty article.

One thing I realized was that I was holding off from connecting with others because I was so immersed in my work and other life agenda. The heart part of me was starved. Rather than close myself from the world, I began to open my heart to others and get out there to make new connections with like minds.

I also recognized that there is no need to “find” love (not in the fear-based way), for love is everywhere around us—from a mother’s love for her child, to a couple’s love for each other, to a friend’s love for his/her friends, to a child’s love for his/her parents. I was unable to see this because I had been so one-tracked in my definition of love.

As I unraveled my self-love issues one at a time, I stopped feeling those moments of emptiness. While I might have an urge to get together with someone in the past, I became more grounded in my being. I began to see and feel completeness as myself, rather than look for romance to fill my void. I continued to be open to dating, not to fill a void, but to create a synergistic relationship with a conscious, compatible individual.

Deal with Your Internal Voids

If you are lonely, ask yourself: “Why am I lonely?”

Chances are you will uncover voids to be addressed. These voids can be a lack of self-love, a lack of fulfillment in your life, or a lack of self-confidence.

Identify these voids, then take steps to fill those voids by adjusting your self-beliefs and/or taking actions to create your desired reality.

For example, maybe you feel a void because you lack self-confidence. Maybe you feel ugly because you are overweight. You feel self-conscious whenever you are out with people, especially thinner people. If so, create a healthy diet plan and exercise regime and stick to them; at the same time, work through your internal body image issues. (Read: How To Love Your Body (4-part series))

On the other hand, maybe your void comes from a lack of self-worth because you are not doing as well professionally relative to your peers. If so, take a proactive step in upgrading your work skills. Update your resume, talk to headhunters, and explore better career opportunities in the market. At the same time, know that your worth should not be tied to your professional success. Your worth exists independently as its own.

Or, perhaps you feel a void because you wish you have more confidants in life. If so, develop your social finesse. Expand your social circles. Make new friends and develop stronger friendships with your existing friends. Read:

Whatever your internal voids are, know that they can be addressed. Why? That’s because you are a being of abundance. You are born with a never-ending flow of love, energy, and power.

The reason for your internal voids isn’t because you come from a place of lack, but because you have misguided notions about yourself/the world. Once you truly realize that this world is not one of scarcity but abundance, your feeling of loneliness will naturally dissipate. You do not need a relationship, any relationship, to complete yourself, because you are already complete.

Your partner may share many of your emotions, or none of them. We’ve spoken to thousands of women about how they felt after a miscarriage. Some of the women who have shared their stories with us have talked about emotions such as grief, guilt, emptiness, fear and loneliness. You may find it reassuring to read about other women’s experiences.

There is support available if you’re finding it difficult to cope with your feelings. Your GP will be able to help you access the support you need.

You can also talk to a Tommy’s midwife free of charge from 9am–5pm, Monday to Friday on 0800 0147 800 or email them at [email protected] . Our midwives are also trained in bereavement support.

Grief

You may not have been able to meet or hold your baby but that doesn’t mean your grief is any less real.

Some women and couples don’t feel comfortable with this grief. They may feel it’s unjustified because they never met their baby. It doesn’t matter how far along you were, nothing should stop you from grieving for the baby you made. No matter how many people say, ‘it wasn’t really a baby yet’, you may feel in your heart that it was a baby the moment you conceived and no-one can take that away. Many women start imaging their baby’s future from the moment they knew they were pregnant. You may need some time to mourn your baby and all the hopes and dreams you had for them.

“I am a mother of three – the unusual bit is that our three are not with us…I’d had hope and dreams for all my little ones, I’d loved them fiercely and wanted to protect them.” Sarah’s story. Read more.

Shock

Miscarriage can come as a huge shock to some couples and it is natural to need time to make sense of what has happened. Some women don’t even have any symptoms and sadly only discover the loss when they attend a routine antenatal appointment for an ultrasound scan (a missed miscarriage).

Whatever your experience of miscarriage, it’s completely understandable to be in shock. This is not how anyone expects or hopes their pregnancy to end.

One minute we were sitting happy and excited in the waiting room, ready to see our baby for the first time. The next we were being ushered to a different unit in the hospital to discuss how to have our baby removed. Shock doesn’t begin to describe it. I hadn’t had any indication there was anything wrong. I’d never even heard of a missed miscarriage. It didn’t feel real.” Marta

Failure and guilt

You may feel like you’ve failed as a mother. The idea that a baby in your care, inside you, could stop growing can be very difficult to face. You might feel terrible guilt that you are responsible in some way for your baby not being born. You might question all the things you’ve done over the last few weeks and wonder whether there was something you did that caused your baby’s brief life to end.

It is important to know that miscarriages very rarely happen because of something you did or didn’t do. The most common cause of early miscarriage (the most common type of miscarriage) is chromosomal abnormalities in the baby, and these happen by chance.

“What if there is something I can do next time to tip the odds in my baby’s favour? Because right now, if someone with a medical qualification told me I had to spend my entire pregnancy hopping on one foot while only eating broccoli and wholemeal bread, I’d do it if I thought it would raise my chances of giving birth to another healthy baby.” Catherine’s story. Read more.

Emptiness

Many women say they have changed after getting pregnant. They have a new identity as a mother. For this to be taken away for no apparent reason can leave you feeling empty. Partners may feel this loss of their new identity as a parent too.

“When you get that positive pregnancy test, you are a mother-to-be. Whether it’s 5, 10, or 26 weeks, you are changed.” Louise’s story. Read more.

Loss of control

One of the most overwhelming things about parenthood is that so much is out of your control. You cannot always control when you get pregnant, and it is out of your hands whether that baby will grow into a little person. All you can do is follow advice and prepare your body as best as you can. Still, this doesn’t guarantee anything and this can be very hard to accept.

Most women and couples never find out why they miscarried. It can be devastating when something like this happens and you don’t know why.

“The worst part for me is the not knowing why. Why did my babies die? How could I carry a perfectly healthy child the first time and not the second or third? Why can’t they test me to find out? Why? Why? Why?” Leanne

You may find yourself overcome with fear and anxiety that you might have another miscarriage or other complications in pregnancy if you’re thinking about trying for another baby. This is a natural reaction, particularly if you don’t know why you miscarried or if this isn’t the first time it’s happened.

These anxieties may get worse when you get pregnant. It may help to talk to someone about how you feel now. Your GP will be able to help you access the support you need.

Jealousy

You may find yourself feeling envious, resentful or unable to be happy for someone else when they announce their pregnancy or the birth of their baby. It can be particularly difficult if the timing coincides with important dates for you in relation to your own loss.

Try not to be hard on yourself because there are many women who feel the same way.

“But it just hits you from nowhere. I walked into a toilet last week in a restaurant, smack bang into a pregnant lady. It almost ruined my day. I see friends get pregnant and I resent them.” Read more.