Learning to Respond Effectively to a Sense of Emptiness


It is normal to have a void in our lives which if we can exercise the power of providence, we will like to have filled.

A void can be anything that creates a sense of emptiness, a gap, an unmet expectation, hope delayed, despair, frustration etc.

Sometimes the void is created by own making. Sometimes it is just life happening to us and the ability to fill the void is not in our locus of control.

I will be the first to agree that emptiness hurts.

A lover who promised to always be there decides to walk out on the relationship. Maybe its a case of unrequited love.

An initially promising business venture is experiencing abysmal failure.

Maybe you feel stuck in a career rut and the years have gone by without progress.

Perhaps you have knocked persistently at the door of your dreams without answers, invested significant efforts without results. And it just feels OK to give up now.

Only the heart knows its own sorrow and its own joy. Even though we put up appearances, in our “me” moments, the void hunts. Sometimes, it aches badly and the pain won’t abate.

What can we do in such moments?

Be calm and evaluate

These moments require clear thinking. We need to be free from sentiments, prejudice, bitterness, egoism, fixed or victim mindsets, stinking thinking etc.

We may need to examine the relationship between our frustrations and our expectations. Are they based on our unrealistic views? Are we navigating life with the right maps?

We should also consider if we are expecting an effect but violating the principles required for its manifestation by our thoughts, attitude and actions?

Have we owned our part of the problem or passing the buck to another person or situation? Have we truly done all that we can to remedy the situation? Are we holding on too tightly and need to let go?

Count it all joy

Sometimes, its not all doom and gloom. We have something that is working in our lives.

Maybe you don’t have your ideal job yet but you have a job and a paycheck at the end of the month.

Life is really difficult but your spouse is very supportive and your family is there for you.

You have to look for the thing that are working and exercise gratitude because it could have been worse? We also need to be careful about what we take for granted lest we lose them before we realize their value.

Gratitude may not change the situation automatically but it changes your attitude and then with a winning attitude, you can change the situation.

Invest more in yourself

When we experience seasons of emptiness, the tendency is to think we are unworthy, deserve less or simply not good enough.

Now is the time to stop those thoughts dead in their tracks.

It is wise to never build a case against yourself, even when people’s opinion are reinforcing your self-doubts. Don’t settle for less.

You need to believe in your own value and invest in yourself.

Maintain a sense of your dignity and capability. You are not the rubbish of the earth because of what you are going through.

Martin Luther King said, “You must have a deep belief in your own dignity, in your own worth and your own somebodiness. Don’t allow anybody to make you feel that you are nobody. Always feel that you count. Always feel that you have worth and always feel that your life has ultimate significance.”

No boss, ex, father, mother, media should be allowed to erode your belief in your own dignity without your permission.

Avoid mind numbing activities

It is very easy to succumb to the pull of expediency and numb pain or emptiness with mind altering substances or mindless entertainment.

Emptiness is a chance to reengage with life not avoid its realities. Isolation while valid for a time, when extended only widens the black hole of emptiness.

Heavy use of alcohol, painkillers, excessive partying, mindless TV watching, more sex will only exacerbate the problem.

While treated as form of escapism to provides temporary respite, mind numbing activities  can take on a life of their own, creating further problems. You need a clear head to have a permanent solution.

Instead Be Still

There are certain situations we can’t hurry out of. While we shouldn’t abide in pain longer than we should, somethings just heal or get better with time.

Don’t try to hurry yourself out of the process through a rebound relationship, taking the next expedient offer, or yield to mindnumbing activities

Be careful what you turn to for succour for it can determine how long you remain in life’s wilderness.

Avoid shortcuts if you don’t want to repeat the same fate. Instead let your strength be quietness and confidence in a God that can make all things work for your good.

Allowing God fill the void

God is closest in our pain even when he seems far away and distant. Great saints are aware of the dark moments of the soul when life is bleak and God seems far away.

In those moments, they comforted themselves in the dark with what He had told them in the light.

It can be a struggle to bring God in especially when we think we are capable of figuring everything out or doing bad all by ourselves.

But do we have to wait till our wit’s end before we allow the rock of ages to hide us in his cleft and carry us on his eagle wings? I’m still learning this lesson.

Summon the will to try again

We will experience the temptation to run away from potential rejection, pain or disappointment but the inaction that results breeds fear.

What follows is a life of quiet desperation, of what-ifs, what-could-haves. We wonder what would have happened if we tried again but we are too just too weary to risk it all again.

We must resist the tendency to allow our memory rather than our imagination lead our lives. Not every man or woman is like your ex. The next knock might just be the big break. The next proposal might be the winning one.

Napoleon Hill wrote, “Every adversity, every failure, every heartache carries with it the seed of an equal or greater benefit.”

Renowned preacher T.D Jakes said, “Don’t let your pain cancel your appetite for life.” While you can’t be repeating the same action and expecting different results, doing nothing doesn’t create a vantage position to take advantage of future opportunities or happiness.

Henry Ford wrote, “An absence of fear of the future and of veneration for the past. One who fears the future, who fears failure, limits his activities. Failure is the opportunity to begin again more intelligently. There is no disgrace in honest failure; there is disgrace in fearing to fail. What is past is useful only as it suggests ways and means for progress.”


4 responses to “Learning to Respond Effectively to a Sense of Emptiness

  1. This is a wonderful refresher for me. Especially at this time of the year when I haven’t achieved my first quarter goals. It is nice to read this and realign to my goals instead of beating myself up.

    Thank you for the words of wisdom.

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