How to Fill the Emptiness in Your Life

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“Admit it. You aren’t like them. You’re not even close. You may occasionally dress yourself up as one of them, watch the same mindless television shows as they do, maybe even eat the same fast food sometimes. But it seems that the more you try to fit in, the more you feel like an outsider, watching the “normal people” as they go about their automatic existences.

For every time you say club passwords like “Have a nice day” and “Weather’s awful today, eh?”, you yearn inside to say forbidden things like “Tell me something that makes you cry” or “What do you think deja vu is for?”  Face it, you even want to talk to that girl in the elevator.

But what if that girl in the elevator (and the balding man who walks past your cubicle at work) are thinking the same thing? Who knows what you might learn from taking a chance on conversation with a stranger? Everyone carries a piece of the puzzle. Nobody comes into your life by mere coincidence. Trust your instincts. Do the unexpected. Find the others…”   Timothy Leary

You might yearn to say tell me something that makes you cry. This excerpt rings one word loud and clear to me.  Meaning.  We are desperately seeking, craving and yearning for meaning.

The train halting truth is that you might look the same, dress the same, walk the same and talk the same, but you’re not the same.  You might even be looking down at your life like an outsider; going through the motions, wondering who the heck you even are.

Arrogant questions might pop in your head – questions such as how can everyone aimlessly wander through this existence without question or purpose.

But isn’t it true that you never even considered that everyone might be thinking the same thing as you.

What’s missing?

What’s the point?

How can you fill the emptiness that is growing inside of you?

We trudge through our days – work, kids, errands, demands, annoyances and non meaning.  Some days we might wonder how we stop from smashing our computer screens in with our staplers before jumping out the third story window?

But we don’t jump (well, maybe a few of us do) but the majority of us don’t jump and do you know why?  Because on some level we all know that what we are seeking is right there; it’s just under the surface.

It’s so close. It’s so close.  It’s so close.

“It’s so close we don’t recognize it and because it’s so easy we don’t believe it and we go looking for it everywhere else.” ~ Dzogchen Ponlop Rinpouche 

I’ve always felt slightly different from my peers; I would describe the feeling as a slight disconnect. I couldn’t understand how everyone could sail through life – work, families, clubs seemingly happy without asking any difficult questions.

My mind has always ran a thousand miles a minute; seeking happiness and contemplating deep questions and philosophical meanders – deep to the point where I shyed away from small talk because of its triviality. I was always confused over the meaning of life and I was desperate to quiet down my non-stop questions.

I struggled, struggled for years to fill up that hole that was expanding inside of me, a hole that was threatening to swallow me up.

So what did I do? Well I did was any crazy, 20 year old, immature women would do.  I searched for happiness – I searched everywhere.  I dated intriguing men, travelled around the world and had exciting jobs. But the truth is, and maybe this is a truth that only experience and wisdom can reveal; is that none of these things filled up that emptiness.  All it did was leave me broken hearted, broke and even more confused about the meaning of life?

You might be yearning to call me out on this – c’mon, travelling to Australia with your intriguing boyfriend didn’t fill the void?  The answer is really.  Really, it didn’t!

I felt empty because I was looking outside of myself.  It’s as simple as that.

So stop it.  When you never look inward you don’t fill up yourself.  You drain out, the meaning empties out. You need to look inside.

The truth is that anytime you try to distract yourself from feeling what you’re feeling, you’re avoiding the fact that you feel broken or empty.

If there is a void inside you then no amount of distraction is going to fill that damaged, gapping, broken hole.  Until you face the void head on no person or thing will ever make you feel complete.

You need to really feel and experience the uncomfortable space that is the void.  When you are able to do this you will begin to heal the void.

Maybe you feel like your life is empty without a certain person who loves you… but the truth is that maybe you don’t know how to define yourself without it.

You need to come face to face with who you are.  Your raw true existence.  And when you do the mask you wore above, the one that left you feeling like you might jump from the third story window if you had to pretend any longer is gone.  You are no longer in disguise.  Everyone can see you.  It’s refreshing.

You need to feel.  You need to feel, feel, feel.  You need to feel pain, jealousy, sadness, hurt, fear and loss.  You need to face it.  Take a look at what’s missing.

You need to mediate on the void, let it be, let it out.  Cry, get mad, but whatever you do, don’t try to stuff the void with another job, man, or vacation.  Allow yourself to heal.  Allow yourself to be authentic.  Discover your inner beauty and joy.

Filling the void starts with a single step today.  You know what to do, you know you have to do it.  Let go of the past, what you were doing is all wrong.

You know the next step, you are already on the path. Take the step, then  pause, contemplate and take another step.  Explore and take chances.  Take another step; fail, cry, laugh and be authentic.  Step backwards, step forward again – love, love love.

Featured photo credit:  Undazir

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  • Kellie

    Thank you for your insight. I am on the very mission that you explained so simply. Simple but not easy. Authentic. Any truly sucessful person must be authentic.

    • Tina Williamson

      It is so simple, but not so easy! Being authentic takes a lot of self work and observation, but it’s so worth it :)

  • Karen

    Hi, Tina!
    What a great blog! Timothy Leary really had it going on, didn’t he? I, too, have always felt different, like I didn’t belong. But he’s so right… Once you open yourself to finding others who are on the path, the conversations and connections you make can be so uplifting and encouraging. “Where are they?” I used to say to myself. They are few and far between, in my experience, but it’s precisely because they’re so rare that they are so precious. Looking forward to more of your insights. Jai Baghwan!

    • Tina Williamson

      Honestly those couple paragraphs by Timothy 0’leary sum up what I have felt for years but have been unable to put into words! He certainly does have it going on.
      I think we humans are given such a rare gift to be able to contemplate these questions. It’s a shame if we don’t open ourselves up to others!

  • Glauco Fox

    You were talking to me, really, I felt like all I needed to tell the psychologist (which I’ve never been to) was right there, and I read through your text in the hopes that I’d finally be able to sort this out. Now that someone gone through the same and managed to heal. But then you gave me all these abstract directions, and I’m back to where I started. Why can’t this be easier?

    I’ve done all the jazz, traveled the world, met the girl, threw the questions around to random people in search for answers to my own questions. All I could find is that all they seem to care about is this fabricated success that involves climbing a financial social ladder that ultimately, will lead them to where I stand now.

    Anyway, that was a great text indeed, and it was the first thing I could really relate in a long long time, thanks for enabling me some self-knowledge. Regards from Brazil!

  • Noemi

    You just said it out loud… what a wonderfully written story. And how true, it does feel true to me. I always felt an outsider, since childhood, a person with deep thoughts and feelings, could never understand how other people find it so easy to navigate through daily tasks and not even question the meaning of it all. And yes, I know what you mean about finding the meaning within self. That’s the only way, but it is a lonely one. Thank you for sharing your thoughts, feels comforting to relate to someone. :) Be happy!

    • Tina Williamson

      Hi Noemi, I can completely relate, I’ve often felt like an outsider as well, wondering how and why everyone else seems so content! Finding our way can be such a lonely road, I agree, but it’s well worth it. It is so nice to see that someone else feels the same way I do. Cheers, Tina