Emptiness, a void so cold and unrelenting you lose track of time. Has it been a minute or has it been a month? Feeling so empty that time feels like it passes in the blink of an eye while also feeling like an eternity.
If you’re feeling empty, I know that feeling all too well. I know it can be a very tough place to be and it isn’t easy to get through. Though, it isn’t particularly hard either. At least, in my experience.
I’ll share with you some of the ways that I’ve felt myself feeling empty and how I resolved those issues. Hopefully, what I write can provide you with a bit of guidance in understanding whatever it is that you’re going through.
These reasons for feeling emptiness are all things I’ve experienced. If you have too, let me know in the comments below and share what you’re going through. I’d love to hear from you.
Why do I feel empty?
1. You have no realistic goals
Right off the bat, this is the number 1 struggle I had to deal with on the subject of feeling empty. For the majority of my life, I was just going along with the flow without actually taking the time to thing things through for myself.
When I finally did learn to make some goals, in the beginning, every single one of them was just silly.
Early variations of my dreams ranged from having everyone look at me as the centre of all their attention to being the most popular person in the entire world. I wanted to be the “it” guy, the one that everyone was talking about and would never allow to miss having at a party. For better or for worse, those were my goals around the age of roughly 14-15.
You may be thinking “Well, those are goals and desires, there’s nothing really wrong with them at all.”. If you are, then yes, you’re right in a way.
Inherently, popularity isn’t anything negative on its own. It gives people many opportunities to be successful and is one of the driving factors of practically every market on earth. If I’d actually been working to make myself a brand so I could capitalize on it at the time, there would have been nothing wrong with those goals I had.
But, that 14 year old me had one huge flaw in his goals. Even though I wanted to be popular, I wanted it to happen by practically nothing short of pure magic.
I kept on dreaming about just posting a single photo online and having that photo instantly go viral and then everyone would know about me and appreciate me in all my new found glamour. I wanted it to happen without me doing a single bit of hard work at all. 1 click, *poof* and I was famous. That was it. Silly, right?
At the time, another goal of mine was to win 5 straight lottery draws in the future. Again, I wanted things to happen magically without me having to lift a single finger so I left everything to God and the universe while thinking I deserved it.
During that stage of my life, maybe because my goals kept falling face first to the ground and I never achieved a single one of them, I had a constant feeling of emptiness. Now, I know that in part, it was because I didn’t have a single goal that was realistically achievable for me.
Set goals for yourself that are actually achievable, not ones based off of your wishful thinking.
Start with short term goals like going to 10 places in the city you’ve never visited or joining a book club. Don’t overwhelm yourself by reaching for the moon too quickly like by setting a goal to sell 900,000 copies of your EP by tomorrow (this was another one of my goals during that time).
2. You’re pretentious
If in 30 years, time travel becomes a readily available method of transportation and entertainment, I would travel into the past and knock the 16 year old me straight in the face because of how annoying and cocky he was.
Like many teenagers, I used to think I knew it all and that I was always right.
I also used to make a bunch of stuff up when my friends were talking about stuff I had absolutely no clue about just so I could be part of their conversations.
I would say anything just to sound like I knew everything. Most of the time, the stuff I said was completely wrong so my friends would always notice all the crap I was saying.
With that came many heated arguments because of me never wanting to own up to the fact that I was wrong about something. If there was a discussion and I said something wrong, I’d always try to play it off and say something like “I didn’t say that, maybe you heard me wrong.” or my personal favourite at the time “That’s not what I meant to say.”.
When ego and pride cloud our vision, we can easily fall into a self-deprecating rut where we hate ourselves for being so full of lies.
It took me many years before I even started to get a handle on my pretentious and self righteous facades. One reason was because I didn’t even notice them and, when I did find out, it made me feel ashamed to start changing.
I thought “Well, since I’m like this now, this might just be who I really am inside. What if people notice the change in my behaviour? They’ll know I’m a selfish prick”. Funny thing is, everyone already knew I was a self-centred prick well before I did. That’s how it often is I guess.
The way I resolved this issue was by reading a lot of books and just imaging different scenarios in my head. In a way, it was like I was shadow boxing and imagining all the different possible combinations my enemy could come up with and how I can best react to them.
3. You don’t have any priorities
I didn’t notice the importance of having any real priorities until just around 3 years ago when I was 19. Before then, I hadn’t really understood the importance of having them.
I thought priorities really only mattered for people with children and who were over the age of 40. Boy was I wrong.
Having priorities can be seen as having many large similarities with things like our goals but are a usually little more specific.
