Community//

The lack of meaning in life

Where does the feeling of emptiness come from and how do we handle it

I guess we all know this feeling of emptiness that sometimes feels like a lack of meaning or lack of purpose in life, right? We all have been there in our lives. Some get out easier than others. Some go deeper and deeper into this void or emptiness, which can be really scary. It can end up as anxiety or depression. Sometimes it is the other way around, anxiety and depression are there first and then we feel empty, and with emptiness also often loneliness.

What can we do to get out? Well, by thinking about getting out we probably are already on the wrong track–first, we have to get in. Like with all emotions and feelings, avoiding them and just running away won’t help. First, we have to feel them and get in touch with them.

Imagine, your emotion is like the sound of an alarm clock, this emotion shows up to tell you something. “Hey wake up!” If you ignore this alarm like you would like to do with the sound of an alarm clock, it just gets stronger. Sit next to an alarm and try to ignore it, you know what I mean, right?

I have felt empty a few years in my life!

At that time I was wondering why, and I couldn’t understand myself either the situation. I had a great job, friends, a husband, a nice apartment. I was healthy, but I was so empty inside. For many years I tried to ignore it, telling myself “all is fine”. But no, it did not work. My body started to show me signs, finally, I got sick, I got moody, I got kind of depressed.

Luckily I started to get in touch with this emptiness. I understood that in order to get out, I needed to take action. First I took on a coach, someone I could talk to and who understood my situation. Because if you talk to friends or parents, they want to tell you to avoid your emotions, because that is what they were told to do, too. As early as childhood we are told not to trust our emotions. Like when you fell down as a kid and you started crying, you were told: ”Ohhh come on, it is nothing, stop crying!” And so we learn how to “not trust our feeling”, “what I am feeling now is nothing, get over it!” And that is what we continue to do, ignoring our emotions as if it is nothing.

So what can we do to get into it and to understand what is going on?

Please try these three simple tools and see if you can get in touch with what is:

Meditation

Meditation is a great way to get in contact with your body and mind. Start by just sitting down and taking awareness of what you are feeling inside your body, what thought is coming up, where in the body do you feel it. Just observe, accept what is, respect. Do not judge what you are feeling, do not push it away

Breathing

Sit down and concentrate on the breath. Feel the inhalation that is entering the body, feel the exhalation that is leaving the body. Where in the body do you feel the breath? How is the breath coming in and out? Is it easy to breathe in and out, is it a short and superficial breath or is it a long and deep breath? The breath connects you with your body and the emotions, and again accept what you feel without judging or attaching to it.

Journaling

Sit down in the morning and in the evening and write down your thoughts and emotions, allow them to come up, put them in writing, allow everything to come up and out. Acknowledge everything that is. If you are right-handed, maybe write with your left hand, you get more connected with your subconscious mind and you might get new ideas and thoughts.

When I coach clients these days, I often see how difficult it is to understand the emptiness, often people have no idea why they are in this situation like I had no clue 15 years ago in my own life. Signs of emptiness can be a strong feeling of being lost like nobody cares about you, life has no worth. You might find yourself turning to food, alcohol, drugs, TV, in order to numb the feelings, but these are just short-term ‘comfort creating situations’, that are not changing the root of your actual state. Reaching out to friends and creating a deeper social life can help, but also here it needs to fulfill you and not just be a cover-up like watching TV or binge eating.

The root needs to be discovered. It can be a traumatic childhood situation, or a long-term grief which is not healed, or the disconnection to your own desires and pleasures, or a mental illness. For sure it is important to figure it out.

Maybe consider some of these thoughts in your meditation or journal about them:

• Have you had goals earlier in life? Why have you stopped striving for them?

• What did you like and enjoy when you were younger? Why did you stop doing it? Could you do it again?

• Are you afraid of people and socializing?

• What motivates you?

• What are or were your priorities in life and have you lost them? Why? For whom?

Hopefully, these questions are helping you to get an idea of where to start in order to get a connection to your emptiness. Start to meditate and journal about it and please feel free to get in contact with me. Please click here and find worksheets to go through to gain more clarity and maybe more meaning in your life. 

The Thrive Global Community welcomes voices from many spheres. We publish pieces written by outside contributors with a wide range of opinions, which don’t necessarily reflect our own. Learn more or join us as a community member!
Share your comments below. Please read our commenting guidelines before posting. If you have a concern about a comment, report it here.

Sign up for the Thrive Global newsletter

Will be used in accordance with our privacy policy.

Thrive Global
People look for retreats for themselves, in the country, by the coast, or in the hills . . . There is nowhere that a person can find a more peaceful and trouble-free retreat than in his own mind. . . . So constantly give yourself this retreat, and renew yourself.

- MARCUS AURELIUS

We use cookies on our site to give you the best experience possible. By continuing to browse the site, you agree to this use. For more information on how we use cookies, see our Privacy Policy.