The feeling of empty is difficult to explain, but once it appears, you can come to feel that it clings to your soul very strongly. No matter what you have, this feeling makes you feel that nothing you do has any purpose, one way to describe it is like a hole inside you that no matter what you do, nothing and no one can fill. So feeling empty makes us think that our existence has no meaning, even though our surroundings show the opposite.
A void is an emotion that can affect your emotional architecture and cause wounds that, if not healed in time, can become complicated in the short, medium, and long term. Trying to fill that void with love, food, alcohol, and even loading your social schedule will not be enough. That sensation of the void will stay with you regularly, and prolonging it without working on healing it at the root will only extend the damage it can cause.
Feeling empty can be unbearable precisely because it is an incomprehensible feeling, at least from the outside. But it doesn’t have to become a permanent feeling, and if you can identify it within yourself, you can begin to work on healing and moving forward. Here are seven ways to heal the void you feel.
7 Ways to Heal an Empty Feeling
1. Recognize feeling empty
The first step to overcoming any difficulty is acceptance, and the first step to leaving behind that feeling of the inner void is acknowledging it. You mustn’t seek refuge in behaviors that may threaten your integrity or overload your schedule with activities so as not to give you time to experience the feeling. Don’t outright reject or try to hide that feeling when it arises. The best thing to do is to face it and admit that you feel empty.
You should not feel ashamed or angry with yourself. Sometimes, accepting that not all things can be under our control is the first part of our growth. Identifying that feeling of emptiness just means that you will need to figure out a new meaning for it, and from there, you can work on it directly.
It may not be very easy to detect at times, but you can study your behavior patterns and evaluate if you are experiencing symptoms that you did not experience before.
Since this feeling of emptiness has its origin in the neglect and invalidation of feelings, it will be necessary at first to begin to explore one’s feelings. For example, you can start by stopping at a given moment and asking yourself, “what am I feeling now?” thus, putting a verbal, emotional label on what we feel. If this is complicated, it can be done simply with some part of the body, asking ourselves what we feel in it, temperature, movement, tension. Doing this with some regularity can help us increase the time and depth of this exploration of ourselves.
What are the symptoms of an existential or emotional void?
The symptoms of existential emptiness manifest themselves on three levels: physiological, behavioral, and cognitive:
- On the physiological level, you may experience a feeling of intense pressure in your chest.
- On the behavioral level, you may have begun to engage in self-destructive and aggressive behaviors against yourself, such as binge eating or alcohol and drug use.
- On the cognitive front, be alert, especially if you have been experiencing anxiety, sadness, insecurity, inability to feel pleasure, boredom, listlessness, and apathy.
You may have one symptom or all at once, and the important thing is that you recognize it, and from there, you can begin to work on it.
2. Assume the void as an opportunity
A study conducted by Canadian and Croatian researchers showed that feeling empty and lonely is experienced differently depending on the culture and country where the person who suffers from it is located. In fact, in Taoist and Buddhist philosophy, the void is considered something positive as it implies that we are not clinging to anything.
Therefore, although a negative halo surrounds an existential void in Western culture, you can change the perspective and assume it as another stage in your life, which allows you to change, exit that comfort zone,, and explore new horizons. Although feeling that emptiness may not be very pleasant, it is a sign that you need to change and go beyond, so it is not necessarily something negative.
3. Strengthen self-esteem
Strengthening self-esteem is essential to forgiving yourself, and this is a necessary step to listening to your desires, concerns, and needs. When you manage to do all this, you get the necessary tools to redirect the course of your life.
A void cannot be filled with anything literal. It cannot be filled with things, and it can only be filled with symbols that have a special meaning for you. That means that what fills a person and gives meaning to their life may not work for you. Strengthening your self-esteem does not come from outside but from within you. It is a personal journey, so it is essential to look inside yourself and find your meanings, what makes you vibrate, motivates, and excites you.
In most cases, that feeling of empty will come accompanied by long periods of dissociation since the “self” becomes a burden. Therefore, it will be essential to work on your self-concept, and the strengthening of your self-esteem will be essential for your growth and leave behind the void you feel.
4. Facing fear
When a person tries to leave behind the emotional void, he/she will have to face multiple fears and anxieties that can make it difficult to live a full life. However, after facing them and starting to live to overcome the fear, the anguish and fear lose their meaning, eventually disappearing.
Facing fear is closely linked to the previous point because if you do not strengthen your self-esteem, facing your fears will become an uphill task. Still, if you work on your self-concept and the way you see yourself, you will be able to gather the necessary strength to face your fears and insecurities. Everything that makes you believe that you cannot overcome them.
5. Spend time with yourself
Remember that existential void is, in a way, a disconnection from yourself. You have likely neglected yourself for a long time, so you must begin to explore your desires, fears, hopes, and dreams, which will help you create new meanings in your life. You may feel uncomfortable at first, but as you take more care of yourself and learn to know yourself better, the emotional void will disappear.
Keeping a regular meditation practice is a great way to spend time with yourself and explore these feelings of emptiness. Declutter The Mind is a free guided meditation app with plenty of practices to help you manage these feelings you’re experiencing.
6. Reconfigure yourself
If you have spent a lot of time putting the needs of others before your own, your “I” has likely been weakened. To remedy this, you must begin to pamper and comfort the “inner child” in you, pat it on the shoulder every time it does something well.
This new way of relating to yourself will help you strengthen your self-esteem and increase your self-confidence, making you aware of the good things you do, no matter how small they may seem, so that feeling empty will soon fade away.
7. Seek help
Finally, it is worth noting that specialized therapy with a professional is the most effective method to solve any emotional discomfort. A qualified psychologist can guide you to the most appropriate therapy to deal with your feeling of void and sadness.
You can’t always cope with everything, and that’s okay. Seeking help or finding a therapist does not invalidate your efforts. On the contrary, by seeking help, you admit that what is happening is something you can not handle alone. The specialist knows methods and strategies you might not have tried, so overcoming the emptiness will come after working hand in hand.
One day at a time
No matter what could cause you to feel a void, this feeling of the emotional void often turns people into emotionally numb, breathless, lonely and prone to anxiety. A common strategy to deal with this emptiness is keeping ourselves busy. This can be done through several ongoing activities that keep us from overthinking. Other people find solace in binging food or abusing harmful substances, such as drugs. Others seek refuge in compulsive shopping, promiscuity, gambling, etc. However, none of the options stated above are healthy nor final solutions, and they only provide temporary relief that, in the end, only aggravates that void in the heart.
You must focus on thinking positive and believing that you can overcome it, and although it sounds repetitive, live one day at a time. You won’t always feel good, which doesn’t mean that your work or efforts are not valid. Even if there is a bad day, that doesn’t eliminate the good days. Healing your empty feeling is daily work and sometimes slow, but that doesn’t mean it’s not effective.
Work on yourself, seek help and don’t forget how valuable and important you are, believe it and hold on to it.