6 Reasons You’re Stuck in an Emptiness Bubble

And a lot of people struggle with feelings of emptiness, numbness, and isolation that they can’t shake. For some, it’s fleeting. For others, it’s constant.

A lot of people cope by playing the as soon as game.

I’ll feel fulfilled as soon as I have X amount of money, as soon as I lose X amount of weight, as soon as I get my dream job, as soon as I buy a home, as soon as I’m in a relationship, and on and on. We can spend a lifetime chasing the as soon as.

So let’s look at the most common reasons you may feel lonely or empty because you can’t solve a problem unless you know what the problem is.

1. Your life is unbalanced.

Balance is the key to a happy, fulfilled life. That means you make time for different areas that are important to you: time to take care of yourself, time to spend with friends, time to do something meaningful or pursue your passion.

Most people feel empty when their life skews too far in one direction, like when all they do is work and they’re too exhausted to do anything else. Or a stay-at-home mom who is only with her kids and doesn’t have time for friends or even herself. Or someone who abandons all other aspects of their life once they’re in a relationship and focuses solely on that.

There is a lot that needs to get done in a day and there never seems to be enough time so you will have to be clever and creative in your re-arranging but it can be done. If you find you have no time for things that are important to you, then consider letting go of things you do every day that are not important (ex- mindlessly scrolling on social media for hours on end). We make time for what matters. So really look at yourself and your life and determine what your priorities are.

2. You don’t really know who you are.

You can’t really know what fulfills you if you don’t even have a grasp on who you are. And a lot of people have no idea who they truly are. We live in a weird time of social isolation and social media overload and it’s hard to know who we are deep down. And even people who do know who they are can lose touch with themselves from time to time.

Most people keep going going going and don’t pause to think and reflect.

Knowing who you are will anchor you in life. When you don’t know who you are, you might feel aimless or like you’re running on autopilot.

Or maybe you get into the toxic habit of defining yourself according to your job, your status, or your relationship. Maybe you lose yourself completely in relationships and just mold yourself into what you think the other person wants.

I see this happen a lot and it’s devastating when these relationships fall apart because you don’t have a true self to fall back on.

One great way to discover yourself is to journal. Look at the things that happen in your life and write out how you feel. It doesn’t have to be beautiful prose, you’re not trying to be published. Just let it rip and see what comes out. And check in with yourself. Ask yourself: how did that experience make me feel? Would I want to do that again? Look at what makes you excited, what makes you feel alive and connected… and do more of those things!

3. You have unresolved trauma.

This can be a traumatic childhood or a traumatic breakup and anything in between. It’s way easier to run from the pain or numb the pain than it is to face it and deal with it.

But pain doesn’t go away just because it goes unacknowledged. You can ignore those feelings as long as you’d like, but they will still be in there, and they will come exploding out seemingly out of nowhere. Maybe someone says something innocent and you feel irrationally angry. You’re not angry at the person, these feelings come up because that person pressed on an unhealed wound.

We’ve all had that experience of becoming irrationally angry over something small. We know the emotion is real, we feel it, but we’re not sure why it came forth with such roaring intensity. Well, that’s usually your trauma talking. When this happens, you are experiencing the past in the present. And it can be hard to differentiate the two.

And those feelings are going to stay buried within you and will cause this gnawing empty feeling until you face them.

4. You don’t pursue your passions.

You may not even know what your passions are, this ties into not knowing who you are.

It’s essential to have meaningful goals and passions, and we all have them.

I remember finding mine. It was when I wrote my first book. I never felt more connected or more alive. I was barely sleeping because all I wanted to do was work and write. I felt like I transcended the human experience, I didn’t need food (I did still force myself to eat, though!) I didn’t need sleep, I didn’t need people. I just needed to write.

Granted, this caused problems when the book was complete because my life was unbalanced and then I felt empty again and had to go back into a mode of creating a balanced life that involved more than just typing away, but I did discover that wow, I really, really enjoy writing!

So find your thing. Maybe your career is also your passion, or maybe you don’t love your job and your passion is something else.

It could be cooking or painting or volunteering or learning an instrument or learning a new language or getting involved with a meaningful cause- find that thing that gives you a feeling of worth and passion.

5. You don’t have meaningful relationships.

When it comes to relationships, quality is so much more important than quantity. It is crucial to surround yourself with quality people who see you and love you for who you are.

And you have to nurture those relationships. It’s so easy to get caught up in the grind of daily life, relationships take effort.

If all you have are superficial relationships, you will feel an emptiness because we are naturally social creatures, we’re pack animals, and we need our social tank to be full.

You may also desperately seek a romantic relationship to plug up this hole and then rely too much on your relationship to fill your social needs.  This is a major mistake a lot of people make. It’s because it’s easy to just get lost in the rush and excitement of a new relationship but one person cannot fulfill all your social and emotional needs.

6. Too much time on social media.

Social media can sometimes (ok, maybe often) be absolute poison for our mental health. On the one hand, we know it’s not real. On the other, it’s hard not to look at these other people with their seemingly perfect lives and not feel like we’re missing out or we’re doing something wrong or we’re not enough.

This is why I personally don’t like following any perfectly curated accounts- yes, I like to follow people who inspire me, but also ones that are real, not always presenting the perfect facade.

Try to only follow accounts that make you feel inspired, not depressed or jealous and envious and angry.

And try to limit your time on social if possible and do other things that make you feel good.

I also want to add that feeling empty can also be a symptom of a number of mental health conditions- depression, anxiety, Bipolar disorder, PTSD, or various personality disorders. If you suspect this is the case, then I would highly advise you see a mental health professional to get properly diagnosed so you can learn to manage whatever is going on. As Dr. Phil says, you can’t change what you don’t acknowledge.

Sabrina Bendory is a writer and entrepreneur. She is the author of You’re Overthinking It, a definitive book on dating and self-love.

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