While goals are generally based out of our desires and imagination, priorities are more closely tied together with reality and facts. While goals are easy to push back in the event that we fail to meet them, priorities aren’t so easy to set aside.
Having priorities like having kids to feed or having bills to pay sets your ass on fire and places a drive to work inside of you that your goals usually won’t. By having priorities, you’re forced to get out of your comfort zone and do whatever you can to make sure you take care of whatever you have to.
I found that I was mostly falling into my “Why do I hate myself?” mindset when I was either bored, lazy, or afraid. By setting some priorities for myself, I pushed myself to get work done. By that point, I didn’t really have too much time to think about why I hated myself because I was almost always busy with something.
Now, please understand that I don’t mean for you to go out there and have kids as quickly as you can so that you finally have mouths to feed before feeling the pressure. Priorities can be set by yourself, for yourself, too.
The main priority I set for myself when I noticed my lacking motivation was moving to another country by the age of 22. I made it a priority to move countries and I set a deadline. Additionally, I booked a ticket well in advance so that I had no other choice but to work hard
I had to work my butt off to make sure I had enough money for the move and for any other factors I hadn’t thought of like emergencies.
I started my plan to move countries at the age of 19, bought the one way ticket at the age of 20, and finally got it done at the age of 21.
I want to clarify that you don’t have to set drastic priorities like me, but you definitely need some.
Whether that’s going to school every single day without any absent days or starting a business by a certain date, anything goes as long as you really believe it aligns with your main values.
4. You spend too much time on the internet
The internet makes it so hard to spend time on ourselves without any distractions. With the world at our fingertips, we have so much information that we’re constantly overwhelmed by every form of media imaginable.
I won’t elaborate too much on this subject because I’m sure you already know about all the time wasted looking at memes.
Try to get away from the internet by grabbing a useful book that applies to something in your life that you want to improve. Or, if you like the beach, go to the beach and just relax on a nice clean towel and get that tan you’ve always wanted that makes you so dark you end up looking like a piece of dark chocolate.
5. You’re afraid of failure
At some point in their lives, I’m sure everyone’s been afraid to fail. And, with so many things to potentially fail at, it’s easy to see why.
Because we’re afraid, we end up not taking action and feel like we’re letting ourselves down big time. Eventually, that fear develops into another branching thought that makes us feel empty.
Your fear of failure can ultimately lead you to miss out on many opportunities in life. Don’t let it control you. Instead, try to focus on how you can overcome your fear of failure and really push to be better.
For example, if you’re afraid of talking to people, push yourself to talk to even just 1 person you normally wouldn’t talk to. Just do something you’re afraid of and you’ll find yourself becoming more able to manage your fear.
In the past, my fear of failure was the driving force behind me sitting on my butt all day long. I’d sit around watching TV and look at all the awesome things people did and be completely envious of them.
Having learned to manage my fears, I now do things that I find awesome. So far, it’s proven to be a hundred times better than just watching TV all day long.
6. You have no hobbies
I think everyone needs an actual hobby that they really love and feel passionate about. Hobbies take us away from our day to day routines and just be ourselves to the full extent of whatever that means.
I am a voracious reader so I spend tons of time reading novels, articles, studies, and even magazines. Especially whenever I feel empty.
Hobbies can generally be split into 3 main categories: physical, mental, and social. Which one you think is the best fit for your needs is something you’ll have to figure out yourself. The best part is that there’s nothing stopping you from having many different hobbies.
Physical hobbies, as the name suggests, are hobbies that are are more focused towards physical activities.
Mental hobbies, obviously, are those that deal more with our state of mind. Examples include reading books and learning memorization skills, and learning about financial markets and investing in them.
Social hobbies are hobbies that generally have a larger focus on spending time with other people who have the same interests as us. For example, going bar hopping with friends, joining a book club, or going to that new cat cafe that every city now seems to have.
Hobbies are a great way to disconnect from work and break away from the monotony of daily schedules. Also, even though it may seem daunting to add ONE MORE THING to your to-do list, having a hobby has been shown to be a stress reliever.Why Hobbies Are Important? – King University Online
7. Your work doesn’t suit you
While there is no perfect line of work, there definitely are ones that are better suited towards us as individuals. Finding the right line of work is just as important as finding the right people to have in your life. Missing out on either one could make you end up feeling empty.
We all have our own strengths and weaknesses. One of strengths is in dealing with people face to face. A weakness of mine would be my total lack of knowledge in the world of film and entertainment.
