Is Something Missing?
Here are 3 Healthy Ways to Fill the Void
~Stop looking outside yourself to fill it, you have to look inside…
Do you find yourself constantly searching?
I suffered from a near constant feeling of being unsatisfied. It was like an annoying itch I tried to scratch but never seemed to eradicate. I used to think that I was cursed with an inherent discontent, that I was a person who would never be content.
I was lucky enough to be a white, middle-class American with a nice husband and good job. I’ve traveled outside my rural Michigan bubble enough to know I live a life many would literally die for.
I felt terribly guilty for wanting more but I couldn’t shake the feeling that something was missing. I wanted more.
I was broken, not as good as all those people who could be happy and satisfied with life.
Eventually, I realized evolution and growth are built into our natural instinct; and those instincts push us to seek…there isn’t anything wrong with me, this is basic human nature, we are meant to grow, to seek, to push forward.
What a relief, that awareness alone feels better but there is more we can do.
Here are 3 Healthy Ways to Fill the Void
~Think of your emptiness not as something missing but as room to invite something in…
How well do you know yourself?
First and foremost we need to discover who we are, what we are about, and what we want. I’m not talking about what our partners want, what our society wants, or what the neighbors are doing.
I’m talking about deep personal soul searching here.
What do you value? When you understand what you value and dig deeper into why you value these things you begin to scratch the surface of what your soul might be yearning for.
Get out your journal and dig into this.
I value FREEDOM. It’s definitely top of my list. Why do I value freedom? Because I want to be autonomous. I want to be self-governing, I want to be in charge of myself and my time. I want to have the freedom to spend my most valuable asset, time, to live into my values.
I value CREATION.
I want to create my own life. I want to add positive value to the world with the work that I do. I want to create and cultivate beauty all around me.
I value HEALTH.
Why do I value health? Because I’ve watched my mom suffer from COPD and the results of other poor lifestyle choices in her golden years. I value health because I value freedom and my body is my vehicle.
I value BEAUTY or Aesthetics.
Why do I value beauty? Because I really appreciate the fall colors, a painting that resonates with me, interesting music, and good design to name just a few.
I value GROWTH.
I value growth because I have learned that for me, I need a little novelty, learning, and forward movement in my life or I begin to feel stagnant.
I value CONNECTION.
I want to feel a connection with the earth, with the web of life that we are all part of, with other humans.
This is self knowledge, it’s critical to know yourself if you’re ever to discover what’s missing.
Do you feel grounded?
What does that even mean? Being grounded is a feeling of foundation, connection, and self knowledge.
When you know what is most important to you, your values, and you give weight to those values in your life you will always have a firm footing. If you feel like something is missing take a look at what you value and you will likely see where you are falling short.
If you value connection and go to parties all the time yet still feel lonely, maybe you could invite a friend for a coffee date instead.
If you value beauty but your house is a mess maybe you could begin to put things in order.
If you value freedom yet let people make all your decisions, maybe you can begin to take your power back, one small decision at a time.
Get your values front and center and begin to live into them, eventually you will create a solid foundation and when things get tough you will be grounded in the knowledge you have of what’s important to you.
Goals can give us direction and help us feel engaged…
Working toward a goal we may feel happier and be more engaged in our lives.
If you're feeling stagnant, I highly recommend looking for a new goal to achieve or a new thing to learn or a new way to grow.
Beware: Sometimes we are so busy chasing goals we don’t stop to make sure we are chasing the right ones. Slow down to see if your goals are aligned with, you guessed it, your values.
Make sure you are not chasing perfection…
We humans will never find perfection outside of ourselves. People in our lives will never be perfect, our wardrobes will never be perfect, our romantic relationships will never be perfect, our hair will never be perfect.
The search for perfection will always leave us unsatisfied.
Naturally we humans want to evolve and grow and get better…this is why we tend to strive for perfection. It’s built into us, it’s totally natural.
So if we are naturally made to strive for perfection how do we cope when things are not perfect? When we feel like we aren’t good enough, when we feel like people don’t measure up, when we want more?
By maintaining a healthy perspective.
We maintain a healthy perspective with knowledge of self and our connection to the larger world.
~When we are grounded in our values, we know what is truly important in our lives.
~When we have a spiritual practice it helps us maintain a healthy perspective about what is important in life and how we are connected to it.
~When we realize that perfection lies in the unfolding of life itself, in all its twists, and dirt, and chaos.
These are the things that will give us perspective.
This seems easy right?
Of course I know it’s silly to search for the perfect throw pillow in the grand scheme of things. But when we aren’t maintaining a healthy perspective we do easily get caught up in the minutiae or we get stuck in our heads ruminating about what’s missing. Life gets busy and we lose sight of what is important.
How do we maintain a healthy perspective?
Creating a practice and rituals helps you to remember your humanness, your grace, and your connection to all that is. It helps you maintain - Perspective.
When we are reminded regularly of the bigger picture we can see how many of our worries and wants are inconsequential. We can see where we fit in to all of it and most of all we can see how love and compassion is the most important thing and how to embody that.
Maybe you already have a spiritual practice or religion that provides just what you need, if so, yay you!
Maybe you don’t. I’m not a theologian and I don’t adhere to a particular religion. I am, however, a spiritual person.
I like this description from Hinduism. Spiritual practice is one's journey towards awareness of self, the discovery of higher truths, true nature of reality, and a consciousness that is liberated and content.
I think being grounded in spirituality helps us to remove all the excess of modern human life and strip things down to life’s essence. What is true, essential, just matter and energy. When we strip away all the excess we are left knowing that everything is connected.
Our earth and bodies are matter and our life or soul is energy and I like to think there is something very divine in our ability to be aware of this.
All this is constantly moving and vibrating and what is me right now may easily be you in a moment. We are connected. This perspective strips away judgment and shame and differences.
Nothing is missing, we are whole and complete and divine. Life is unfolding as it does and we are lucky enough to be along for the ride.
Being reminded of these ideas requires practice.
If you don’t already have one or maybe it’s time to dust off the one you do have, create a spiritual practice that includes personal rituals that will remind you as often as you need reminding of who you are, what you value, what is important, and where you fit into life’s unfolding.