Some could say that my “weakness” isn’t really a weakness because it’s so specific to one field but, really, it is. It’s a weakness because, if I were to pick up a job in the film industry right now, I would probably get fired before I even got the chance to learn everyone’s names.
If you’ve ever worked a job you hated, or maybe you do right now, I want to push you to really consider finding a different job. Now, I know some of you have bills to pay and think that’s a frightening and generally stupid move to make but hear me out.
If the job you currently have isn’t a right fit for you, you’re just wasting your time and the company you work for’s resources. Having to work while doing things you couldn’t possibly care less about is a sure fire way to leave yourself feeling empty and unfulfilled.
You don’t have to quit immediately but you do have to consider it. While you consider whether you’re really a good fit for your current job or not, look for another job or do something else like starting a business in a field you’re experienced in.
We each only have so much time and none of us knows when ours is up. Every second you waste at a job you hate is a second you’re allowing yourself to feel empty. Eventually, those seconds add up.
8. You need more exercise
This also fits into finding a hobby that’s physical but I think it deserves to be a stand alone topic in this discussion.
When we exercise, our brains experience a heightened level of mental activity. As well, physical exercise is a great outlet for stress and other self-limiting factors. So, if you aren’t currently getting enough exercise, you really should consider it.
Don’t wait until you end up having a heart attack and hear your doctor tell you that you need to exercise. Start immediately.
Exercise helps memory and thinking through both direct and indirect means. The benefits of exercise come directly from its ability to reduce insulin resistance, reduce inflammation, and stimulate the release of growth factors—chemicals in the brain that affect the health of brain cells, the growth of new blood vessels in the brain, and even the abundance and survival of new brain cells.Regular exercise changes the brain to improve memory, thinking skills – Heidi Godman | Harvard Health Publishing
9. You need to eat healthier food
It’s been often said that living a healthier more balanced life is 80% diet and 20% exercise. While I wouldn’t really go as far as believing that in its entirety, it certainly does hold its merits.
A healthy diet is often overlooked as times of quick and easy fried foods have become the norm. Many of us forget to take the food that we eat seriously, only to make it a priority to eat healthy when it turns into a medical necessity for survival.
In my experience, an unbalanced diet leads straight towards an unbalanced life. I’m sure you’ve had your run-ins with those fitness posters and just think to yourself that you aren’t doing what you need to in order to be healthy. You’re not alone, I’ve done that several times too.
Once you’ve got those thoughts in your head you’ve really only got two options. Either you act on it and start eating healthier or, you forget about it and move on.
I’ve been on both sides of the stick and I’m sure you have too. But, if you’re at the point where you feel empty in your day to day life, you should really be eating healthier food.
Your food choices each day affect your health — how you feel today, tomorrow, and in the future.
Importance of Good Nutrition – PCSFN
Good nutrition is an important part of leading a healthy lifestyle. Combined with physical activity, your diet can help you to reach and maintain a healthy weight, reduce your risk of chronic diseases (like heart disease and cancer), and promote your overall health.
If you don’t know where to start, don’t worry, there are tons of healthy eating websites and Facebook groups out there with heaps of useful information. Just do a simple Google search for “Healthy eating” and make sure things apply to your dietary needs.
After browsing through many websites, you should have more of an understanding on the role diet plays and the immense benefits you can obtain if you have a good one.
But, if you still haven’t figured it out, that’s no problem too. Some people have stricter dietary needs and I know it can be very confusing, that’s where a good nutritionist comes in.
A good nutritionist will help you understand more about your body specifically and guide you through your specific needs. They’ll be able to work with you step by step in making sure that you’ve got all your bases covered in terms of diet.
10.You lack creativity
While we usually think of creativity more when it comes to the arts, its reach is actually much vaster than that. In reality, creativity is something that lets us turn our thoughts into reality.
This can be through the invention of a new product or even by coming up with a way to more practically handle our selves.
Creativity is the act of turning new and imaginative ideas into reality. Creativity is characterised by the ability to perceive the world in new ways, to find hidden patterns, to make connections between seemingly unrelated phenomena, and to generate solutions. Creativity involves two processes: thinking, then producing.What is Creativity? (And why is it a crucial factor for business success?) – Creativity at Work
The lack of creativity is basically the lack of finding different ways to address an issue. If you’re feeling empty right now, the methods you’ve used in trying to handle yourself may not have been suitable for you.
With creativity, you’ll be able to figure out a solution that works for you.
Creativity is a combinatorial force: it’s our ability to tap into our ‘inner’ pool of resources – knowledge, insight, information, inspiration and all the fragments populating our minds – that we’ve accumulated over the years just by being present and alive and awake to the world and to combine them in extraordinary new ways.Brainpickings – Maria Popova
Everyone has creativity, it’s just a matter of figuring out how to successfully channel it and use it to our benefit.
When I was feeling empty, I never had any creative moments of thinking through things with my own lenses. I used to look for advice online and follow the steps word for word without any results.
Advice is just that, advice from someone else. It’s what another person thinks works based on either their experience or the information they have. In my case, one of my main issues had always been patience. I was always quick to blow a fuse and all the advice I read about was from people seemed like they had all the patience in the world.
Without accounting for the fact that I would lose interest if things didn’t improve quickly, I kept trying to follow instructions that other people had. Instead, I should have first worked on learning to be patient before even attempting to fix my underlying feeling of emptiness.
I’ll go over learning to be patient more in reason #12.
11. You don’t know how to manage your emotions
Managing emotion is one of many useful life skills that most of us never learn about. It’s so often overlooked that most of us feel overwhelmed by our emotions because of our lack of understanding which is why questions like “Why do I feel empty?” are so common.
Here at Anger Be Gone, helping to manage your emotions is the goal. From anger to insecurities, hopefully you’ll find something here that’s useful for you.
I used to be a very angry kid who never knew how to properly manage his emotions. With that ignorance lead to me pushing everything from my insecurities to my uncertainties onto myself. As you could imagine, this lead me down a disastrous road of confusion and several suicide attempts.
Maybe you’re in the same boat as I used to be. Maybe you’re in it right now. Regardless of whether you are or not, you should know that managing your emotions is a skill that will be beneficial to you in every single aspect of your life. So, you shouldn’t overlook it any more.
If you don’t yet know how to effectively control your emotions but like to learn, I suggest you browse through my other articles here to get started.
Another option apart from online resources like what’s on this site is by getting professional guidance. Don’t feel ashamed of going to look for a professional’s help, I think it’s something that everyone should consider.
12. You have no patience
In my entire life, I think I’ve only met a handful of individuals with less patience than I did before I started learning to manage my emotions. Yes, I was really that bad.
If we said a newborn baby has a patience value of 10/100, back then, I had -10/100
I used to always act up and make things into bigger issues than they really were. I was essentially driving myself and those around me insane.
When I had no patience, I wanted everything done as soon as I thought about it. I thought that if something wasn’t working the moment I thought about it, then, it’s probably not worth my time.
This behaviour was what kept bringing me back to my feelings of emptiness and confusion. Most likely, it’s something you’re going through too.
My advice on learning how to be more patient is thinking about your future and the people you care about. Every time you feel your patience going away, remind yourself about needing more patience and how it affects the people you care about.
Eventually, it turns into a habit and you won’t even have to remind yourself anymore. You’re just in a constant state of being more patient. At least, that’s how it’s worked out for me so far.
Your lack of patience is the quickest and easiest way for you to push people (and opportunities) out of your life.
Unless you want to seriously be alone for the rest of your life, learning to be more patient will only provide you with benefits.
13. You have too many “versions” of yourself
Having too many versions of yourself means that we’re basically in a state of prolonged confusion and anxiety. Essentially, we try to do too many things while wearing too many hats all at the same time. As you might already expect, this ends up making us feel empty.
This behaviour can stem from the lack of patience outlined in reason #12 but I think that it’s more as a result of us wanting to “one up” those we view as our competition.
In my case, I thought that by doing many things all at once, I would be getting to where I wanted to be much quicker. In contrast, it’s more common that the opposite is the actual truth.
When we try to multi-task, we divert our attention onto different topics which usually just end up wasting more of our time and mental resources.
Think of it like you’re trying to fill up two water bottles under the same running faucet at the same time. It might look smarter but in actuality, all you’re doing is splitting the water each bottle gets in half which will just result in you having to wait even longer.
Instead of trying to do many things at once, try doing one thing at a time. It might be daunting at first and may make you feel like you’re doing things too slowly but, believe me, you’ll find it to be a better way of managing your tasks.
Let me know what you think about this article in the comments below and don’t forget to share it with anyone you think could benefit from it.
- You have no realistic goals
- You’re pretentious
- You don’t have any priorities
- You spend too much time on the internet
- You’re afraid of failure
- You have no hobbies
- Your work doesn’t suit you
- You need more exercise
- You need to eat healthier food
- You lack creativity
- You don’t know how to manage your emotions
- You have no patience
- You have too many “versions” of yourself